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### Enhance Your Cybersecurity Skills with These Free Self-Paced Online Courses

The field of cybersecurity is currently witnessing a surge in job opportunities, yet there is a shortage of skilled professionals to meet the demand. The cybersecurity workforce has expanded to an estimated 5.5 million, indicating significant growth. Despite this positive trend, the cybersecurity industry faces a critical challenge highlighted by ISC2’s report—the workforce is insufficient to address the escalating threat landscape. The report underscores the need for an annual workforce growth rate of 12.6% for optimal effectiveness; however, the actual increase was only 8.7%, exacerbating the workforce deficit.

As the gap widens, the demand for cybersecurity expertise is becoming increasingly widespread. Ricardo Villadiego, the CEO and founder of [ppp1], emphasizes the importance of developing a skill set to meet this growing demand, particularly for individuals in high school, college, or those starting from scratch.

The Current Landscape of the Cybersecurity Industry

Cybersecurity focuses on safeguarding computer systems and data from malicious cyberattacks, a field that constantly evolves due to technological advancements and interconnectedness. Factors such as geopolitical tensions, emerging threats, and new technologies shape the cybersecurity landscape, impacting industry remuneration. An entry-level cybersecurity analyst can expect a base salary of approximately $81,000 [ppp2].

Villadiego notes that historically, cybersecurity has required highly skilled professionals for effective management, but the shortage of expertise has left many organizations vulnerable to modern-day attacks. The ISC2 study reflects widespread concerns among respondents regarding the scarcity of cybersecurity personnel, identifying it as a critical risk factor for organizations.

CompTIA’s State of Cybersecurity 2024 report emphasizes the importance of bridging the demand-supply gap by integrating less experienced cybersecurity professionals who can enhance their skills progressively.

According to Tom Kellermann, the Senior Vice President of Cyber Strategy at [ppp3], there is a shortage of cybersecurity professionals with defensive capabilities. Kellermann stresses the significance of a defensive mindset for individuals aspiring to enter the cybersecurity field, likening it to a passion for defense in sports like hockey, basketball, football, or baseball.

If you possess a penchant for defense, a career in cybersecurity may align perfectly with your interests.

Six Free Online Cybersecurity Courses

Embarking on a free online course coupled with certification can equip you with a comprehensive skill set, enhancing your prospects in the cybersecurity domain. Here are six curated free online courses recommended by Fortune to help you specialize in cybersecurity and stand out to potential employers:

1. ISC2 Certified in Cybersecurity Online Self-Paced

  • Duration: 14 hours
  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Instructor: An ISC2 Authorized Instructor
  • Exam Difficulty: Beginner
  • Exam Cost: Free

2. Ethical Hacking Essentials (EHE)

  • Duration: 15 hours
  • Course Difficulty: Beginner
  • Exam Difficulty: Beginner
  • Exam Cost: A voucher costs $950

3. CompTIA Security+ (SYO-601)

  • Duration: 9 hours, 44 minutes
  • Course Difficulty: Beginner
  • Exam Difficulty: Entry level
  • Exam Cost: $392 registration fee

4. Introduction to CyberOps

  • Duration: 4 weeks
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Exam Difficulty: Beginner
  • Exam Cost: \(300–\)450

5. Introduction to CISSP Security Assessment and Testing and Security Operations

  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Exam Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Exam Cost: Free

6. Network And Computer Security

  • Duration: 26 sessions
  • Difficulty: Intermediate

Additional Resources for Fundamental Learning

For those aspiring to secure an entry-level cybersecurity analyst position, Villadiego recommends leveraging resources such as the CISCO website, which offers a network architect program. Basic networking knowledge is essential, given that cybersecurity challenges often occur within interconnected networks.

The [ppp4] provides valuable insights into the cyber threat landscape, types of threats, and defense strategies. Before commencing any coursework, consider scheduling your certification test date and acquiring an exam voucher to streamline your preparation and excel in your exams.

For individuals seeking advanced learning opportunities beyond free courses, Fortune has compiled a list of the [ppp5].