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Beginners Guide To Cybersecurity (Free): Courses & Training Programs (2024)

how to get started in cybersecurity

What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is a systematic strategy to safeguard computers, networks, programs, and data from unauthorized access- and from being exploited.

Cybersecurity also provides security practitioners with tools for controlling access to network resources, operating policies and procedures that govern the operation of the information technology (IT) environment, assessment of IT risk, and establishment and maintenance of adequate security controls to protect computer or communications systems.

To put it in simple terms, Cybersecurity systems are information technology security. Businesses and countries are beginning to recognize cybersecurity as a significant challenge due to its complexity and the increasingly distributed cyber attack.

Many companies now include information risk management as part of their daily practice to shield their sensitive internal pieces of information.

Cybersecurity: It’s Worth

Many universities and colleges have developed new graduate degree programs in cybersecurity to increase knowledge and concern about the growing cyber threats that face companies, governments, and individuals alike.

Although several of these projects are still in their early stages, others have been carefully crafted with feedback from field experts, local and national stakeholders, and business thought leaders who intend to equip cybersecurity professionals with lifelong learning skills and overcome their adversaries from both theoretical and tactical perspectives.

Is Cybersecurity for me?

If you arere considering a career in cybersecurity, it can be a best choice both intellectually and financially. Many entry-level and mid-level positions in cybersecurity require at least an undergraduate degree, and earning a cybersecurity degree can lead to a career with a substantial salary.

Cybersecurity professionals are known for their meticulous attention to detail, creative problem-solving skills, and the ability to quickly figure things out. Passion and a willingness to learn are essential traits for success in the field.

The industry offers diverse career paths, and there are various online quizzes and resources available to help individuals determine if a cybersecurity career aligns with their skills and interests.

How To Get Started in Cybersecurity For Beginners?

a beginner's guide to cybersecurity

Cybersecurity has become one of the hottest domains in the IT industry since the Y2K crisis.

From cyber-attacks to security breaches, organizations worldwide have been consistently attacked since the dawn of the millennium.

The demand for trained security experts has increased as private companies and governments tend to improve their cybersecurity posture.

Aspirants have a massive opportunity because there is an enormous gap between qualified professionals and available employment. There aren’t enough people to fill them.

Aspirants in cybersecurity programs should be exposed to various viewpoints and adequately prepared to deal with multiple challenges, such as communicating severe data security breaches to affected stakeholders and leading incident response to cyber-attacks.

As a result, this encompasses a wide variety of subjects, including but not limited to criminology, political science, public relations and marketing, corporate policy, and law, in addition to soft skills.

As a Beginner, How Do I Start Learning Cybersecurity?

The computer and internet industry has jumped over the last two decades, and the field has seen a considerable increase in the number of career opportunities it has.

Cybersecurity is a field of skills that has interesting things to offer to anyone who wants to explore it and has the skills needed to master the area. Let’s find out if it is hard to learn cybersecurity. Let’s find out:

  • Little help from the books: There are several books on cybersecurity, ranging from guides to experts.
  • Reading books helps to gain insights into digital networks and their functionality, communication between network-enabled devices, or understanding the need to secure these devices.
  • This initial step helps you find the answer to the question – is cybersecurity challenging to get into?
  • Internet is the best teacher: There is an abundance of Cybersecurity posts written by leading experts that can be found on the internet. Reading articles like these will help you learn a lot about a topic.
  • It also introduces you to a variety of sources of information and cybersecurity expertise. Is it challenging to learn Cybersecurity, as you say? It will almost certainly be negative.
  • Ethical hacking: Understanding a threat is the best way to improve security against it. Ethical hacking helps you put yourself in the shoes of potential hackers and better understand the dangers you’ll have to work to avoid in the world of cybersecurity.
  • You can learn ethical hacking and advance your career as a Cybersecurity professional by using various organizations and platforms.
  • Specialization courses: There are various undergraduate and postgraduate technical courses in Information Technology and Cybersecurity in the US that provide an excellent foundation for you to get into the sector.
  • It’s never too late to change careers, and there are some specialization courses available to help you transition to Cybersecurity.

