Best Cybersecurity Courses in 2024 (Free & Paid) – Must Read!

Best Cybersecurity courses in 2024: 10 Free and Paid courses for beginners

Looking for the best cybersecurity courses in 2024? Be sure to read this article till the end.

Cybersecurity remains a high-demand field in this new year. With the ubiquitous use of the internet and ever-increasing cybercrime, the need for cybersecurity professionals continues to grow.

The good news? Anyone can learn this skill from home through the countless cybersecurity courses available online.

If you want to break into cybersecurity, make sure to choose a reputable course that caters to your experience level. Whether you’re a total beginner looking to learn ethical hacking, Linux, or complete cybersecurity, or you want to prepare for a certification exam, quality cybersecurity programs can teach you the skills you need.

This article spotlights the top 10 courses that can launch and advance your cybersecurity career.

How do we find the best cybersecurity courses?

I shortlisted and ranked these cybersecurity courses based on affordability, ratings, enrollment numbers, and curriculum. I also gathered feedback from past students on whether they would recommend the programs.

Explore all the featured courses, but choose the one that best suits your needs.

Top 10 Cybersecurity programs at a glance:

  • StaionX Complete Cybersecurity Program: If you want to learn complete cybersecurity from a beginner level to an advanced level, you may consider this course.
  • Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate: This certification program offered by Google builds your solid foundation in cybersecurity and prepares you for an entry-level job. You don’t need any prior knowledge and experience to enroll in this program.
  • IBM Cybersecurity Analyst: This program also starts from scratch makes your fundamentals strong in cybersecurity and prepares you for an entry-level job.
  • Cyber Security Expert: This program offered by Simplilearn, begins with introductory level technology training, then progresses to intermediate level hacking techniques such as reverse engineering, and network penetration testing.
  • Introduction to Cybersecurity: Offered by Neywork University, this program focuses on building your foundation strong in cybersecurity and prepares you for entry-level job roles.
  • Microsoft Cybersecurity Professional Certificate: Similar to Google and IBM, this professional certificate on cybersecurity is offered by Microsoft that starts from scratch and prepares you for a cybersecurity analyst role.
  • HarvardX: CS50’s Introduction to Cybersecurity: This is a free program offered by Harvard University to learn just the basics of cybersecurity, even without requiring any technical background.
  • TryHackMe: Intro to Cyber Security: This program teaches you the core skills required to start a career in cyber security. You’ll also explore different careers that you can pursue in this industry.
  • Hack the Box: This platform offers many free modules to start and build a solid career in the cybersecurity industry. From ethical hacking to penetration testing, you must explore this platform.
  • Cybrary: IT and Cybersecurity Foundations: Offered by Cyberary, this is a completely free cybersecurity program that provides a basic overview of all the fundamental concepts you need to take your first step.

Now let’s dive into these programs:

1. StationX- The Complete Cybersecurity Courses

StationX- The Complete Cybersecurity Courses: one of the best cybersecurity courses in 2024 that any beginners can enroll in
  • Course Duration: 1 month (by studying 15hrs per week)
  • Cost: $65 (life access)

StationX is a premier cybersecurity training platform offering hundreds of courses in ethical hacking, penetration testing, and more. They also provide training for certifications like CompTIA, CISSP, CEH, and OSCP to help you land a cybersecurity job.

If you want to learn cybersecurity from the ground up, consider their Complete Cybersecurity Course Volumes 1-4. Created and taught by StationX founder Nathan House, this bestselling course is also available on Udemy.

Along with this program on StationX, you’ll also get a cybersecurity e-book and access to the Q&A Security forum.

Course Curriculum:

As mentioned above, this comprehensive course has four volumes covering beginner to expert-level training:

  • Volume 1 – Hackers Exposed: Stop hackers, prevent tracking, advance anonymous browsing, and counter government surveillance.
  • Volume 2 – Network Security: WiFi security, firewalls, Wireshark.
  • Volume 3 – Anonymous Browsing: Internet privacy, Hacker OPSEC, Tor, proxy servers, VPNs.
  • Volume 4 – Antivirus and Malware: Disk encryption, finding/removing hackers and malware.

