Though unemployment levels are high due to the pandemic, cybersecurity is one of the few industries seeing a surge in demand for qualified professionals. Similar to learning , picking up fundamental cybersecurity skills can be valuable in today’s digital society, whether you want to start a new career or better understand how cybersecurity relates to your everyday life.
Before you embark on learning about cybersecurity, it can help narrow your focus if you already know which specific field you’re interested in. Understanding cybersecurity can open career opportunities like forensic computer analyst and IT security engineer.
Here are five online classes that can help you learn about cybersecurity fundamentals. While you may end up needing a college degree or certification to get a job in the field, these courses can help you test the waters and get you started on a new career or learning path.
Skillshare/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET
Web developer and cybersecurity expert Alexander Oni’s beginner cybersecurity course starts from the ground floor with basic terminology and discussion topics. Over 49 lessons, Oni digs into hacking methodology, cybercrime, malware and cyber attacks. He also explains what methods real professionals use to protect systems.
This introductory course is meant to build foundational knowledge for people interested in becoming cybersecurity or information security professionals. Oni also offers two other classes that build on what you’ll learn in this one.
What it costs: Some online classes on Skillshare are free when you create an account, but most require a premium membership, which costs $99 annually or $19 a month. You can sign up for 14 free days of unlimited classes. The premium membership is also ad-free and lets you download classes to your mobile device and watch offline.
Skillshare/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET
Oni also offers a course that’s more focused on finding a career in cybersecurity. He recommends his “Start and Grow Your Career as a Cybersecurity Professional” if you’re preparing to go to college for cybersecurity. The course can also benefit those currently in the cybersecurity field who are looking for a change.
The 28-lesson course breaks down questions about skills, the types of jobs you can apply for and what different certifications mean.
What it costs: Some online classes on Skillshare are free when you create an account, but most require a premium membership, which costs $99 a year or $19 a month. You can sign up for 14 free days of unlimited classes. The premium membership is also ad-free and lets you download classes to your mobile device and watch offline.
Coursera/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET
The Introduction to Cybersecurity specialization is offered by New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering. Though the course is introductory, some familiarity with IT management and concepts could be helpful. You’ll gain skills like cryptography, risk assessment, cyber defense and information security.
The specialization is made up of four courses — Introduction to Cyber Attacks, Cyber Attack Countermeasures, Real-time Cyber Threat Detection and Mitigation, and Enterprise and Infrastructure Security. Coursera estimates it takes about four months to complete the specialization.
What it costs: Coursera operates more like a traditional online college course with enrollment windows. Sometimes the certificates you earn can apply as a credit at an institution, but it has to be stated. When you sign up for Coursera, you get a seven-day free trial, and then it costs $49 a month. You can also choose to audit the class for free, which lets you read and view the course content only.
The Great Courses/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET
This course from Paul Rosenzweig, a professorial lecturer in law at The George Washington University Law School, is meant to help you understand the structure of the internet, the dangers that come with it, and ultimately how to manage and reduce them. Over 18 lectures, Rosenzweig delves into specific cybersecurity topics including vulnerabilities, viruses, big data, the government’s role in cybersecurity, how privacy should or shouldn’t be defined, and the global spread of information.
What it costs: The Great Courses doesn’t have a flat subscription fee like Skillshare. Rosenzweig’s course costs $30 on instant video, $20 or $50 on DVD. At the time of publication, there’s a sale on The Great Courses website.
When you make a Great Courses account, you can stream the course for free with trial with The Great Courses Plus. The content can then be accessed over the iOS or Android app, or on your TV via the Roku app, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV.
Udemy/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET
The Cybersecurity in 90 Minutes course can help out beginners or professionals in the field, according to instructor Mohammad Adly, who has a PhD in computer networks. Adly notes that the course’s goal is to point out security essentials for IT organizations. By the end of the course, you should be able to set up a secure base for your IT environment or be able to thoroughly review any existing ones.
What it costs: Udemy’s course prices are set by the individual instructors from a price tier, unless they choose to offer them for free. This course costs $12. At the time of publication, there’s a sale on Udemy’s website.
To learn more digital skills, check out the free classes you can take through Microsoft and LinkedIn Learning. And for more, check out five Masterclass classes to become a filmmaker, and other online classes to help you learn to play guitar, learn to code and learn to draw.
Read more on TechRepublic: How to become a cybersecurity pro: A cheat sheet