If you pull back the covers on the Fortinet Network Security Expert (NSE) Certification program, you’ll see that it is much more than just training on Fortinet products. The professional content developers who work on these courses, structure them so that they provide foundational and advanced cybersecurity knowledge that can be applied across various vendor solutions. The role-based structure of the courses provides guidance and best practices to individuals on how to set up specific security solutions as well as what the process is to defend against potential cyber-attacks.
The first three levels of Fortinet certification are a great entry point for anyone who wants to learn about cybersecurity fundamentals and the threat landscape. Levels 4–6 dive deeper into technical aspects of cybersecurity covering configuration, monitoring and troubleshooting as well as central management, analytics and products beyond the firewall. These levels are geared towards Network and System Administrators, Cybersecurity Analysts, Technical Support Engineers and System Engineers. NSE 7 covers advanced design, administration and support of specific security solutions that integrate multiple security products. The NSE 8 Fortinet Network Security Expert designation recognizes comprehensive knowledge of network security design, configuration, and troubleshooting for complex networks.
Role-Based Course Design
The process we use to create our courses is role-based and task led. First, we identify the roles in cybersecurity—such as administrator, analyst, architect—then we identify the tasks that people need to master in those roles. The identified job tasks become our training objectives and course content. Therefore, our courses teach real-life skills and tasks that professionals actually need to learn and master in different cybersecurity roles. We always look to identify the audience of our courses first. For example, in the case of NSE 4, the main audience or the role for those courses is firewall administrators. So, the NSE 4 content covers skills and tasks that firewall administrators need to do in their daily job. The content we create for our courses is role-based and led by the industry needs. In other words, we are training the individual to become an expert in their field. In the end, our training is about job performance. You’re learning daily routines and activities that will improve your job performance and that apply to many different vendors.
The best takeaway about our role-based training is that the real-life skills you learn translate across the industry. For example, you learn how to administrate a FortiSIEM in one of our NSE 5 courses, and that translates well to administrating any vendor SIEM. Some elements of the technology might vary between vendors, but most of the concepts remain the same. It’s hands-on learning that you can take with you anywhere. It’s like any other skill. Say you get certified in copyediting, and the material is centered on healthcare. You can take the skills and procedures that you learn and use them in any vertical. It’s really about learning how to do job tasks well. You will walk away with a foundational understanding that’s applicable across the board.
Testing the Content
Before releasing an NSE course, it goes through a long QA process. Each time we create a piece of content, it first goes through a subject matter expert (SME) who reviews the accuracy of the technical concepts. After that, each piece of content goes through copyediting. This team ensures the quality of the content, and that it follows our style guides. They also make sure that the content is easily consumable by our global learners.
As a final test, we do what is called a ‘beta class.’ During that beta class, we deliver and teach the content to an audience simulating a classroom environment. Among the audience we have people who are new to the content as well as additional SMEs who conduct a final review.
Doing Our Part to Close the Cyber Skills Gap
Fortinet’s commitment to training and certification goes well beyond a focus on our products. As a company, we are dedicated to closing the cybersecurity workforce gap. This measurement, which sits at 2.72 million professionals according to the 2021 ISC2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, is down from 3.12 million in 2020. ISC2 describes the workforce gap as “the number of additional professionals that organizations need to adequately defend their critical assets”. It was formerly referred to as the skills gap.
By developing our training in a role-based and task-led process, we are ensuring that not only will those who take Fortinet’s NSE training and certifications are able to best serve our customers and partners, but that they will be learning industry skills that will service them in any capacity and position along their career paths. Accumulating a breadth of security, cloud, and networking knowledge will help IT and security professionals perform well in their current role, help them advance in their careers, and, for those entering the cyber industry, it will provide a good foundation for wherever their career may take them.
Find out more about how Fortinet’s Training Advancement Agenda (TAA) and NSE Training Institute programs, including the Certification Program, Security Academy Program and Veterans Program, are helping to solve the cyber skills gap and prepare the cybersecurity workforce of tomorrow.