Where to Start Learning Cybersecurity?

If you’ve ever been looking for a place to start learning cybersecurity. Learning about cybersecurity can be overwhelming with all of the jargon and frightening statistics out there. There are so many different types of certifications, vendors, and courses available in the market today, it can be hard to know what path is right for you.

This post will discuss how cybersecurity has changed some of the best options for cyber-education today. For many people who wish to pursue a career in cybersecurity; there are a few paths they can take that interested and knowledgeable individuals could use as resources.

The first path that we will discuss is by pursuing a college degree. Here we can understand where to start learning cyber security and get started:

1. Network Security basics:

The first place to start is how a computer network operates and what it’s made of. This will cover the basics, from TCP/IP to different types of firewalls. Getting a firm grasp on the issues that occur on a network and how to handle those issues makes you more aware of threats that may already be in your environment.

Once you have a strong grasp of network security, you should understand how applications work at their core and what they need to operate properly.

2. Network Vulnerabilities:

You can gain this knowledge by learning about insecure coding practices, software vulnerabilities, buffer overflows, malicious code, and other topics related to application security. Understanding how applications interact with the network and where they communicate is also good.

3. Network Penetration:

To take things a step further, you can learn about penetration testing, social engineering, wireless security, hardware hacking, and other areas of interest. These topics focus on individuals trying to attack your network or computer devices to steal information or access the system.

To defend against those threats, you must understand what they want and how they try to accomplish their goals. 

4. Cyber Security Concepts:

Now that you have a firm grasp of your network and the users who access the system, you can apply some basic security steps to ensure everything works properly. Ideally, these are all done regularly by people specializing in this type of work.

However, it’s good to understand what these topics entail and how they’re implemented in your enterprise environment.

The Best Way To Learn Cybersecurity

1. Start With the Basics: Doing it is the best way to learn cyber security. Practice as many times as you can, but also do your research. If you can’t do it, then begin with good, clean code with no bugs or errors. It is important to ensure that common security concerns are addressed and noted before continuing with a project.

2. Take a Course: One of the best ways to learn cybersecurity is to take an online course. Many individuals and organizations will teach you how to protect your systems and prevent cyber attacks that can harm you and your data. These courses also give you a better chance at landing a high-paying job in the industry or helping you with an employer who needs good cyber security personnel.

3. Keep Learning: There are so many ways to learn about cyber security, even after taking a class or two on it. You have to take advantage of all the information from sources to continue improving your skills and expertise in this field.

4. Know the Basics: The basics of cyber security understand what you are dealing with, and it takes a lot of research to understand the issues better out there. Explore different sites and read articles online regarding cyber attacks or data breaches that have happened recently so that you understand the possible dangers that are out there.

5. Build Your Computer: One of the best ways to learn cyber security is to build your computer system. You’ll learn more about what goes behind building an entire system and how you can do it yourself instead of just buying one off the store’s shelf.

Cybersecurity is a growing, broad and complex field with multiple facets and evolving nuances. Cybersecurity skills are valuable to many employers, and the demand for ethical hackers who can find weaknesses in computer systems will continue to grow over the next decade.

The best way to learn cyber security is to do it with the right resources and guidance, you will be well on your way to finding success in this interest.

What basic skills do I need?

1. Problem-Solving Skills:

One of the main skills needed for cyber security is problem-solving. Working in cybersecurity requires time and energy, so having the patience to solve various problems as they arise is an essential attribute for one’s success. Some of these problems may include viruses, malware, or user error.

2. Writing Skills:

Another skill that is vital for cyber security is writing. Cybersecurity positions often require communication and documentation of activities performed on a computer system, so a solid grasp of writing will be useful in the long run. Good writing skills are highly valued in IT and will help you get your point across easily to others.