The programs may sound complex but you’ll learn from the ground up with introductory lessons at the start of each section.

Why to choose StationX?

  • Provides complete cybersecurity training from the basics up.
  • Very affordable pricing for programs and VIP membership.
  • Highly qualified instructors.
  • Lifetime access to programs and full career mentorship.

You can also join the StationX VIP membership for just $197, granting access to all StationX programs, top cybersecurity cert training, and more. This membership offers incredible value if you want a career in cybersecurity. Check out my StationX review for more information about this membership.

2. Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate Program

best cybersecurity courses in 2024: Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate Program
  • Course Duration: 1 month (by studying 15hrs per week)
  • Cost: $65 (life access)

Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate is one of the best Cybersecurity courses on Coursera created by senior practitioners at Google as part of their Career Certificates.

Like other Google professional certificates, you don’t need any prior knowledge or experience to enroll. You’ll learn everything from scratch and build a strong cybersecurity foundation to qualify for entry-level jobs.

Course Curriculum:

This professional certification includes a total of 8-course series divided into modules. I’d recommend pursuing them in order so you don’t miss anything important and can learn effectively. These courses are:

  1. Foundations of Cybersecurity:  Introduces cybersecurity foundation, how it works, and skills needed to excel in the industry.
  2. Play It Safe: Manage Security Risks: Teaches about threats, risks, and vulnerabilities to business operations. Introduces Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tools.
  3. Connect and Protect: Networks and Network Security: Provides insights on network security and system hardening, important cybersecurity aspects.
  4. Tools of the Trade: Linux and SQL: Learn to use Linux to navigate/manage file systems, and SQL to retrieve database information.
  5. Assets, Threats, and Vulnerabilities: Identify and analyze attack surfaces to find risks and vulnerabilities. It covers social engineering, malware, web exploits, and threat modeling.
  6. Sound the Alarm: Detection and Response: Covers basic syntax, and log/signature components in Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), Network IDS tools, and SIEM tools.
  7. Automate Cybersecurity Tasks with Python: Explore Python, and practice debugging code.
  8. Put It to Work: Prepare for Cybersecurity Jobs: Engage with the community, prepare for interviews, and find/apply for jobs.

The program has a comparatively bigger curriculum and it may take 3-6 to complete this program.

Why choose this program?

  • You earn an industry-recognized certificate from Google, demonstrating your cybersecurity proficiency.
  • It’s backed by Google, bringing trust and credibility to the course materials.
  • Provides practical, and real-world curriculum designed to provide applicable skills for cybersecurity roles, ensuring learners are well-prepared for industry demands.

3. IBM Cybersecurity Analyst:

best cybersecurity courses in 2024: IBM Cybersecurity Analyst Professional Certificate
  • Course Duration: 3-4 months (by studying 15hrs per week)
  • Cost: $49 per month

This is also a professional certification program that is offered by IBM, available on Coursera. This is also one of the best and most enrolled cybersecurity programs for beginners.

It also provides a comprehensive training offering by IBM aimed at providing individuals with the essential skills and knowledge required to thrive in the field of cybersecurity analysis.

This program, developed by IBM experts, covers a wide array of topics crucial for cybersecurity professionals.

Course Curriculum:

Similar to the previous Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate, it also includes an 8-course series to master cybersecurity in-depth. On average, it may take 3-4 months to complete this program by studying 12 hrs per week.

Here are the major topics included in this program:

  • Introduction to Cybersecurity Tools & Cyber Attacks: This course is all about making you familiar with the different types of cybersecurity tools and cyber attacks that keep taking place.
  • Cybersecurity Roles, Processes & Operating System Security: In this course, you will understand the role of cybersecurity professionals, how they work, and what their day looks like in their job.
  • Cybersecurity Compliance Framework & System Administration: Here you will learn several key cybersecurity compliance and industry standards including NIST, GDPR, HIPAA, SANS, and PCI.
  • Network Security & Database Vulnerabilities: In this course, you’ll learn about network security, and many technical terms such as IP Addressing, Network Address Translation, and Packet Sniffing. You’ll also get familiar with TCP/IP and OSI Models.
  • Penetration Testing, Incident Response, and Forensics: This course gives you the background needed to gain Cybersecurity skills as part of the Cybersecurity Security Analyst Professional Certificate program.
  • Cyber Threat Intelligence: Taking this course will teach you how to identify cyber threats. Further, you’ll learn about data loss prevention tools, and risks as well as manage mobile endpoints.
  • Cybersecurity Capstone: Breach Response Case Studies: In this course, you’ll learn about phishing scams in detail, point of sale breaches, and explore case studies.
  • IBM Cybersecurity Analyst Assessment: In this final course, you’ll assess your acquired knowledge and skills, and become job-ready for a cybersecurity analyst role.

