Cyber-Security

Best Cyber Security Courses for Finance & FinTech (2020)

In FinTech by Gaurav SharmaUpdated On:

Cyber security is one of the fastest growing niches within FinTech. In a 2019 survey, CEOs ranked it as their #1 concern, which is why a lot resources are being poured into the field. I have written quite extensively on cyber security topics and you can find some of those blogs linked in my profile.

Cyber-Security

However, the demand for cyber security professionals is far outpacing the supply. This has led to a healthy growth in salaries across the broad. If you are interested in a career in cyber security, you can read this article to get an understanding of the career prospects in the field.

Cyber security professionals require a specialised skillset and a unique understanding of the rapidly evolving risks that their clients or employers face. In order to bridge this gap, universities have released a number of very high quality cyber security courses and I have analysed and ranked the best ones for you here.


1. Professional Certificate in Essentials of Cybersecurity from the University of Washington

Why take this course?

  1. This is the best introductory course to cyber security for those who have yet to start their journey. Not only does it provide a comprehensive look at the industry, it also introduces you to all the players like the threat actors, regulators, international agencies and their motivations and roles. There is also a section devoted to all the tools of the trade that are employed in cybersecurity.
  2. A strategic bird’s eye view from the position of the Chief Information Security Officer is also something that I found to be unique to this course. Having a strategic understanding of issues is something that can really add value and make an employee stand apart from others. If you can figure out what’s going on in your boss’ head, then that’s just more power to you!
  3. The best part about this course is that it lets you explore 30+ career paths in cyber security and helps you pick one based on your interest and skills. That can give you quite a head start and save you form running towards a dead-end in the first few years of your career.

Highlights:

  • Time to Complete: Should take about 35-45 hours for most people.
  • Available fully online via edX – a non-profit formed by Harvard and MIT.
  • This course is all about helping you figure out where to start in cyber security and how.

Check Course Details


2. MicroMasters® Program in Cybersecurity from the Rochester Institute of Technology

Why take this course?

  1. This is a very comprehensive course that goes well beyond the fundamentals. In fact, it’s closer to a graduate level course in terms of the sheer amount of content covered. You learn everything form computer forensics and risk management to intrusion detection, network security and contingency planning.
  2. There is A 2-month capstone project That you have to complete at the end. Which means that you’ll get really close to some on-the-ground type experience. Such projects are great because they give you the opportunity to steer the conversation towards something that you know well during the interview process.
  3. Its an instructor-led course with assignments and exams that have specific due dates. The fact that you really have to earn this certificate only adds to its appeal to potential employers.

Highlights:

  • Time to Complete: 10 months
  • Available fully online via edX – a non-profit formed by Harvard and MIT.
  • A complete cybersecurity course that is the closest you’ll get to on-the-ground work experience

Check Course Details


3. Introduction to Cyber Security Specialization from the New York University Tandon School of Engineering

Why take this course?

  1. The first part of the course is focused on cyber-attacks and defense strategies. Despite having a computer engineering background, there is a lot of new stuff that I saw here. The game has been constantly changing and there are new threats and new methods that you need to learn to blunt those attacks.
  2. I also liked the next section which is focused on real-time threats. This is a major focus of banks and financial institutions as they have to process millions of transactions each minute and real-time protection is all but necessary now.
  3. The last section of the course is all about enterprise level security strategies. As a cybersecurity analyst, you will spend a lot of time on devising strategies and plans and this section really helps with that.

Highlights:

  • Time to Complete: Should take around 80 hours for most people.
  • Available fully online via Coursera. It’s also being offered by an Engineering School which means you can expect it to be as technical as necessary.
  • A complete cybersecurity course that is the closest you’ll get to on-the-ground work experience

Check Course Details

4. IT Fundamentals for Cyber Security Specialization from IBM

Why take this course?

  1. This course has been created by IBM Engineers, architects and SOC (Security Operation Center) analysts. This is the real deal. Completing it also makes you elgigible for recing a digital badge from IBM. Additional personal branding opportunities are always nice.
  2. The course covers most technical aspects that you will need on the job like cyber security tools, cyber attacks, roles, processes, compliance, network security, database security, among others.
  3. This is an applied learning project meaning you will learn about challenges and threats that IBM professionals have faced in the real world.

Highlights:

  • Time to Complete: Should take around 80 hours for most people.
  • Available fully online via Coursera. It’s also being offered by an Engineering School which means you can expect it to be as technical as necessary.
  • A complete cybersecurity course that is the closest you’ll get to on-the-ground work experience

Check Course Details


5. Cyber Security Specialization from the University of Maryland

Why take this course?

  1. This is slightly more advanced course than the others on this list and it gets right to the point with a focus on usable security, cryptography and hardware security.
  2. Having an entire section on hardware security is something I was happy to see. I have covered things like Hardware Security Modules extensively over my career and its good to see hardware get the attention it deserves when it comes to cyber security.
  3. This is also a course created by cybersecurity academics and computer engineers so the technical aspects are well taken care of.

Highlights:

  • Time to Complete: Should take around 100-120 hours for most people.
  • Available fully online via Coursera.

 Check Course Details


6. Cyber Security for Business Specialization form the University of Colorado

Why take this course?

  1. This is a good introductory course which I would recommend for management so that they can speak the same language as their cybersecurity personnel.
  2. This course is geared towards businesses to help them better understand the threats that they face (like data breaches), where the attacks might come from and how to better protect themselves.
  3. There is also a section that helps business to prepare against the most prevalent cyber threats and I believe that has great practical value for any leaner.

Highlights:

  • Time to Complete: Should take around 150-180 hours for most people.
  • Available fully online via Coursera.
  • Well suited for small and medium business owners/ management.

 Check Course Details


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About the Author

Gaurav Sharma

Gaurav started his career as a Corporate and Investment Banking intern at Citi in 2009 and eventually ended up as an Associate Director at Standard Chartered Bank’s Wholesale Banking division a few years later. By 2016, Gaurav was consulting FinTech start-ups in London with product development in the institutional banking space. He also advises mid-market Private Equity/ Asset Management firms and Banks in North America and Europe with investments in the financial services and FinTech sector. Gaurav writes on topics ranging from European Union banking regulations and FinTech to Blockchain startups and the inevitable rise of our AI overlords! He has an Engineering degree in Computer Science and an MBA with a double major in Finance and Marketing. He is also a Certified Financial Risk Manager.