3. Technical Aptitude:

Being able to master various technologies and computer systems is an important skill for an IT professional in the modern world. It is not uncommon to use various technologies to perform tasks, so a solid grasp of these skills is a must.

It can be helpful or necessary for one’s success in cyber security to gain technical aptitude before starting a career. Some of the skills include networking, database management, and software development.

4. Security Clearance:

One must often obtain certain levels of clearance to perform cyber security jobs. Such positions may include law enforcement officials and government workers.

Some outstanding jobs may require special clearance, such as working with classified files or installing surveillance systems. Obtaining a security clearance is highly dependent on government discretion, so research any cyber security job you plan to apply for.

5. Training:

To perform cyber security, it is not uncommon for applicants to undergo training to be proficient in their specific role. This could include courses such as network monitoring or software development to install the required tools or programs.

This technology and skill set will prove important when working on a computer system that deals with sensitive information.

Cybersecurity Professional Degrees, Courses & Certifications

The first major that someone should become educated in is Computer Science. There are many different sub-specialties within computer science. A good way to start learning about cybersecurity is by taking courses on the internet.

Many US universities have online degrees that can help you learn how to gain a better understanding of what it means to be a cybersecurity professional. In order to understand some of the most popular sub-specialties within cybersecurity, you could also take more courses in computer programming, data structure, and cryptography.

Each of these areas can be pursued on their own or in combination with other topics. There are many different disciplines within cybersecurity, and you need to choose those that interest you the most.

The best place to start learning these areas is online. Many universities have websites with resources on how to get started on your path to becoming a cybersecurity professional.

Top Best Cybersecurity Courses For Beginners

Cybersecurity Certification Courses

In a world of increasing cybercrimes, a rigorous cybersecurity department has become essential to every major organization.

Simultaneously, a profession in cybersecurity is becoming increasingly lucrative, with many students and professionals having a background or degree in computer sciences looking to dip their toes in this vast and growing discipline.

The stepping stone toward a successful career in cybersecurity arguably lies in attaining certification from a recognized institution or platform.

Cybersecurity certification programs are therefore becoming essential for young entry-level job seekers and professionals who wish to broaden their horizons and acquire additional skills that might assist in the advancement of their careers. 

Certification courses for cybersecurity in the US include various programs, each focused on the sharpening of a specific and particular skill related to cybersecurity.

It is of vital importance to mention that there exist dedicated academic organizations that specialize in various certification programs.

These include the (ISC)^2 or the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, CompTIA, GIAC, and ISACA, to name a few.

Following is a deep rundown of some of the most popular and well-received certification programs offered by one or many of these organizations:

Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) – This certification is one of the most popular ones in cybersecurity. It trains the aspirants in the offensive aspect of the cyber world.

They are instilling in them a knowledge and understanding of hacking techniques and technologies, system vulnerabilities, and standards related to worldwide information security. 

Individuals would find themselves capable of ensuring the protection and security of any network system- once they are armed with this training. Then they would be eligible for professions in network security. 

CompTIA Security+ – This certification is essential for beginners contemplating a profession in cybersecurity.

In rigorous coursework that takes about two years to complete, individuals train themselves in cybersecurity basics.

This crash course includes but is not limited to security policies and standards, network threats, disaster recovery, defense techniques, encryption standards, and products. 

Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) – This is a highly specialized certification focusing on information security management.

The course includes training in security risk management, program development and management, and incident management and response.

Certified individuals become skilled in the overall process of managing, designing and overseeing a security program. CISM aspirants, however, are required to possess at least five years of experience in cybersecurity.

CISM certification, therefore, helps boost the career of IT and cybersecurity professionals.

GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC) – An entry-level certification, GSEC is essential for professionals seeking to obtain hands-on experience in various security roles.