Overall, this program starts from scratch and makes you job-ready in the cybersecurity industry.

Why choose this program?

  • Similar to Google Certification, you earn an industry-recognized certificate from IBM that showcases your cybersecurity skills.
  • Its courses cover a wide range of topics, providing a holistic understanding of the subject matter.
  • Having an IBM certificate can enhance your resume and demonstrate your proficiency, potentially leading to better job opportunities.

I have also published a detailed review of the IBM Cybersecurity Analyst Certification and you’d love to read it also.

4. Cyber Security Expert Certification:

best cybersecurity certification programs in 2024: offered by Simplilearn
  • Course Duration: 11 months (live classes)
  • Cost: $2999

This cybersecurity program is offered by Simplilearn. By Career Karma, this program ranks as one of the best cybersecurity training courses. Actually, it’s a Master’s certification program that starts from scratch and prepares you for CEH, CompTIA, and CISSP certifications to make you an expert in this industry.

Please note, that unlike other featured programs, this program provides live classes at a specific time. To pursue this program you need to possess an undergraduate degree or a high school diploma.

Course Curriculum:

This cybersecurity program curriculum covers various aspects of cybersecurity to prepare students for roles as cybersecurity professionals. Here is an overview of the course curriculum:

  • Introduction to Cyber Security: This section provides an overview of cybersecurity concepts, threats, and challenges faced in today’s digital landscape.
  • Information Security: Topics in this section include data protection, encryption, access control, and secure communication protocols.
  • Network Security: Students learn about securing networks, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and network monitoring.
  • Identity and Access Management: This section covers authentication mechanisms, authorization, and managing user access to resources.
  • Security Operations and Monitoring: Students learn about security incident response, vulnerability assessment, and security monitoring tools and techniques.
  • Application Security: This module focuses on securing software applications, including secure coding practices, application testing, and mitigating common vulnerabilities.
  • Cloud Security: Topics in this section include securing cloud infrastructure, data protection in the cloud, and implementing security controls in cloud environments.
  • Threat Intelligence and Cyber Threat Hunting: Students learn about threat intelligence gathering, analysis, and proactive threat hunting techniques to identify and mitigate cybersecurity threats.
  • Cyber Security Governance and Compliance: This module covers cybersecurity policies, regulations, compliance frameworks, and best practices for governance and risk management.
  • Capstone Project: The program may include a capstone project where students apply their knowledge and skills to solve real-world cybersecurity challenges.

Why choose this program?

  • The program covers a wide range of cybersecurity topics, providing a thorough understanding of key concepts and skills needed in the field.
  • The program is taught by experienced cybersecurity professionals who provide expert guidance and support throughout your learning journey.
  • With cybersecurity skills in high demand, completing this program can open up opportunities for career advancement and higher earning potential in the cybersecurity field.

5. Introduction to Cyber Security Specialization

Best cybersecurity programs for beginners: Introduction-to-Cyber-Security-Coursera
  • Course Duration: 2 months (by studying 10 hrs per week)
  • Cost: $49 per month

This cybersecurity specialization program is offered by New York University and is accessible on Coursera. It’s tailored for anyone interested in cybersecurity, whether you’re a student, developer, manager, or simply curious about safeguarding your online activities.

Emphasizing practical skills and insights from industry partners, the program delves into topics such as cyber threats, defense strategies, and enterprise security.

Completion of this specialization opens pathways to further learning in fields like Cybersecurity for Business and Applied Cryptography.

