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IBM, ISC2 Offer Free Cybersecurity Certificate



Image: ISC2

The International Information System Security Certification Consortium and IBM teamed up on February 12 to launch the IBM and ISC2 Cybersecurity Specialist Professional Certificate, which can be earned through a free, four-month, beginner-level training course. IBM chose ISC2 to develop the certification program, which prepares potential cybersecurity professionals for a career in a cybersecurity specialist role.

The IBM and ISC2 Certificate provides cybersecurity training and proof of skills

The IBM and ISC2 Cybersecurity Specialist Professional Certificate is made up of the domains from ISC2’s Certified in Cybersecurity certification training, which are:

  • Security principles.
  • Incident response.
  • Business continuity and disaster recovery.
  • Access controls concepts.
  • Network security and security operations.

Upon completion of the 12-course certification program, participants will receive an IBM Digital Skills Badge, which shows proficiency to potential employers. Participants are encouraged to further develop their skills by registering as ISC2 Candidates and taking ISC2’s free Certified in Cybersecurity test, which helps prove their skills on a resume or in a job interview. More than 360,000 people globally have enrolled in the Certified in Cybersecurity certification training.

Cybersecurity jobs remain in high demand

“The cyber workforce urgently needs skilled professionals. This partnership enables aspiring professionals to demonstrate technical proficiency and build a solid foundation of skills, helping individuals to get their foot in the door with employers and kickstart their careers,” said ISC2 CEO Clar Rosso in a press release.

SEE: Ivanti disclosed five zero-day vulnerabilities impacting its Secure VPN solution (TechRepublic)

According to ISC2’s research, the gap between supply and demand for cybersecurity professionals reached 4 million people in 2023. The workforce would need to grow by 73% to effectively cover all organizations’ potentially vulnerable assets, ISC2 found.

“For IBM and Coursera to recognize the value of our CC certification is hugely encouraging and furthers progress to help close the cybersecurity workforce gap,” said Rosso.

“With the ever-increasing threats against critical systems and the world’s reliance on technology, the demand for cybersecurity specialists is higher than ever,” said IBM Skills Network Director and CTO Leon Katsnelson in the press release. “We are delighted to partner with ISC2 and Coursera in pursuit of our common goal of empowering aspiring cybersecurity professionals with the critical skills for success in this in-demand profession.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor in October 2023, information security analyst is among the IT jobs that will be in high demand over the decade from 2022 to 2032.

How opening doors to junior professionals benefits organizations and the cybersecurity industry

For organizations, certification programs like this offer straightforward paths to cross-train or re-train employees for internal positions if needed. With ransomware still in use and generative AI potentially letting attackers train models on stolen data in the future, the demand for cybersecurity professionals is likely only to increase.

“One of the most persistent cybersecurity staffing challenges organizations around the world experience is being able to identify entry- and junior-level candidates with the right skills and aptitude to learn and grow on the job,” Rosso told TechRepublic in an email.

“At the same time, early career hopefuls are unable to demonstrate their understanding of cybersecurity concepts and gain the attention of hiring managers … [The certification is] a win-win-win for employers, prospective employees, and the broader cybersecurity industry,” Rosso said.

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