Certified individuals are skilled in security management aspects, including prevention and identification of wireless attacks, management of passwords, fundamentals of cryptography, network mapping, and protocols.

However, the GSEC certification is required to be renewed every four years, and a certification management fee is also required. 

Certified Information Security Systems Personnel (CISSP) – CISSP certifications are held in great esteem in cybersecurity.

They are trained in access control, telecommunications, cryptography, and networking; to name a few, CISSP-certified professionals are considered valuable assets by their employers.

It is essential to mention that CISSP certification is accessible primarily to professionals having a minimum of 5 years of paid full-time experience, or four years for aspirants holding a degree.

CISSP certifications are pretty essential for career advancement in the cybersecurity field. 

The above certifications are considered to be the most esteemed and essential ones in the cybersecurity world.

Other necessary professional certifications training amateurs and novices in different aspects of cybersecurity include

  • GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN),
  • Certified in Risk and Information System Controls (CRISC),
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and
  • Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP).

Cybersecurity Career & Development

You will have a wide range of career opportunities as a cybersecurity specialist in a variety of industries (e.g., finance, government, retail, etc.).

IT security, on the other hand, is a crucial subject. It’s unlikely that you’ll begin your career as a penetration tester or a security architect. So, how can you get your foot in the door in the first place? Begin with this guide.

It’s designed to assist someone considering a career change from a non-security sector. We’ve included tips on how to pick your first IT work, how to create your résumé, and how to get hands-on experience.

We’ve also included a list of hard IT skills and non-security certifications that will help you prepare for the future.

When considering applicants, keep in mind that the US government needs a CompTIA Security + Training Course that leads to certification.

It is an excellent cybersecurity foundation course for every student beginning a new career. CompTIA CySA+ Training Course and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Training Course are two other standard certifications.

Previous IT-related work roles will help you secure an entry-level spot. It will be easier to get a job if you have three to five years of IT experience. Having a solid infrastructure and development base will put you on the right side of the application board.

Cybersecurity Career Development

Many cybersecurity professionals begin their careers as specialists, network or security administrators. It definitely helps if you have a degree in information science or cybersecurity. Salary disparities are a result of variations in location and business size.

As previously stated, the government employs a large number of cybersecurity experts. Others work for financial institutions, military contractors, and, of course, IT services firms, especially those that manage data in the cloud for others.

There are also cybersecurity consulting companies and some experts can eventually go solo (as in freelancers) to make more money – and take on more risk.

Most businesses want their cybersecurity experts to be full-time workers, so consulting firms work for companies that are too small to recruit their own specialists. This implies that healthcare and other services will most likely be provided.

Nevertheless, because of the sensitive nature of the jobs, employers tend to retain workers on long-term contracts, which can help with job security and provide opportunities for retention incentives and advancement within the business.

Some businesses can employ in-house entry-level computer security specialists, period!

Cybersecurity Experts: What do they do?

Cybersecurity is an exponentially expanding component of the IT sector. Our lives are becoming increasingly digital-dependent, as are our money and reputations. Securing information as it passes to the cloud is becoming more and more difficult.

Security systems are monitored, tested, and troubleshot by cybersecurity experts. They must be familiar with security devices, as well as how to operate and install them.

They can also formulate security policies and educate employees on proper security techniques and how to protect their data.

Cybersecurity Salary for Beginners/Freshers and Experienced

When it comes to the cybersecurity industry, the rising skills gap gets a lot of attention. The fact that this can lead to tremendous opportunities for professionals is sometimes overlooked.

Not every part of the United States has the same average income, which should be taken into account in your decision.

A cybersecurity professional’s job is just the beginning. You can then carve out your own career path based on your interests and skillsets.

There’s no reason why you shouldn’t command a six-figure salary in the future if you work hard, get computer security training, cooperate well with your team, and demonstrate that you’re an asset to your business.

