Updated: Aug 7
If you've ever wondered to yourself: "Which free or affordable online beginner cybersecurity course can help me get a cybersecurity job in Singapore?" this article points you in the right direction.
Are you looking to enter the up and coming cybersecurity industry? If you searched Google for cybersecurity courses that help pave your way into the industry, you would be overwhelmed with the sheer volume and amount of options available. What's worse is that if you're from Singapore or South-East Asia, many of these courses are not recognised or relevant here, adding to the difficulty you'll face.
So, which of these free or affordable online cybersecurity courses will help kickstart your career in cybersecurity?
This guide is written for people in Singapore – to understand what is relevant, useful and what can help you take a step further into having a career in cybersecurity.
It is essentially our review of the "self-study" track, where you learn cybersecurity on a budget at your own pace, even if you're a beginner. But before we go into these exact cybersecurity courses, let's first talk about what skills, knowledge and certifications you need to enter cybersecurity in this region.
When it comes to cybersecurity, there's only one thing that practitioners care about – your skills. Due to the relatively small size of the cybersecurity market in the region, most cybersecurity practitioners in Singapore and South-East Asia know one another. Therefore, technical skills are still used as the leading benchmark in cybersecurity today, with certifications and interview skills being viewed as a bad proxy.
So how do you exhibit your skill? Some of the most common skill showcases are through Capture-The-Flag competitions, cyber-defence competitions like Cybersecurity Challenge Singapore or taking part in sessions with communities like Division 0 and exchanging knowledge with the members.
If you choose to take the self-study route, showcasing your skills are the best means of getting into cybersecurity. There are some courses that we'll share with you below that are focused on skills development.
Cybersecurity requires knowledge across multiple fields – networking, Linux and Windows are the key fundamentals. There are other areas, such as Systems Administrations, Cyber Operations, Digital Forensics, etc., that are specific to each area of cybersecurity.
While knowledge is valuable and important, most hiring managers looking to hire junior and executive roles would favour those with skills over knowledge. However, some companies focus on on-the-job training for the new hires, where your knowledge would be the base of how well you will learn on the job.
There are several courses, books and other resources that one can use to acquire the requisite knowledge. We will be listing them below as well.
Whenever we talk about cybersecurity, certification is one of the hottest topics in the area. Here at Centre for Cybersecurity, we receive common queries such as: "What certificates should I go for?" or "What certifications will get me a job?"
While it's proof of your knowledge, not all certificates are viewed equally in the hiring manager's eyes. It depends upon the personal experience of certified practitioners (sometimes not at all) and their overall impression of the certification. There exists a hierarchy that each certificate ranks in the eyes of the cybersecurity market.
All-in-all, the most well-received cybersecurity certifications in Singapore generally come from 3 central bodies, Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC), System Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2 and ISACA. To give you a fuller picture, we have the infographic available in the certificates section below for you to reference.
Cyber Ranges (Skills-based training)
TryHackMe - For people with 0 knowledge, this is a more friendly, simpler version of Hack The Box Academy for people with zero knowledge.
The Cyber Mentor Academy - Heath Adams is one of the friendliest and popular influencers in cybersecurity, with an excellent programme for really enthusiastic people.
HTB Academy (Hack The Box Academy) - Suitable for people with some basics. The acadamy is hands-on and teaches you about the different components needed in cybersecurity.
RangeForce Community Edition – Great for people looking at more direct professional help; fun and engaging but with greater difficulty.
Youtube and other free cybersecurity resources (Knowledge sharing)
Certifications(either one from cybersecurity and either one from Network certification)
The ultimate beginner cert for cybersecurity would be the GSEC certification from GIAC. It is the certification that is most likely to get you a job most easily. It costs $2,499USD for just the examination. Usually, such a certificate is for people with 3 years of experience in the cybersecurity sector, which means it is incredibly difficult for someone who does not have work experience to pass it on the first go.
On the other hand, there are certificates that we more friendly to beginners and will be good as the first benchmark for your own learning.
CEH Mastery - $1,199USD examination fee (Red and Blue, but leaning more to Red Team)
Security+ - $349 USD examination fee (General)
SSCP - $249 USD examination fee (General)
Crest CPIA - $425 USD examination fee (Blue)
Crest CPTIA - $425 USD examination fee (Blue)
Network+ - $319 USD examination fee (Network)
CCNA - $330 USD examination fee (Network)
While certificates can help you gain confidence and benchmark yourself in the market, the cybersecurity market locally might not recognise some of these certificates. This means that certificates, in this scenario, would not necessarily assure you a job.
To get a better idea of the value of each of the certifications, we have attached a screenshot of a wonderful repository set up by a cybersecurity professional, Paul Jerimy. Click on it for the original HTML page.
Generally, locally, only those certificates above the line where GSEC sits will be recognised by hiring managers. And because these certificates could be in a specialised area like CCNA, you would have a good standing in networking jobs, but not necessarily cybersecurity roles.
And do note that the CEH certification here refers to CEH Masters (theory and practical), not CEH theory.
Due to the complexity of how people view certificates locally, we still recommend you to take them as good reference points for your own learning but not for the assurance of a job. What would provide greater assurance of a job would be to showcase your abilities in the challenges and completing the cyber ranges.
Conclusion (and more about CFC)
Here at Centre for Cybersecurity, our goal is to help people gain cybersecurity awareness and prepare them for a career in cybersecurity.
Now that you have a clearer idea of what's free or affordable in the market, we would encourage you to try one of the cyber ranges that are for free to see how you feel about cybersecurity. And if you want to take it further, continue the course to get the cyber range's certification to gain confidence.
If you find yourself enjoying the process and wish to take it to the next level, feel free to contact us or sign up for our free information session to understand more about what we offer. With Centre for Cybersecurity, we add more structure & guidance to your cybersecurity learning journey, helping you shorten the process from zero to cybersecurity hero.
Additionally, Centre for Cybersecurity focuses on a train and place model where we work with our training partner, ThinkCyber, to help individuals get up to speed to start their career from zero in 6 months. Using a state-of-the-art simulator software and the most updated curriculum, we ensure that our students can perform on the job before setting them up with our placement partners into cybersecurity jobs.
We look forward to kickstarting your cybersecurity journey with you.