Cybersecurity Courses & Certifications

From cyber foundations to leadership strategies, SANS offers more than 85 hands-on courses to help cyber professionals at every level of experience gain immediately applicable skills. Not sure where to start?


Frequently Asked Questions About Cybersecurity Courses

In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, cybersecurity has become a critical concern for organizations worldwide. The demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals is growing exponentially, with the World Economic Forum projecting a talent shortage of 85 million workers by 2030. As a result, IT professionals, whether aspiring or experienced, are increasingly focusing on upskilling to meet this demand.

The high stakes of cybersecurity mean that hiring managers maintain rigorous standards, creating a significant barrier to entry that only education and experience can overcome. This is where cybersecurity courses come into play, offering IT professionals the opportunity to enhance their skills, gain valuable experience, and improve their marketability in the competitive IT career landscape.

Despite the many training organizations claiming expertise in cybersecurity, only a select few are recognized by industry decision-makers. This blog addresses the most common questions from your peers about cybersecurity courses, providing insights that influence both upskillers and job seekers alike.

1. What are the courses for cybersecurity?

Specializing in a specific area of cybersecurity helps tremendously when developing a course and certification roadmap for your cybersecurity career. Areas of specialization are as vast as the cybersecurity discipline itself. So, focus on areas of passion and keen interest, areas where you've made positive change or achieved 'wins' for an organization.

A few areas of specialization in cybersecurity include:

2. How long is a cybersecurity course?

The length of a cybersecurity course depends on the course type. Course types fall into three categories: In-Person, Live Online, and OnDemand.

In-Person cybersecurity courses range from five to ten days in duration and offer a series of networking and professional development opportunities aside from the core subject matter training.

Live Online cybersecurity courses take place during a specific date and time and are conducted live with participants having access to some or all course materials after the completion of the live portion of the course. The duration is equal to that of the in-person version of the course: five to ten days.

OnDemand cybersecurity courses offer students the chance to learn at a customized pace while receiving live support from subject matter experts. There are sometimes limits on the length of time learners can access the materials, in many cases ranging from four months to unlimited access.

3. How much does a cybersecurity course cost?

Courses increase in cost based on complexity of subject matter, length of the course, and the tools and resources included in the course to hone the learner's skills in a particular area. High quality and highly specialized and technical courses cost more than others in the market.

Cybersecurity course fees and their return on investment depend on a learner's goals when seeking cybersecurity education. A cybersecurity pro looking to build a skill base can piece together a learning curriculum, but that can be like building in the dark with no blueprint.

SANS courses offer a curated learning experience with all resources necessary to learn and master the most relevant skills in a subject area. This saves students time and effort. When reviewing costs, consider these factors:

  • Time: The lower the cost the less structured and impactful the experience. Learners often end up pulling together information from disparate sources with no assurance that what they're learning is important to hiring managers and internal decision makers in their organizations.
  • Reputation: Some educational groups in cybersecurity need no explanation as to their expertise or level of trust in the marketplace. Others, while popular in small groups of specialized cybersecurity pros, may not have the name recognition to grab the attention of fast-moving decision makers looking to promote the next solid cybersecurity expert in their organization.
  • Employer sponsorship: Some educational groups offer pricing designed for learners who self-fund their education, while other training organizations facilitate corporate pricing for high-level, specialized coursework for their employees. This often helps employers prove that they're addressing a pressing issue or a gaping hole in their cybersecurity positioning.

Courses that offer this level of efficient delivery and a high-level learning experience range between $3,000 and $6,000 per course.

4. How difficult is a cybersecurity course?

Difficulty levels of cybersecurity courses vary based on the experience level of the learner, the prerequisite courses needed, and the complexity of the course subject matter.

More advanced courses held in a group setting often present the most complexity to learners. Ways to address perceived difficulty of course materials include selecting a course style that best suits the learner's needs. For some, in-person experiences lessen course difficulty. Whereas on-demand courses offer those who favor self-paced learning with the time to absorb and test new concepts until they become integrated into the learner's skill set.

Consider reviewing prerequisites and consulting with an educational consultant provided by the cybersecurity course provider to select the best course type and to gauge the level of difficulty of each course.

5. What are the best cybersecurity courses for beginners?

This answer depends on your specific goals. There are foundational courses which provide certifications that employers expect potential hires to have when seeking to land a cybersecurity role.

In this case, GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC) offers employers proof of your mastery of cybersecurity essentials and foundational concepts, terms, and strategies. Areas of this certification include cryptography, cloud security operations for AWS and Azure, Linux hardening, and Windows access controls.

6. What are the best advanced cybersecurity courses?

As certain technologies gain popularity, an organization's attack surface grows. Cybersecurity pros who master the fundamentals can branch out into emerging branches of the cybersecurity threat matrix. For instance, as machine learning becomes more useful in enterprise settings, cybersecurity pros look to codify their understanding of securing systems leveraging the technology.

Other solid advanced courses include:

7. What jobs can you get in cybersecurity?‎

The cybersecurity industry offers many chances for passionate learners to upskill and land roles in the industry. Many cybersecurity pros come from the broader world of IT and move from being network administrators and software engineers to cryptanalysts and bug bounty hunters. Here's a list of cybersecurity jobs and their associated categories:

Offensive Operations

  • Red Team member
  • Pen Tester

Defensive Operations

  • Counterespionage Analyst
  • Cryptanalyst
  • Cyber Intelligence Specialist
  • Data Privacy Officer
  • Data Security Analyst
  • Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Security Specialist
  • Information Security Analyst
  • IT Security Architect
  • Security Operations Center (SOC) Analyst
  • Security Awareness Training Specialist
  • Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) Security Analyst


  • Chief Security Officer (CSO)
  • Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
  • Security Operations Center (SOC) Manager

Incident Response and Threat Hunting

  • Threat Hunter
  • Virus Technician
  • Bug Bounty Hunter
  • Ethical Hacker
  • Incident Responder
  • Malware Analyst
  • Vulnerability Assessor

Threat Intel and Forensics

  • Cyber Insurance Policy Specialist
  • Cyber Operations Specialist
  • Cybercrime Investigator
  • Cybersecurity Lawyer
  • Source Code Auditor

8. How can online courses help you learn cybersecurity?

While in-person learning experiences in cybersecurity offer networking opportunities, online courses provide learners with a focused environment for absorbing cybersecurity concepts and practicing their application online.

For the budget conscious, not having to travel makes online courses attractive. Learners also get the chance to engage with course materials at the times most convenient for them.

Another benefit, when course participants need one-on-one assistance, they can reach out to subject matter experts and/or course leaders only when needed. This independent learning format suits many in the cybersecurity industry.

Cybersecurity is a dynamic and ever-evolving field, requiring continuous learning and adaptation. Investing in cybersecurity courses can significantly enhance your skills, boost your career prospects, and help bridge the talent gap in this critical industry. Whether you're just starting or looking to advance your expertise, there are courses tailored to meet your needs and ambitions. By understanding the various aspects of cybersecurity education, you can make informed decisions and set yourself on a path to success in the cybersecurity landscape.