Getting a foothold in the cyber security career could be a daunting task for entry level professionals including graduates or career switchers, as cyber industry now is aligning towards skill-based hiring practices compared to formal education requirements in this space.
According to the 2021 (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study, the global cybersecurity workforce needs to grow 65% to effectively defend organizations’ critical assets and there is still a cybersecurity workforce gap of more than 2.72 million positions.
Albeit, it is a fast-growing industry with significant demand for skilled professionals, research shows that most of the entry level positions in cyber require 2-3 years of relevant experience as many employers aren’t hiring newbies. Though some organizations are running internship or graduate programmes in cyber but there is a huge competition among new entrants to make the cut.
This industry surely recognizes cyber security certifications and there is a race to acquire as many of them to uniquely position the candidature. These credentials or associated training programs range from a hundred to six thousand US dollars. Funding to acquire these certifications could be a matter of choice or affordability especially for the new starters in cyber.
As an alternative to the certificates, credential badges have recently become very popular among cyber professionals to showcase their achievements or acquired skills in a specific domain or platform. Credly, Accredible, Badgr are among those digital credential platforms where employers, universities, training providers and vendors are enabling their learners to articulate their achievements online and in a verifiable format. Employers also seem to be asking candidates during hiring process for the links to check the validity of these credentials over these platforms.
This article is an attempt to share some of the free credential badges in cyber security for the benefit of early career professionals. Those who are looking to spice up their resume to attract recruiter’s attention must have some of these under their belt, especially if they are running on a low budget. And these credentials will also add ammunition to your Linkedin profile in license & certifications section.
Cisco Networking Academy
These two badges offered from Cisco are offered to validate holder’s knowledge on fundamentals of cyber security, evolving threat landscape, network security basics, DevSecOps and Cisco’s approach to cyber defense. The badges can be obtained by signing up on Cisco NetAcad platform, completing the self-paced courses and attaining a passing score in assessment.
The professional badges for jobseekers offered by IBM can be obtained by completing required learning activities on their SkillBuild platform.
The badge holder will demonstrate fundamental knowledge of cyber security, cyber-attacks, threat vectors, vulnerabilities, cryptography, risk management and incident response approach. It also helps learner understand the cyber security job market. The learning course is available in multiple languages and one can obtain this by completing the required learning activities in this course through SkillsBuild platform.
Link to the badge: Cyber Security Fundamentals
RangeForce All-Star Badge
This All-Star Badge is awarded to learners who complete all ten modules within the RangeForce Community Edition platform. The learners demonstrate the cyber security skills by completing hands-on cyber range exercises. The range of exercises involve use of well-known tools such as Nmap, Metasploit, Splunk, Wireshark etc.
Link to the badge: Community Edition All-Star
The AttackIQ platform enabled threat informed defense across organization and improves efficiency and effectiveness. MITRE attack framework is gaining popularity in cyber defense and AttackIQ platform and courses are aligned to it.
AttackIQ offers cyber security education and certifications for cyber security professionals and has vendor neutral approach to threat-informed skills. The AttackIQ solution supports MITRE attack framework and all learning modules or courses offered help learner develop skills related to threat intelligence breach simulation, threat mapping and risk management.
Link to the badges: AttackIQ certifications
Cyborg Security’s Threat hunting workshop
Malware persistence consists of techniques that attackers use to maintain access to compromised systems across reboots. Cyborg security team’s threat hunting workshop is an interactive exercise-based activity to deep dive on malware persistence techniques and how threat hunters can identify and remediate that malware. This is useful for career aspirants who are interested to understand incident response and threat hunting procedure.
Link to the badge: Threat hunting persistence level 1
Cyber Security & Infosec @ Skillstorm
Stormsurge from Skillstorm is offering a micro course to teach foundational concepts of cyber security, attack vectors, exploitation and defense.
This course covers introductory section of CompTIA’s Security + certification. The course helps learners understand basics of threats & vulnerabilities, Cryptography, secure protocols, endpoint protection, password attacks, incident response and governance, risk and compliance.
Link to the badge: Cyber security & Infosec micro-course
ICS Security Foundations
IoT Talent consortium offers a five-module online self-study course. Badge can be acquired by completing all the required modules and passing an online assessment exam.
This course offering helps learners understand overview of Industrial control system environment, relevant threats, protocols, standards, security controls and attacks. The assessment validates understanding of security management principles & exposures, risk management strategies and best security practices in ICS environments.
Link to the badges: ICS Security Foundations
Microsoft Certified – Security, Compliance & Identity Fundamentals
SC-900 is a Microsoft exam offering which covers security, compliance and identity aspects of Azure cloud and other Microsoft services. There are several training options including webinars and preparation courses and associated exam is paid but currently as part of Microsoft’s cyber security workforce development initiatives, it can be grabbed for free through skill challenges and webinar events which offers free exam voucher post completion.
The Security, compliance and Identity fundamentals course covers functional understanding of Azure cloud security, compliance, identity and access management, security governance and threat protection.
Link to the badge: SC-900
These free digital credentials can be merged into one credly account to create a badge portfolio where one can customize the profile URL, make it public and share the link with employers.