7 Online Beginner Cyber Security Courses (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 17, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Cyber security is a major concern for both businesses and individuals. Cyber security courses can help interested individuals to learn the best protection measures available and how to apply them. Learning about available courses can help you decide on one that aligns with your personal or professional development goals. In this article, we list seven online beginner cyber security courses, provide tips for pursuing a career in cyber security, and specify the personal and workplace skills you may require to succeed.

7 online beginner cyber security courses

Here's a list of seven online beginner cyber security courses you can consider to improve your skills and knowledge:

1. Station X's Cyber Security online courses

Station X offers courses in penetration testing, ethical hacking, networking, digital forensics, and security coding. It may also provide tutoring classes to help individuals pass leading security certification exams. The Station X VIP membership grants you unrestricted access to all courses. You can watch lectures live or save them to your computer or phone to watch at a later date. You can learn at your own pace and may receive a completion certificate for every course.

Experienced security professionals often teach these courses to give you the best possible knowledge. These courses typically receive continuous updates to stay current on the industry's best practices. The classes may offer basic knowledge for individuals hoping to learn about the discipline and in-depth knowledge for practicing professionals.

Related: 18 High-Paying IT Jobs (With Salaries and Responsibilities)

2. Introduction to Cyber Security Specialization

Coursera usually offers many courses under a particular area of expertise or specialization. You can participate in all the courses in a specialization or select your preferred ones. Each specialization typically involves a practise project that you can complete to receive a certificate. The introduction to cyber security course series goes beyond the fundamentals, making it more suitable for managers or individuals who intend to become cyber security experts rather than home users wishing to improve their cyber security skills.

The period suggested is nine hours each week for two months. Many individual Coursera courses are available for free. To receive a certificate, it's usually a requirement to finish a specialization and its associated hands-on project.

3. SANS Institute's Cyber Aces online

The SANS Institute undertakes research and education activities on information security. It offers one free online course for cyber security covering the basics of the field. The course may include the following topics:

  • Operating systems: This session focuses on command line usage and explains principles and commands in Linux and advanced Windows usage.

  • Networking: This section teaches the principles of computer attacks and appropriate network defence. You can learn about the procedures used for each OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) layer, specifically the networking layer.

  • System administration: The final lesson explains administrative operations in common scripting systems.

You may choose to take a course with or without tests. These tests are typically in a multiple-choice format and evaluate how much you know and understand about each module. This course is free and can be helpful for aspiring cyber security professionals and home users.

4. edX's Essentials of Cyber Security

edX can be an excellent place to find university-accredited courses. Several universities have contributed to the creation of these programs, and they often include certificates of completion. The ideal duration for the entire program is two to five hours each week for six months. Courses included are:

  • Introduction to cyber security

  • Finding your cyber security career path

  • Building a cyber security toolkit

5. Heimdal's Cyber Security for Beginners

Heimdal Security is a well-known cybercrime technology and intelligence company. They offer a free cyber security for beginners course for interested individuals. While most of the courses on this list may focus on aspiring cyber security specialists, they designed this one for the average user trying to improve their home cyber security. This course is self-paced, with lessons sent to your mailbox every two days. You can learn the following across 20 lesson sessions:

  • Cyber security fundamentals such as terminology and security system setup

  • Tools and techniques for protecting yourself from malware

  • How to make your system more resistant to cyber threats

  • Methods for keeping your children and other loved ones safe digitally

  • How to use the internet safely

  • How to prevent and respond to cyberattacks

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6. Introduction to IT & Cybersecurity

You can consider this course if you're thinking about a career in cyber security but aren't sure where to apply. It aims to help you choose between the major areas of cyber security by covering four of the basic disciplines in modules that span just over four hours of video. You can take courses in penetration testing and network engineering. If you like this course, Cybrary typically offers other helpful related courses. You can look through their library by course type and complexity level. Tutors deliver courses in video format, making them ideal for visual learners.

7. Cybersecurity: Managing Risk in the Information Age

This Harvard course has eight modules that you can complete over eight weeks. It can take about eight to eleven hours per week. After completing this course, you may be able to create a cyber risk mitigation strategy for a client. You may also understand the legal and compliance procedures associated with cyberattacks. You can learn about the numerous types of cyberattacks that can endanger businesses, which systems are most vulnerable to assault, and the significance of a comprehensive approach to cyber security. After finishing this course, you may get a certificate for Advances in Learning from Harvard.

Tips for starting your career in the cyber security field

Here are some tips to help any beginner start a cyber security profession:

Explore diverse areas of cyber security

There are several career paths in cyber security that you can consider. It's helpful to expand your perspectives and not restrict your options too early. Many cyber security courses can be cheap or free, so you can explore as many as possible.

Related: How to Get Started in a Professional Ethical Hacking Career

Practise as much as you can

To fully train for a cyber security career, ensure you practise your theoretical knowledge. Although many courses may involve practical learning projects, there may be numerous events, competitions, and other programs available to help you improve your talents. Internships can provide ideal opportunities for skill development and can be a good choice where you may not have the experience required to obtain a full-time position.

Join networking organizations and discover a mentor

There are numerous networks and forums for like-minded individuals in the cyber security profession. Participants often share expertise and can assist one another in advancing their professions. Another advantage of networking groups is that you may be able to find a mentor. A mentor can be someone to exchange ideas with and coach you through critical career decisions as you explore the cyber security field.

Examples of cyber security skills

With the introduction of newer and more complex technology, it may be necessary for cyber security experts to constantly learn new skills to stay updated about potential dangers to people and companies. Here are some of these skills:

  • Troubleshooting and logical reasoning: When issues emerge in a company's digital operations, the source of the problem may not always be clear. In such situations, cyber security specialists often require technical expertise and reasoning skills to troubleshoot difficulties.

  • Adaptability: Technology develops at a fast rate, and new types of dangers may emerge regularly. As a result, cyber security experts typically require the ability to quickly understand new technologies, modify processes and systems, and embrace change.

  • Communication skills: Cyber security specialists usually require this set of skills to describe principles and functions while working through difficulties, analyzing risks, or updating systems to those who may not have the same technical vocabulary or expertise.

Related: Top 10 Cyber Security Certifications to Help Your Career

Cyber security skills in the workplace

Demonstrating your abilities in the workplace can be essential for gaining the trust of your colleagues and managers, especially if you work with sensitive and significant company data. Here are some examples of how you can apply your cyber security knowledge at work:

  • Offer recommendations. You can give suggestions for enhancing hardware, software, systems, and security in addition to troubleshooting technical difficulties.

  • Upgrade systems and processes. You can perform regular checks to ensure that all of the company's systems are up to date and working smoothly. You can also notify managers of any changes to processes that may increase efficiency to demonstrate that you can prevent problems rather than simply responding to them.

  • Communicate clearly. Try to use simple language to explain technical concerns so clients can understand them. You can also make helpful presentations to assist colleagues without technical knowledge in understanding difficult topics.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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