Course Curriculum:

This specialization program on cybersecurity includes four courses making your foundation strong in this industry. These course series are further divided into modules, quizzes, and assignments.

Here are the courses included in this program:

  • Introduction to Cyber Attacks: This course provides a basic understanding of common cyber security threats, vulnerabilities, and risks. Further, how basic cyber attacks are constructed and applied to real systems is also taught in this program.
  • Cyber Attack Countermeasures: Embark on a journey through this course series, where you’ll delve into the fundamentals of cyber defense, commencing with the exploration of foundational models.
  • Real-Time Cyber Threat Detection and Mitigation: The course aims to familiarize you with contemporary cyber security strategies implemented in real-time, within the framework of the TCP/IP protocol suites.
  • Enterprise and Infrastructure Security: In this course, you’ll learn about advanced cybersecurity topics important for today’s businesses and infrastructure.

Why choose this program?

  • The program is offered by New York University, a reputable institution known for its quality education, instilling trust in its course materials.
  • It begins at the basics, delving into key subjects to establish a solid foundation in the cybersecurity field.
  • In a short period and at an accessible price, you can kickstart your cybersecurity career with this specialized program.

6. Microsoft Cybersecurity Analyst Professional Certificate:

best cybersecurity courses for beginners: Microsoft Cybersecurity Analyst Professional Certificate
  • Course Duration: 6 months (by studying 10 hrs per week)
  • Cost: $49 per month

This is also one of the best cybersecurity programs for beginners that is offered by Microsoft and available on Coursera.

The role of a cybersecurity analyst includes monitoring networks for vulnerabilities or potential threats, mitigating attacks on network infrastructures, and implementing strategies for data protection.

This program aims to prepare you for a cybersecurity analyst job role without any prior knowledge and experience. It includes a total of 9-course series that are:

  1. Introduction to Computers and Operating Systems and Security:
  2. Introduction to Networking and Cloud Computing:
  3. Cybersecurity Threat Vectors and Mitigation:
  4. Cybersecurity Identity and Access Solutions using Azure AD:
  5. Cybersecurity Solutions and Microsoft Defender:
  6. Cybersecurity Tools and Technologies:
  7. Cybersecurity Management and Compliance:
  8. Advanced Cybersecurity Concepts and Capstone Project:
  9. Microsoft SC-900 Exam Preparation and Practice:

Why choose this program?

  • You earn an industry-recognized certificate from Google, demonstrating your cybersecurity proficiency.
  • With a comprehensive course curriculum, it covers a wide range of cybersecurity topics and provides you with the skills needed to work as a cybersecurity analyst.

Overall, Microsoft’s cybersecurity program tailored for beginners is worth considering if you aim to embark on a cybersecurity career without prior knowledge or experience.

So far, I have shared the best cybersecurity courses that are designed for beginners and take you to the next level. All the programs featured above are paid but they are affordable also.

Now I’m going to put the best free resources to learn cybersecurity from scartch and make a career in it. If you find it difficult to afford the above cybersecurity programs, consider exploring the below courses.

7. HarvardX: CS50’s Introduction to Cybersecurity

cybersecurity best free resources to learn: HarvardX: CS50's Introduction to Cybersecurity

Harvard offers “CS50’s Introduction to Cybersecurity” on edX, a program designed to introduce the fundamentals of cybersecurity. This course covers various aspects, including threat models, cryptography, software security, network security, and web security.

It’s a free 5-week course focused on cybersecurity training. You’ll learn about common vulnerabilities and attacks like buffer overflows, SQL injection, and cross-site scripting, along with strategies to mitigate these risks.

The program offers hands-on experience through practical assignments and projects, enabling participants to apply their knowledge in real-world scenarios. It also emphasizes ethical considerations and responsible cybersecurity practices.

Through interactive lectures, readings, and assessments, participants gain a solid understanding of cybersecurity principles and techniques. Upon completion, participants receive a certificate from HarvardX, recognizing their proficiency in cybersecurity fundamentals.

8. TryHackMe: Intro to Cyber Security:

TryHackMe is a cybersecurity training platform that offers both free and paid courses. This intro-level program is completely free and open to enrollment for anyone interested.

