A recent study by (ISC)2—the 2020 Cybersecurity Workforce Study—found that the cybersecurity skills gap has shrunk to a shortage of 3.12 million professionals instead of 4.07 million professionals required to close the gap reported in 2019. Although this is great news, the gap remains significant. Data suggests that employment in the field now needs to grow by approximately 41% in the U.S. and 89% worldwide in order to fill the present talent gap.
To meet this continued need, organizations must invest more time nurturing cybersecurity professionals to expand their skillset and continue growing beyond their current roles, as well as prospect non-traditional employees that can make the switch into a career in cybersecurity. Both options require continuous learning and professional growth. To further facilitate the transition into a career in cybersecurity and close the skills gap, Fortinet has created education pathways through Fortinet’s NSE Training Institute, which allows individuals to navigate their educational journey from training to careers and helps organizations upskill employees to meet their changing needs.
Defining Your Pathway: Building Your Career
Whether you are a recent graduate, in mid-career, or looking to move from another profession into IT or cybersecurity, Fortinet has developed tailored pathways that map common starting points and guides individuals toward their end-goal to various work roles in cybersecurity. For example, if you are currently knowledgeable on firewall security but you want to focus on cloud security, it’s useful to know what other skills that may be required for this new position. Likewise, if an organization needs to fill a certain position and wants to upskill one of their employees, it is helpful to know exactly what training is needed to help this employee advance their career.
The Education Pathways help to align Fortinet training and certifications with roles defined in the Cybersecurity Workforce Framework developed by National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), a part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Each pathway outlines how courses can increase experience and seniority in specific work role areas, plan for a career advancement or help make the transition into cybersecurity. Fortinet has defined four pathways for learners that are some of the most critical technology areas in the industry. Each pathway is organized to provide individuals with direction to learn the skills necessary for each area of interest, which include:
Defining a Pathway by Roles not Job Titles
The large global skills gap in cybersecurity cannot be blamed on lack of skill alone. Articulation of the needs in the marketplace is a significant contributor to the problem.
The National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST) publishes the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Cybersecurity Workforce Framework. This Framework attempts to address the issue of articulation of security work by creating a common vernacular. The Framework is a nationally focused resource that establishes a taxonomy and common lexicon to describe cybersecurity work, and workers, regardless of where, or for whom, the work is performed.
Work Roles act as the most detailed groupings of cybersecurity work comprised of specific knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) required to perform tasks. Work Roles are not specific job titles. For example, a work role could be defined as Administration but titles of jobs in that role can be varied and diverse from Network Administrator, to Assistant Administrator, or Database Administrator or Chief Officer of Administration. All different job titles and multiple functions but the work role is the commonality. Job titles may come and go however, work roles are broader and transition through careers.
Free Training to Support Fortinet Education Pathways
Fortinet opened up all of its self-paced advanced security training courses for free in early 2020 and announced recently that the courses will remain free beyond 2021. Fortinet is committed to developing a diverse cybersecurity workforce by continuing to offer free security training for anyone around the world. Fortinet’s free training initiative provides learners with the following:
- Access to more than 30 free security courses: These courses are on topics ranging from Secure SD-WAN to operational technology (OT) security to cloud security with more courses expected to be added throughout the year. Additionally, pre-recorded lab demos by cybersecurity experts are available for on-demand viewing.
- Preparation for NSE Certification exams: Most of the free courses are official curriculum for the Fortinet NSE Certification Program. Fortinet’s Certification Program is an eight-level program that has issued more than half a million certifications.
- Continuing professional credits: Through a partnership with (ISC)2, individuals can use their free training completion – as well as any NSE training course – to gain Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits for CISSP and other (ISC)2 designations. Learners earn one credit for every hour of NSE Training Institute training they do with Fortinet.
Certifications Play a Pivotal Role
Most cybersecurity professionals (63% worldwide) are currently pursuing or planning to pursue some sort of security-related certification within the next year. Certificates are seen as critical to professional and career growth. This is one reason why many cybersecurity professionals earn multiple certifications throughout their careers. Certifications are valuable to professionals as they validate that individuals have the skills and knowledge defined in the pathways and required by many employers. As a result, certifications benefits both the individual who can validate themselves and to employers who get assurance from individuals who are certified.
Although 78% of global cybersecurity professionals say they are required to have some kind of certification, the types of education and certifications available to professionals are as broad as the various routes people have taken to arrive at their current employment. According to (ISC)2’s 2020 study, 79% of cybersecurity professionals hold at least a bachelor’s degree, however they are quick to point out that 8% or respondents hold a high school diploma only.
Closing the Skills Gap through the NSE Training Institute
The NSE Training Institute addresses the industry’s skills gap by developing career pathways for security professionals, students, veterans and more through its Security Academy Program, Certification Program and Veterans Program.
The Security Academy Program supports more than 300 academic institutions in more than 80 different countries. Through this program, Fortinet gives participants access to Fortinet’s NSE training and Certification Program curriculum to prepare them for a career in cybersecurity. Fortinet’s Veterans Program helps veterans and military families develop skills, reskill, or upskill to enter a career in cybersecurity. With its eight levels of certification, the NSE Certification Program effectively bridges the cybersecurity skills gap, from cybersecurity fundamental education courses (NSE 1-3), technical product training (NSE 4-6), advanced solution-based training (NSE 7) and the cybersecurity expert recognition (NSE 8).
Find out more about Fortinet’s NSE Training Institute programs, including the Certification Program, Security Academy Program and Veterans Program, which provide critical cybersecurity training and education to help solve the cyber skills gap and prepare the cybersecurity workforce of tomorrow.