As with industry certifications in any field, cybersecurity credentials can take a lot of money, time, and effort, the first two of which many people find problematic. However, there are a few certification options that are either free or inexpensive for cybersecurity hopefuls. While they may not hold as much weight as the standard certifications, such as S+ that employers seem to covet, they will still help you build your resume to fill in some critical white space. Even better, you will learn too.
4 Key Affordable Cybersecurity Certification Options
So, if you’re looking for an affordable path into cybersecurity, here are four cheap or free options to try.
1. Google Cybersecurity Certificate
This recent program is ran through Coursera and costs $49.00 per month with a seven day free trial. It usually takes a person six months to complete. While not free, the upfront cost and spread-out payment plan, is attractive to many. However, the real sweet addendum to the above is the opportunities given veterans and military. Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) has a program called Onward to Opportunity (O2O) that provides free professional certificate training and testing fees, which now offers Google Cybersecurity Certificate training.
Along those same lines, O2O offers other multiple industry certification opportunities at no cost to the veteran or their family. It is definitely worth checking out. It is a great way to help my students add worthwhile credentials to their degree and job experience. For a full list of certifications, look here:
3. Federal Virtual Training Environment (FedVTE)
As I have mentioned before, the Federal Virtual Training Environment (FedVTE) has an abundance of online training courses in cybersecurity and IT and recently has made some offerings open to the general public. These online courses are a perfect way for you to test the waters and see if the cybersecurity field is for you. Check them out for more information.
Finally, if you are a beginner in cybersecurity and have not heard of MITRE ATT&CK, you need to become familiar with it. They are a research and policy institute that’s been around for 60+ years focused on our country’s technology landscape and threats. They have several models that are common knowledge in the cybersecurity world, including the ATT&CK framework, the gold standard public repository for cyber threat intelligence. They offer a no cost badge and two certifications built around learning ATT&CK. You must register through Cybrary, but there is no cost to do so.
It’s not always free to get a certification in cybersecurity, but it can still be affordable. Figure out what works for your time and budget, and add the certifications you need to get a cyber job.
Joe Jabara, JD, is the Director, of the Hub, For Cyber Education and Awareness, Wichita State University. He also serves as an adjunct faculty at two other universities teaching Intelligence and Cyber Law. Prior to his current job, he served 30 years in the Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Kansas Air National Guard. His last ten years were spent in command/leadership positions, the bulk of which were at the 184th Intelligence Wing as Vice Commander.