One theme came up in virtually every conversation at RSA 2019: The serious shortage of people who know how to perform cybersecurity duties. The intense focus on automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in many vendor solutions is an implicit attempt to address the nagging talent deficit in the industry. So, it was rather refreshing to meet a company that had actually taken the matter in hand and is actively working on solving the problem.
Cybrary is an outgrowth of a brick-and-mortar IT training facility. After years of teaching people in person, CEO Ralph Sita realized he could be tapping into a vastly larger market that comprises individuals who wanted to learn cyber security skills on their own time, online—and for free. This was the origin of Cybrary, an online cyber security career and training development platform.
Students can take a variety of free courses online at their own pace. “We thought, why not make it frictionless,” Sita explained. “Let’s help people take a shot at becoming a cybersecurity professional. Certainly, there are some incredible career opportunities for those who commit to developing the skills.”
Courses follow the NIST frameworks and the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA) approach to training. The curriculum includes tracks for CompTIA Security+, CISA, CISSP, Python for Security Professionals and more. Sita crowdsources the courses, but carefully vets instructors. He now has more than 100 instructors teaching with an emphasis on practical skills. Typical career paths for students include SOC analyst, network engineer and incident responder.
Students have the option to upgrade to the Cybrary Insider Pro program. On this paid track, students can work with experiential tools like PracticeLabs and Kaplan, though at a lower cost than paying for these tools individually. They also get access to a professional career mentor in cybersecurity.
It’s working. The frictionless, viral approach has led to a remarkable 2.2-million-member student pool. Over 60,000 new students sign up each month, largely through organic growth. The company delivered 21 million minutes of online cybersecurity learning last month. At this rate, this one training company could cure the industry’s entire predicted 1.8 million cyber security professional shortage.