Anyone who starts looking for cybersecurity training can feel overwhelmed with the variety of options out there. An online search will show you everything from the free courses to a master’s degree, on-site classes or online programs, longer or shorter programs. And if you dare ask in online forums, you will find those who are very passionate about being self-taught.
Don’t worry. Before you keep reading about programs, certifications, and degrees, take some time to understand the key elements to look for cybersecurity training. Remember, the program you choose will be the first step to a career facing a growing talent gap, so making your resume stand out from the pack is the key to a gratifying life.
When choosing a cybersecurity program, make sure it goes beyond teaching technical skills. Please don’t misunderstand; those skills are key in your educational background, but a good program will give its students the necessary tools to become a lifelong student.
A good program is also constantly updated to include the latest technologies, threats, and best practices for attacking and defending networks and systems. This is a field that is constantly facing new risks and attacks, and to keep up with the pace of the bad guys, you will be required to update your skills constantly.
2- Hands-On Training
The program you choose should give you more than just theoretical knowledge; it will give you hands-on learning opportunities. It should be designed with experiential learning to give you real examples of how the content discussed is relevant during an attack and how each topic is related to other technologies and circumstances.
A good cybersecurity professional is one that, since day one, is putting his skills and knowledge into practice. Then you will know if you truly understand how to apply every piece of knowledge earned in class.
3- Industry Expert Instructors
When researching cybersecurity programs, make sure to look for the instructor´s resume. If it is not published on their website, ask for it. This will help you understand who will be teaching you, their background, and their area of expertise.
As it would happen in any other field: you want to learn from the best. A skilled instructor has been in the trenches of cybersecurity, that has fought battles against hackers, that knows how to apply the NIST framework: identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover; one that knows how to leverage the lessons learned in the classroom.
4- Regionally Recognized Certifications
Make sure the program you choose grants you industry-recognized certifications; this will help your resume stand out from competitors when applying for a job and will demonstrate your level of commitment to cybersecurity and to updating your skills.
5- Work–Life Balance
The program you choose must fit into your lifestyle. It would help if you considered the class schedule, the additional hours you will need to invest, your work schedule, and your family plans. Also, ask yourself if you would rather take an online or in-person program. Each one has its own benefits. For example, an online program can be a better fit for your work schedule as you don’t have to go from one place to another, and it also helps with social distancing and COVID protection. And an in-person program gives you an easier way to networking.
When searching for cybersecurity training, make sure you take into consideration the above criteria. But don’t just stop there! Feel free to ask any questions you might have; academies and schools are there to help you figure out if the program they offer has what you are looking for.