Free entry-level cybersecurity course available to 1 million people

Cybersecurity non-profit (ICS)2 is testing a professional cybersecurity certificate for beginners and is now rolling it out.

(ISC)2, an international non-profit organization for cybersecurity professionals, is expanding its free entry-level cybersecurity professional program to 1 million people.

The organization’s plan is to make the program more widely available worldwide to combat the global skills shortage in the industry. Last year, it estimated that Ireland will need an additional 10,000 cybersecurity workers to close skills gaps.

The (ISC)2 Certified in Cybersecurity program started as a pilot earlier this year.

Speaking at a cyber-personnel and education summit at the White House, Clar Rosso, CEO of (ISC)2, said the program is now rolling out further.

“For more than 30 years, (ISC)2 has been advocating the advancement, expansion and support of cybersecurity personnel. We are proud to announce this initiative along with so many others who share a strong commitment to addressing our cybersecurity workforce,” said Rosso.

Rosso added that the program would act as “a resounding call to action for organizations serious about growing their cybersecurity workforce” and help them “make the necessary investments now to break down barriers and remove obstacles to anyone interested in a cybersecurity career”.

(ISC)2 will work closely with new and existing partner organizations to reach historically underrepresented populations and encourage greater diversity within the cybersecurity community. It has pledged that half of the pledge – 500,000 course registrations and exams – will be spent on students from minorities and underrepresented backgrounds.

Those taking the course will receive free access to both the materials and the exam.

The exam covers five key areas: security principles; business continuity, disaster recovery and incident response concepts; access control concepts; network security; and security operations.

Once students complete the course, they can demonstrate to employers that they have the basic skills needed for an entry-level career in cybersecurity.

The program has been developed with input from infosec experts, including (ISC)2 members. After successful completion of the exam, participants (ISC)2 become members. They have access to the organization’s upskilling resources throughout their careers.


(ISC)2 hopes the extension of the program will build on its efforts in the UK. It launched a similar skills program in May, which aims to train 100,000 people for free and narrow the cybersecurity skills gap. It is particularly aimed at recent graduates, career changers and IT professionals.

More information about the Certified in Cybersecurity course is available on the (ISC)2 website.

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