7 courses to help you upskill in cybersecurityBlathnaid O’Deaon April 11, 2022 at 07:00 Silicon RepublicSilicon Republic


Cybersecurity is a challenging career landscape that is constantly evolving to respond to new threats. Unfortunately, there is an ongoing problem with skills shortages in the sector, which exacerbates information security crises organisations and states face when they fall victim to cyber criminals.

Last October, a report by cybersecurity non-profit (ISC)2 found that there was an estimated skills shortage of 199,000 professionals across Europe. The group estimated 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 and needed to up this by 10,000.

Cybersecurity is not just a sector that needs talent, however. As technology takes up so much space in our lives, it is important that everybody learns how to protect themselves online. Remote workers, business people and ordinary individuals should know some basic things about how to keep their information safe.

With this in mind, we have rounded up some of the cheapest, shortest and best-rated 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 – IT Sligo

This one might be of interest to those looking to continue their education post-secondary school. It’s also a great option for anyone who wants to do an undergraduate course in a very topical and in-demand area.

IT Sligo 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 networks 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 work placement as part of their degree.

For more information on the three-year course, see IT 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 for one day a week, while the advanced diploma runs for 10 months part-time and has 2 days of classes per week.

Intake for both courses has closed for this year, but as they start from €875 you may need a few months to mull it over and possibly do a few shorter courses in the meantime to get yourself up to speed.

Cyber Security For Normal People: Protect Yourself Online – 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, no frills attached.

It includes 1.5 hours of on-demand video, which learners will have lifetime access to once they pay the 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 NIST cybersecurity framework 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 (CCRO) – ICT Skillnet

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

The CCRO 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 June 20.

Like Udemy’s NIST 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 to some learners.

CySA+, CASP+ and PenTest+ cybersecurity certifications – 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.

Jobs that use these skills include compliance analyst, security engineer, security analyst and threat intelligence analyst. It costs €344 and can be renewed after its expiry date. 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. While 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.

Intake for most courses has already passed for this year, having ended in January. If you’re thinking of doing a course next year 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.

MicroCreds is a wider 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 learners who are short on time and 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 an 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.

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