We break down the multitude of well-paying and rewarding jobs available, as well as salary data for today’s cyber workforce:

  • Bug Bounty Specialist: You may have heard that by defeating cybercriminals at their own game, some freelance specialists will gain up to $500,000 or more.
  • Specialist Hackers can now safely pursue security bugs at companies ranging from Tesla to the Department of Defence thanks to so-called “bug bounty” firms.
  • This does not, however, imply that you should leave your day job to pursue bug bounties, as success in this area necessitates elite-level abilities.
  • Chief Information Security Officer (CISO): This is the executive in charge of an organization’s information and data security; the greater the business, the higher the salary.
  • According to the InfoSec Institute, which lists a median salary of $145,000+, “while a few elite CISOs may earn close to $510,000, many make only a little over $99,000.” According to, the median salary is $158,939, with a range of $130,000 to $309,000.
  • According to, the top end of the CISO salary range in San Francisco is $425,000. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, a cybersecurity executive “working for a mid-sized company is potentially looking at a $150,000 to $210,000 salary.”
  • Software Security Engineer: According to Cybersecurity Enterprises, this is a work for top coders and programmers with leadership abilities, “a special breed,” with wages above $225,000, more than even the CISO in other businesses.
  • Advanced software knowledge combined with executive-level “soft skills” will result in a lucrative senior management position in this situation.
  • Sales Engineer (Cyber Dept.): There is a steady influx of new and creative technology solutions to be offered, and cybersecurity isn’t all about engineering wizards minimizing attack surfaces and fending off hackers.
  • While most coders enjoy their work, higher pay is causing some to turn to sales. According to, top cybersecurity sales engineers earn between $180,000 and $220,000 a year.
  • Cybersecurity Architect: According to the InfoSec Institute, an information technology or cybersecurity architect receives an average of $130,820 a year and does senior-level work designing organization-wide network and data security architecture.
  • “In addition to overseeing infosec awareness projects, creating and managing protocols, responding to and analyzing security incidents, and conducting risk assessments,” says the architect.
  • According to, the average salary for this job is $139,000, with 27.7% of employees requesting a master’s degree.
  • Penetration Tester: “Ethical hackers” are the experts who undertake this crucial task. More and more major companies are recruiting full-time staff or third-party contractors to hack their computer networks in order to find and fix bugs that cybercriminals might exploit.
  • According to, the average salary for penetration and vulnerability testers is $103,000, and 21.8% of those hired want an advanced degree.
  • According to, salaries for assisting in the identification of security flaws in both systems and policies will reach $135,000.
  • Information Security Analyst: U.S. News & World Report ranks this position #4 among Best Technology Jobs and #40 overall, with a median salary of $97,590.
  • Because of their broad range of duties related to preventing, tracking, and reacting to data breaches and cyberattacks, information security analysts are called “the gatekeepers or security guards of information systems.”
  • Owing to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for this position is $98,150, and the job market for this position is rising at a rate of 31.3 percent, which is much quicker than the average for all occupations.

Growth Expectancy

Because of the ever-growing cybercrimes, cyber threats and cyber-attacks- cybersecurity salaries are likely to stay elevated, if not even rise in the future.

The demand for Cybercrime Investigators isn’t going away, as more and more people realize the importance of protecting their data, money, and identities.

In short, even by IT standards, cybersecurity professionals are well compensated, and they work in a growing sector with higher job security than others.

The Blatant Truth: Time to Bust Some Myths

Hacking isn’t the only thing that cybersecurity professionals do. The consistent portrayal of a person who is an ostracized loner who loves to wear a hoodie jacket, types at a rapid speed, and has a face with digitally-rendered 1’s and 0’s. 

The root of this widespread misperception regarding cybersecurity professions being all about hacking is pretty daunting. You will see what I’m talking about if you look at the stock photos used in cybersecurity blogs.

Another common misconception is that you need to have a prior computer science degree to get into cybersecurity.