With this course, you’ll gain core skills, explore different careers in cybersecurity, and also learn to hack your first application. It also includes 8 hands-on labs so that you get the practical training.

Here are three sections included in this course to start your learning:

  1. Introduction to Cyber Security: In this first section, you’ll be introduced to offensive and defensive security, and explore different careers that you can pursue in the cybersecurity industry.
  2. Introduction to Offensive Security: In this section, you’ll learn about different types of security required such as web application security, operating system security, and network security.
  3. Introduction to Defensive Security: This last section will teach you about digital forensics, and security operations.

Overall, this intro-level cybersecurity course is excellent for beginners. As mentioned, this program offers numerous free programs on cybersecurity training. So, feel free to explore other programs offered by this platform.

9. Hack The Box Cybersecurity Training

best cybersecurity free course: Hack The Box Cybersecurity Training

Hack the Box (HTB) is another free cybersecurity platform that offers the best training programs for beginners. You’ll be surprised to know that, from newbies refreshing their basics to professionals honing advanced techniques, more than 900,000 users are learning at the HTB Academy.

Their content is made by real cybersecurity experts. Courses cover offensive, defensive, and general cybersecurity topics that give you skills employers want.

Here are the five HTB Academy courses (or modules) for beginners in cybersecurity that you can access without paying any bucks. Each course in this list was picked to teach real-world skills you’d need as a beginner.

  • Introduction to Networking: Acquiring proficiency in fundamental networking principles will establish a robust groundwork for your cybersecurity endeavors. This course guides you through an intriguing exploration of the basic networking concepts vital for every IT professional.
  • Linux Fundamentals: Linux firmly holds its place as the primary operating system (OS) for servers and websites across the Internet. This course adopts a practical and user-friendly approach, equipping you with the vital knowledge and hands-on skills needed to navigate Linux proficiently.
  • Windows Fundamentals: This course thoroughly covers the basics needed to navigate the Windows operating system. Once you finish this module, you’ll feel fully equipped to tackle everyday challenges and confidently operate Windows systems.
  • Incident Handling Process: This module thoroughly covers fundamental concepts crucial for managing incidents effectively. It explores the framework for handling incidents and acquaints you with the Cyber Kill Chain concept, providing a systematic approach to comprehending cyber attacks.
  • Web Requests: This comprehensive module empowers you to navigate web applications with confidence, effectively mitigating risks and ensuring robust security measures are in place.

For more information about these courses, you can check out this amazing guide created: 5 free beginner-friendly HTB Academy modules

10. Cybrary: IT and Cybersecurity Foundations:

BEST FREE CYBERSECURITY COURSES: Cybrary: IT and Cybersecurity Foundations

Similar to TryHackMe and HTB, Cybrary is also among the top free resources for learning cybersecurity. This foundational program offered by the platform provides everything you need to kickstart your cybersecurity career journey, even without prior knowledge or experience.

This pathway covers fundamental skills upon which all cybersecurity roles and job functions are built. You’ll gain proficiency in key concepts and skills such as Wireshark, NMAP, Cryptography, Firewall, IDS, and Vulnerability scanner basics.

Upon completion of this program, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on your search for your first cybersecurity role. While more specialized skills may be required for your desired position, this pathway is designed to familiarize you with essential concepts and on-the-job skills, instilling the confidence to commence the application and interview process.

Upon finishing this course, you can also explore numerous other courses offered by Cybrary for free.

Now It’s Your Turn:

So, in this article, I’ve highlighted the top cybersecurity programs for beginners in 2024. Each program is tailored to those starting from scratch, offering essential skills for entry-level positions in cybersecurity.

Now, I’d like to know: Which cybersecurity program from this list are you considering? Is it a paid or a free one?

If you’re serious about delving into cybersecurity and building a career, I recommend opting for a paid program such as Google, IBM, or Microsoft Professional Certificate.

While free programs have value, investing financially often correlates with greater commitment and a higher completion rate. However, if finances are a concern, you can still explore the free cybersecurity programs mentioned in this article.

Happy Learning!

(To support my writing, I may use affiliate links in this post. Rest assured, they do not affect my reviews.)

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