Udacity Cybersecurity Nanodegree Review
These days, we can do everything online. From banking to social connections and even visits to the doctor’s office. This is great for the fast-paced world that we live in today, giving us a fast and convenient way to connect no matter where in the world we are. While there are millions of reasons why the world wide web is great, there is one huge reason why it’s not. Every time we add information online, we run the risk of becoming a victim of a data breach. Cybercriminals are becoming advanced in their tactics to acquire data, breaching into all kinds of systems where sensitive data is stored.
The Newest and Hottest Career in Tech
To create a better line of defense against today’s advanced bunch of cybercriminals, experts in cybersecurity are needed to create and deploy the next generation of security measures. Cybersecurity is one of the newest and hottest careers on the market, expected to grow exponentially with every passing year. To join the exciting world of web-based battles between white and black hat hackers, you’ll first need to start creating a good foundation of techniques and terms, one that you can find in the Introduction to Cybersecurity Nanodegree.
Udacity is an online academy that specializes in content that focuses on the growing and ever-evolving world of IT. It was started over a decade ago by two Stanford University professors, both of which had the goal of bringing affordable education to anyone with access to the web. The content was, and still is, constantly updated to keep up with the pace of adapting technology. Nowadays, the academy is creating content for all levels of learners, including nanodegrees which are created in collaboration with leading companies within the industry.
Nanodegrees are certification courses that take an in-depth look at one specific topic. They are short and to the point, generally taking only a few months to complete. Udacity offers nanodegrees from the introductory level to advanced over a number of topics all within the world of IT. Each nanodegree comes with a certificate upon completion plus, a few extras that set a nanodegree from Udacity apart from the rest.
- Your own technical mentor
- An in-depth curriculum
- Hands-on projects that mimic real industry issues
- The freedom to learn at your own pace
- Mock interviews and help to land your first gig
Another thing that sets Udacity apart from other online academies out there is the instructors. Udacity recruits industry experts that are employed with high-ranking companies in tech. Some of the instructors have gone on to found their own businesses, providing learners with a technical and business perspective that they can use to their advantage. Before we get to the course, let’s meet your instructors for the Introduction of Cybersecurity Nanodegree.
Ron has worked with cybersecurity for several years, currently working as a consultant and trainer. His experience as a lecturer shines through his lessons, keeping learners engaged and entertained. He has an amazing way of explaining things, always making sure to add some real-world applications to each of the topics within cybersecurity.
Jerry is an information security engineer. He has worked as a lead threat hunter and is currently part of a firewall team that combs applications and webpages for potential threats. His experience in active security threats is super useful to those taking the course, as he has several real examples that make understanding and application of techniques easy to follow.
Dr. Christine is a genius when it comes to both cybersecurity and business. She single-handedly created her own company, Cyber Pop-Up, which provides on-demand security for applications and web pages. Her lessons take a look at the industry from the business side, showing why security is so important to every industry that is part of the world wide web.
Sean has been in the business for more than 20 years. He has seen how fast the industry evolves, lecturing learners on the fast-paced changes that they are to expect when entering the field. He has led cybersecurity initiatives in several companies, helping them to better secure and prevent the risk of a data breach.
The Introduction to Cybersecurity Nanodegree is an introductory level course perfect for anyone looking to break into the exciting world of cybersecurity. You won’t need any prior experience with any of the techniques introduced in this section or even any of the terminology. Udacity does however recommend that learners at least have a good idea of how network connectivity works plus, understand a bit about operating systems including Window and Linux.
Module 1: Cybersecurity 101
Module one doesn’t waste any time getting you familiar with cybersecurity. You’ll learn about all of the most up-to-date practices and techniques industries are using today. The most important thing you’ll see in this course is how to analyze vulnerabilities and high-level risks, understanding the different attack vectors that could pose a threat to companies. You’ll see how different systems and computer networks work to maintain security, using your skills to help you complete your first project.
Project 1: Secure a Business Network
You’ll hope you paid good attention and absorbed all of the techniques for detecting vulnerabilities! In this project, you’ll analyze a Windows 10 client system to conduct a security assessment. You’ll see what it will take to fix certain issues and vulnerabilities, applying the skills and knowledge from section one.
Module 2: Securing Systems
In this section, things start to get a bit more interesting. Here, you’ll learn how to add technology into the mix, using it to help you find and diagnose problems. Using the information gathered during analysis, you’ll begin to see how to mitigate potential attacks, learning how to secure the system including data both at rest and in transit.
