Updated May 2023
Few fields are as hot as cybersecurity.
The massive shift to remote work and online services during the pandemic generated huge demand for IT security experts. The Government of Canada Job Bank forecasts good-to-very-good employment prospects for cybersecurity specialists in every single province over the next few years.
And these are high-paying roles, with a median salary of more than $87K.
So you're smart to be thinking about getting into this field. But if you're completely new to IT, it can be challenging to choose the ideal training program (especially if you want to avoid a four-year university degree). What course should you choose?
In this post, we outline the top traits of a quality cybersecurity diploma. A diploma is a good alternative for people seeking comprehensive training that is much shorter than a degree.
Here's what to look for in a good cybersecurity diploma for beginners.
1. COURSE CONTENT BASED ON INDUSTRY CERTIFICATIONS
Make sure the cybersecurity course you choose is built around recognized certifications.
In a recent survey of cybersecurity professionals, almost half said earning a basic cybersecurity certification was the best advice for beginners looking to break into the industry.
Here are a few examples of certs that are highly respected by employers:
☑️ Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)
☑️ Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
☑️ Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)
So read through the course descriptions for any cybersecurity diploma you're considering.
Make sure the topics cover material on important certification exams, so you can jumpstart your prep for those tests.
2. ACTUAL WORK EXPERIENCE THROUGH AN INTERNSHIP
If you've never worked in IT before, you definitely want to choose a cybersecurity diploma that includes an internship with a local company.
This is crucial to getting your foot in the door.
An internship gives you the chance to rub shoulders with cybersecurity professionals, connect with a possible employer, and gain actual work experience for your resume—before you even graduate.
Some students even get hired directly from their internships.
At the very least, having that real-world experience will make you more competitive in the cybersecurity job market.
3. ACCELERATED TRAINING that gets you to work faster
In the IT security field, real work experience is what really matters. So you want to start accumulating it as soon as possible.
You need a quick training program that gets you job-ready fast. So keep an eye out for an accelerated cybersecurity diploma you can finish in one to two years.
A good course will cover all the practical skills you need to land your first job without costing you years of time (and money) in school. Those skills include:
☑️ Network monitoring
☑️ Best practices in security for Windows, Linux, and Unix
☑️ Web application security
☑️ Cloud security
☑️ Ethical hacking and digital forensics
☑️ Disaster recovery
These skills will prepare you for entry-level jobs like Network Security Analyst, Junior Penetration Tester, and Cybersecurity Specialist.
4. A FLEXIBLE FORMAT
Need to fit your training around work or family obligations? Want to be able to enrol when it suits you? These are top priorities for most busy, working students.
Some cybersecurity diploma programs are available online. So you can learn from home and your studies won't get sidetracked by a pandemic or your job.
And don't worry - a good online IT security program will still include an internship.
Plus, some programs have multiple start dates, so you can get started when it's most convenient for you.
Be sure the program you choose offers the flexibility you need to complete the courses without interruption.
5. A TRACK RECORD OF GRADS GETTING HIRED
The whole point of taking a cybersecurity diploma is to get a job, right?
So before you sign up, find out what percentage of the college's graduates get hired. That’s a good indication of how the training is viewed by employers.
Not all schools post their graduate employment rate on their websites. If you can't find it, ask admissions.
6. A FULL RANGE OF CAREER SERVICES
The transition from training to employment can be tricky, especially when you're starting a new career from scratch.
Once you've earned your cybersecurity diploma, will the college support you in finding your first job in the industry? Or are you left to fend for yourself?
See if the school provides the following career services:
☑️ Help with crafting a resume and cover letter
☑️ Guidance with finding and applying to cybersecurity jobs
☑️ Mock interviews to get you ready to face a hiring manager
☑️ Connections with industry partners who often hire the school's graduates
☑️ Career assistance for your entire lifetime
YOUR SUMMARY OF QUESTIONS TO ASK ADMISSIONS
Before you choose a cybersecurity diploma, you need to speak to an admissions advisor to get detailed information on all the points we covered in this post.
Here's a checklist of important questions to ask admissions at each school you're considering.
☑️ How long does the cybersecurity program take?
☑️ Does the training include an internship?
☑️ Does the curriculum include preparation for IT security certifications?
☑️ Is the diploma offered online?
☑️ How long has the college been operating?
☑️ What career services are available to students and graduates?
☑️ How much is tuition?
☑️ Is financial aid or any scholarships available?☑️ When can you start?
EXPLORE THE CYBERSECURITY DIPLOMA PROGRAM AT HERZING
Ready to learn more about a career in IT security? Have questions about what to expect in cybersecurity training?
Check out the accelerated 12-month Cybersecurity diploma program at Herzing College.
Training includes a five-week internship plus preparation for four leading IT security certifications. This program is delivered entirely online.
Click below to explore the program and chat live with an admissions advisor who can answer your questions. We're here to help!