By Rob Rashotte, Vice President, Global Training & Technical Field Enablement, Fortinet
Cybersecurity certifications are seen as critical to professional and career growth. An (ISC)2 2020 study noted that 78 percent of global cybersecurity professionals say they are required to have certifications, and 63 percent of cybersecurity professionals are pursuing or planning to pursue some sort of security-related certification within the next year. Certifications are valuable to professionals as they validate an individual’s knowledge and skills and help employers have some assurance that individuals can perform the tasks that are required.
However, the path to certification may not always be obvious. A student, a mid-career cybersecurity professional, or someone looking to move from another profession into IT or cybersecurity will each have different starting points and end-goals. To aid learners, Fortinet has developed tailored educational pathways, mapped to the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Workforce Framework for Cybersecurity (NICE Framework), that display common starting points and guide individuals toward end goals in various work roles in cybersecurity.
The NICE Framework Guides Fortinet’s Education Pathways
Fortinet’s Education Pathways help to align Fortinet training and certifications with work roles defined in the NICE Framework. Each pathway outlines how courses can increase experience and seniority. The four pathways for learners align with some of the industry’s most critical technology areas. Each is organized to provide individuals with direction to learn the skills necessary for each area of interest, which include:
• Security Operations
• Security-Driven Networking
• Adaptive Cloud Security
• Zero Trust Access
The Education Pathways are based on the NICE Framework due to the intrinsic value of identifying work roles that are defined by specific tasks, knowledge, and skills (TKSs) required to perform cybersecurity work. Learners can advance towards qualifying for defined work roles rather than job titles, which can vary by employer. By applying the Education Roadmap within the Fortinet NSE Certification Program, learners develop a career plan that has a long-term view.
Fortinet has issued more than half a million certifications through the NSE Certification Program. With its eight levels of certification, the program demonstrates a way to bridge the cybersecurity skills gap by offering courses that go from cybersecurity fundamental education courses (NSE 1-3) to technical product training (NSE 4-6), advanced solution-based training (NSE 7), and the cybersecurity expert recognition (NSE 8).
“During meetings with my team, I encourage everyone to pursue continued learning,” said Rony Moussa, a Technical Team Lead of Cybersecurity at Triple C and a Fortinet Certified NSE 8. “In this industry it is critical to keep our skills and knowledge relevant and up to date with the threat landscape. The best combination for a successful cybersecurity professional is training, technology certifications, and hands-on experience.”
Free Training to Support Fortinet Certifications and Education Pathways
In early 2020 and in recognition of the unique market need brought on by the pandemic and the cybersecurity skills gap, all of Fortinet’s self-paced, advanced security training courses were made available to the public for free.
The decision to open up the library of self-paced learning was a continuation of Fortinet’s commitment to making everyone “cyber aware.” The effects of the pandemic only helped crystalize the decision and speed up the trajectory of the offering. Offering free, self-paced online training to help IT professionals expand their cybersecurity knowledge and address these new and constantly evolving risks addresses a critical need in the market, and the decision has been validated by the incredible response. To date, more than 950,000 users have registered for the free online training courses. Due to this remarkable demand, the courses will remain free throughout 2021.
The free training initiative provides learners with the following:
Additional program support addresses the needs of academics, students, non-profits, veterans, military spouses, and more through Fortinet’s Security Academy Program and Veterans Program.
The decision to create a free training initiative has had only positive outcomes for Fortinet. With such a huge number of new learners in the Fortinet community and with availability of free training throughout 2021, we hope many more will participate, increase their NICE-aligned cybersecurity knowledge and skills, and qualify for cybersecurity work roles.