Truth be told, a bachelor’s degree isn’t the only way to get into the world of cybersecurity. What matters most is that you concentrate and search for a cybersecurity niche that matches your skills and interests.

Things to keep an eye on:

Internet of Things (IoT): Learn how these systems can be manipulated and how to spot loopholes.

The strength of network security is defined by the weakest link, which is often found inside an Internet of Things-connected computer.

Have a basic understanding of how to use this technology. Yes, a bright light bulb will cause a security breach.

The Cloud: Many big organizations including U.S. federal government, are switching to the cloud. Still, they are discovering that cloud-based applications can be manipulated as well.

From data breaches to account takeovers, there’s a lot to worry about it. Cyberattacks on these cloud-based systems could cost businesses millions of dollars.

It has the potential to bring an entire company down, as we have seen with numerous data breaches throughout history.

To gain a competitive advantage in the industry, keep an eye on what’s going on with the innovations in the field of cloud security.

Encryption Technology: To keep their networks hacker-proof, financial firms, credit card companies, government agencies, and private companies of all sizes need cybersecurity experts’ services specifically Cryptanalysts.

It would be best if you recognized how this technology develops to accomplish this.

Machine Learning: These technologies are evolving at a rapid pace. Threats and other potentially malicious behaviors may also be detected using AI.

Cybersecurity firms are using sophisticated algorithms to teach AI systems how to detect viruses and malware. Artificial Intelligence can then perform pattern recognition in application software.

The above-detailed blueprint can turn the tide for your career as a cybersecurity aspirant. Consistency is the key- be focused! We’re not saying that things would be a piece of cake, but it will surely be a little less complicated.

Cybersecurity: The Key Takeaways!

It is the protection of Internet-connected systems like hardware, software, and data from cyber threats. The practice uses individuals and initiatives to protect against unauthorized access to data centers and other computerized systems.

Cybersecurity professionals constantly protect computer systems against a variety of cyber threats.

Cybersecurity protection is applicable in information technology including computers, data networks, and all devices connected to or included in the network.

Networks may be routers and switches, all store technology that provides, manages, and removes data.

All information technology devices and facilities are to safeguard against technology intrusion, unauthorized use, and vandalism. Cybersecurity Certification Courses in the USA: An Overview.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Best Way To Learn Cybersecurity? 

Cybersecurity was a relatively new term and the threat posed by hackers was largely unknown. Nowadays, cybersecurity is one of the biggest topics in tech—and people are freaking out about what could happen to them next.

An interesting take on this topic is to consider what U.S. consumers would consider the ideal way for someone to learn cybersecurity in 2023 according to their needs and wants as they’re discovering it every day across different platforms.

With so many options, you’ll want to ensure the best way to learn cyber security you choose will fit your interests and needs well. 

What Do You Need to Know for Cybersecurity?

These people break into your computers, steal your personal information, and threaten national security. Cyber security is a major concern in America today.
With almost two-thirds of Americans worried about the safety of their online information being compromised by hackers, it’s no wonder that many people are eager to learn more about cyber security as they become more aware.

Cybercrime is an unlawful act that involves a network. Additionally, the network must be damaged or compromised in some way. Cybercrime encompasses several different behaviors such as identity theft, phishing, spamming and denial of service attacks. There are several laws that protect individuals from cybercrimes.

Why is Cybersecurity Important?

Cybersecurity risks are increasing with the passage of time. They are powered by global connectivity and cloud services such as Amazon web services for storing sensitive data and personal information.
The broadly weak configuration of cloud services associated with increasingly sophisticated cybercriminals means that your organization is at increased risk of a successful cyber-attack or data breach.
The truth of this matter is that whether you are an individual or small business or a large multinational, you will always rely on computer systems.
Combine this with the rise of cloud services, weak cloud service security, smartphones, and the Internet of Things (IoT), and the existence of a cybersecurity threat that we didn’t have decades ago.
We need to understand the difference between skill sets and data protection, although skill sets are becoming more consistent.