Project 2: Securing Financials
In this project, you’ll take on the role of a security analyst for Douglas Financial Inc. (DFI). You’ll start by analyzing their servers (Windows and Linux) to put out recommendations to help tighten security. You’ll see how to keep the company within the lines of compliances, encryptions, and network security issues. You’ll work with Firewalls as well, learning how to write rules to help keep the perimeter safe and secure.
Module 3: Threats, Vulnerabilities, and Incidents, Oh My!
This section is all about threats and the vulnerabilities that could allow them to happen. Learning about possible vulnerabilities, you’ll see how these vulnerabilities could allow for the execution of cyberattacks. Plus, you’ll see some of the top methods that hackers are using today, learning how vulnerabilities increase their probability. Perhaps the most important lesson you can take away from this section is the ability to spot the differences between an event and an incident, learning how to hunt for indicators of compromise.
Project 3: Cybersecurity Incident
Taking the skills and knowledge from module three, you’ll take a look at threats and potential vulnerabilities in a hospital network. By running scans and analyzing the results, you’ll see how the attack could have taken place, the type of attack that was executed, and see whether or not any information was stolen in the process. Using the information collected, you’ll create a response plan to make improvements to overall security to reduce the threat of attacks.
Module 4: Governance, Risk and Keeping up with Compliance
GRC in cybersecurity is an important layer of a system’s security. See how all of these works together with deployed security measures to create a super-secure system that is void of threats. Plus, you’ll see how compliance laws work with companies to help secure data, learning how to ensure that a company is within the compliance laws, and can avoid fines or penalties.
Final Project: Create a GRC
In your final project, you’ll take on the role of a data analyst for SwiftTech, working with them to secure their system as they try to keep up with rapid deployment demands. Using all of the tools and knowledge from the course, you’ll create the most effective plan to keep the system secure, testing for vulnerable areas, and demonstrating how to amp up security to steer clear of potential threats.
The course includes four sections with a project at the end of each module. Nanodegrees come with the freedom to learn at your own pace, something that comes with its ups and downs. To give learners an idea, Udacity estimates that, at 10 hours per week, the course will take four months to complete. This is a pretty fair estimate, especially as you work on the module and final projects. If you dedicate a few more hours a week and increase your pace a bit, you could be finished with the course a bit faster, saving yourself a bit of money in the long run.
What’s the Course Cost?
The course cost depends on the amount of time that you take to complete the course. Udacity offers two ways to pay, helping to cater to learners with all budgets.
The Udacity deal takes the estimated amount of time into account, bundling the months altogether and adding in a 15% discount. If you choose this way to pay, you’re looking at €1236 for 4 months of access.
Pay Per Month
If you pay as you go, you’re charged by the month. Each month that you have access to the course and the nanodegree perks, you’re charged €359.
The best deal for you depends on the amount of time that you think it will take you to complete the course. If you have more than 10 hours a week to dedicate, try and get through the course in two months and save a few bucks. If not, you can bundle and pay and enjoy a discount, taking your time, and making sure you grasp all of the details.
What Learner’s Say
The Introduction to Cybersecurity Nanodegree is fairly new and does not yet have a ton of feedback. Of those that have taken a look at the course, this is what they have to say:
“The project-learning-led course structure designed by industry experts will allow learners to not only learn the fundamentals of cybersecurity but also get to implement and test them in a real-world context. It allows for an enhanced learning experience than the other subpar or more expensive academic or theoretical programs that do not dwell upon advanced training.” – Nina C.
“Udacity’s Nanodegree program fills that gap by offering the right balance of structured content and practitioner-level skills for existing cybersecurity professionals. Our project-based learning approach prepares students for the real-world problems faced by organizations globally. Data breaches and security threats are a growing concern and with this program, you will not only learn the fundamentals of cybersecurity but also get to implement and test them in a real-world context.” – Alison R.
Cybersecurity is both new and hot when it comes to the job market. There is a high demand for those with expert skills that know how to keep systems and applications protected from potential threats. This is especially true with the pandemic that swept the world, increasing internet use immensely. Linked-In had 261,545 cybersecurity jobs during the most intense months of the pandemic this year in 2020. Now more than ever, there is a surge for cybersecurity teams and experts with experience in iron-clad security techniques.
Before you Take Off
Cybersecurity is an in-demand and hot career that is only expected to spike as the years pass. Taking the Introduction to Cybersecurity Nanodegree, you’ll have a good introduction to what the world entails and the kinds of techniques that are used by cybersecurity teams today. Plus, with Udacity’s career prep and placement, you could be well on your way of landing your first job in no time, breaking into your career, and starting your new career as a cybersecurity expert.