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8 courses to help you upskill in cybersecurity

11 Apr 2022

We all need to have some level of familiarity with cybersecurity. Doing a course can be a great way to upskill – no matter what level you’re at.

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Cybersecurity is a challenging career path that is constantly evolving as the industry develops and responds to new threats. Unfortunately, there is an ongoing problem with skills shortages in the sector, which can exacerbate the information security crises organisations face when they fall victim to cybercriminals.

Last October, a report by cybersecurity non-profit (ISC)2 estimated a skills shortage of 199,000 professionals across Europe and said that the global cybersecurity workforce needed to grow by at least 65pc to effectively defend organisations against attacks.

At the time of the report, Ireland had an estimated 15,000 professionals working in the industry but needed to up this by 10,000.

Cybersecurity is not just a sector that needs more experts, however. As technology takes up so much space in our lives, it is important that everybody learns even the basics of how to protect themselves online and keep their information safe.

With this in mind, we have rounded up a range of cybersecurity courses. Whether you’re a beginner short on time, or a professional looking to learn some new skills, there’s a course out there for you.

BSc in computer networks and cybersecurity – ATU Sligo

This one might be of interest to anyone in Ireland who wants to do an undergraduate course in a very topical and in-demand area.

IT Sligo, which is now part of Atlantic Technological University (ATU), introduced the course last May shortly after the HSE cyberattack hit.

The BSc in computer networks and cybersecurity is a Level 7 NFQ course offering learners an in-depth understanding of computer network design, as well as an overview of key skills areas such as hardware and software testing, enterprise network design, secure computer resources, digital asset management, server management, voice over IP, database management and development and computer forensics. Students will also be offered a 12-week work placement as part of their degree.

For more information on the three-year course, see ATU Sligo’s website.

Diploma in cybersecurity – IBAT College

Enterprise-focused third-level college IBAT provides two part-time diplomas in cybersecurity, one advanced and one regular.

No previous experience is needed for the regular diploma, which is intended to teach the fundamentals and provide hands-on experience. The advanced diploma is for people looking for their first role in cybersecurity and is delivered by industry experts.

Classes are delivered both online and in-person at the college’s Dublin campus. The regular diploma runs for 11 weeks on one day a week, while the advanced diploma runs for 10 months part-time with two days of classes per week.

The courses start from €875 and you can find out more on the IBAT College website.

Cybersecurity for normal people – Udemy

Udemy has lots of inexpensive, short courses you can complete from the comfort of your own home at a time that suits you.

It’s the perfect platform to dip your toe in if you’re not sure you want to work in cybersecurity full time or if you know you only need to brush up on the basics.

This course, charmingly titled cybersecurity for normal people: protect yourself online, will show you exactly how to do this with no frills attached.

It includes 1.5 hours of on-demand video, which learners will have lifetime access to once they pay the course fee. It shows how to pick a good password, some common security threats to be aware of, how to lock hackers out of your accounts and why security matters.

Implementing the NIST cybersecurity framework – Udemy

This bestseller course is aimed at those who want to protect their business or organisation. It offers an overview of how to use the cybersecurity framework from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology to manage your organisation’s risk posture.

Learners will find out how to do a step-by-step cyber risk mapping of their own organisation. They will also gain an insight into how other businesses manage their risks by looking at real-world case studies.

Certified cyber risk officer course – ICT Skillnet

Irish Government-backed tech training resource ICT Skillnet runs plenty of courses for people at all levels in their careers, from beginner to experienced professional.

The certified cyber risk officer course is one of many, and we have selected it because it begins in just over two months. The self-paced, tutor-led online course runs for eight weeks from 20 June.

Like Udemy’s cybersecurity framework course, it is aimed at business leaders. However, it does not assume that all participants have a technical background. It will focus on the identification of threats, cyber risk quantification and the development of a cyber strategy that protects an organisation’s enterprise risk management programme.

The full course fee is €1,950 but grants are available.

CySA+ cybersecurity certification – CompTIA

The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is a trusted education provider in the ICT sector. It provides several certifications in cybersecurity, including the CompTIA cybersecurity analyst (CySA+) course.

This online course comes with a certification that lasts for three years after completion of the exam. It provides candidates with the knowledge and skills required to analyse and interpret data, identify and address vulnerabilities, suggest preventative measures and respond to and recover from incidents.

CompTIA also offers the CompTIA CASP+ and CompTIA PenTest+ certifications for cybersecurity professionals.

CASP+ is an advanced course aimed at security architects and senior security engineers charged with leading and improving an enterprise’s cybersecurity readiness. PenTest+ is intermediate and aimed at cybersecurity professionals tasked with penetration testing and vulnerability management.

Various courses – Cyber Skills

Cyber Skills is an online resource that was set up last June to address the cybersecurity skills shortage. It is led by Munster Technological University with participation from other academic and industry partners.

If you’re thinking of doing a course, Cyber Skills has longer courses lasting a year and shorter ones lasting 12 weeks. Courses on offer include certificates in secure network operations, secure software development and secure systems architecture.

There are also micro-credential courses of between five and 10 ECTS credits, which are suitable for learners who want to focus on a specific area of cybersecurity. These focus on topics such as security assurance, practical cryptography, log files and event analysis and secure software development.

These are part of the wider MicroCreds programme run by the Irish Universities Association aimed at solving skills gaps in various areas using industry connected short courses.

For more information on the courses on offer, see Cyber Skills’ website.

Python for cybersecurity specialisation – Coursera

Like Udemy, Coursera is another online platform offering short courses for those who are keen on flexible learning.

This cybersecurity course focuses on equipping learners with the basics of using Python for keeping information secure online. It is aimed at those with a few years of experience in cybersecurity who have some experience with Python, one of the world’s most widely used programming languages.

Participants receive a certificate upon completion as well as an overview of how to develop custom scripts with Python to automate cybersecurity tasks.

Updated, 9.25am, 11 April 2022: The previous headline on this article was ‘7 courses to help you upskill in cybersecurity’, but this was amended as the article contains eight courses.

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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