5 Ways to decide whether to invest in an online IT security training program

5 Ways to decide whether to invest in an online IT security training program

Henry Dalziel | Certified Ethical Hacker, CISSP, CompTIA, CPTE, EC Council, Information Security Careers | January 5, 2013

The internet is filled with IT security training programs and course providers. With so many opportunities out there all offering different fees and promotions, it can be very difficult for a student to know what course provider to choose. In this post, we share our tips for deciding whether to invest in a training program.

Disclaimer: we offer CISSP, CEH, CompTIA Security+ and Mile2 CPTE Boot Camps as Computer Based Training. Like everyone else, we have to earn your business hence the reason for this post. You are free to make your choice of course when deciding which training center you wish to study with.

The Decision Making Dilemma
There are so many authorized training centers available and choosing the right one can be difficult. Because most security training centers sell their courses for very high fees making the right decision is very important. Our intention is to address these dilemmas in this post.

We all agree that studying for an IT certificate is an excellent decision to get you started on a career within security or, if you are already employed, a way to further boost your career and get that promotion or pay rise – but here are our five ways to evaluate an IT training program.

Who is the actual training center?
When it comes to providing education and training, especially when it is delivered via an online boot camp, it’s particularly important to consider the source. Is the course being offered by a well-known and respected expert in the security field, or is it being taught by someone you have never heard of? Do your research – or you could end up losing a lot of cash.

Are their course or training reviews?
Even a respected instructor can sometimes deliver a course that isn’t worth your time. A good idea is to see what others are saying. Admittedly many online reviews cannot be trusted, but you can post questions on forums, or just Google the instructors name – or visit their profile on LinkedIn. If you do see review is from reputable sources then that is a positive signal.

Do you have time to study for an IT Security Certification?
Although this post could relate to any course, we are focused on the IT information security certifications. With that being said, getting for example, the best CISSP, CEH or Security+ training in the world won’t provide any benefit if you don’t take advantage of it: remember the old saying – “you get what you put in“. This is especially true for security training (penetration testing) because there is a lot to learn – mostly achieved through trial and error and learning the tools of the trade. To get the most from your course, you need to make double sure that you actually have the time in your schedule. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that if you buy the course then magically learn and pass it. A lot of providers, (like us) offer flexible programs and learning schedules. Our preference for example is weekend study which we currently offer for CompTIA Security+ [Update! Sorry we are no longer doing this!]

Do you have the money?
All the courses we are referring to – i.e. those offered by ISC2, EC-Council, CompTIA and Mile2 are quite expensive (except for the Computer Based Training variations).

What other benefits come with the training?
Many course providers, authorized training centers and colleges offer gimmicks and perks such as free laptops or iPads etc. If the training organization feels it necessary to bribe you to do their course then maybe they are hiding something? That last point is open to debate – we for example prefer to focus and sell our security certifications on the merit and value of the qualification and our superb instructor led education and training package.

Why did you choose your course provider? Did you pass? What support did they give you? Would you recommend them? We’d love to get your feedback.

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