One of the best online cybersecurity courses available today comes from NexGenT, the self-styled 'military-grade' training academy founded and run by two US Air Force veterans. It offers beginner and advanced IT courses in cybersecurity and networking, with a focus on practical knowledge and training.
NexGenT’s flexible course schedule, innovative payment solution, and dedication to finding employment for graduates helps make this academy a good investment for anybody looking to break into the world of cybersecurity. Our NexGenT evaluation covers courses and pricing, plus a comparison to other popular platforms.
NexGenT offers three courses: Basic Training, Network Engineering and Cyber Security Specialization. This is a somewhat more limited offering than that of competitors, but fits well with its focus on practical knowledge and marketable skills.
Courses are taught by industry-leading experts and US Air Force veterans, with 40+ years combined experience training thousands of engineers, both military and civilian.
Step One: Basic Training
The first course, Basic Training, serves as both an introduction to networking principles and cybersecurity and an entry point for the remaining two courses. Individuals who take the Basic Training course can skip the admissions process for either of the other two tracks, gaining immediate access to the advanced portions. Basic Training includes both technical and real-world approaches to networking and security issues.
The program is self-paced, so you can start at any time and take as long or as little time as needed—although the pricing is monthly, so there’s a financial incentive to finish quickly. However, you have plenty of support while making your way through: virtual mentorship is available from network experts, and instructors are available to answer questions and provide guidance.
At the end of the course, you have the opportunity to take tests for industry-recognized certificates, including the CCNA and Network+ certification.
Step Two: Specialization
The remaining two courses, Full Stack Network Engineering and Cyber Security Specialization, can be accessed either by completing Basic Training or a series of four tests followed by an interview.
The Full Stack Network Engineering course runs for 440 hours and sets you up with everything you need to start a career in network engineering. Students will learn the ins and outs of network engineering, achieve a better understanding of the IT industry and how to develop a career path, and acquire a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) 200-301 certification and Full-Stack Network Professional (FNSP) certification from NexGenT.
Cyber Security Specialization training runs for 400 hours and guides students through networking for cybersecurity, advanced training that includes a cyber range for practical experience, and “Hacker Week” to get hands-on training for dealing with a wide range of cyberattacks. The final exam takes place on the cyber range, where students must defend realistic architectures against cyber attacks. Completion results in a NexGenT Cyber Security Associate (NCSA) certification.
Both Full Stack Network Engineering and Cyber Security Specialization courses include classroom, laboratory, and practical instruction. Because of NexGenT’s unique pricing structure, discussed below, the company is highly motivated to produce hirable candidates. This means that practical knowledge is front and center. All students also have access to a dedicated career service team for helping find the right job.
Basic Training costs $497 per month and can be started and finished any time. As a result, students who are able to complete the courses more quickly will be able to pay less. Individuals with experience in networking and cybersecurity, however, needn’t take this basic IT course to access Full Stack Network Engineering and Cyber Security Specialization. A series of four tests—Cognitive, Personality, Typing, and Computer Literacy—followed by an interview with the admissions board, also grants access.
Both Full Stack Network Engineering and Cyber Security Specialization can be accessed with either an up-front full tuition payment of $12,500, or through an income share agreement (ISA). Many for whom up-front tuition is prohibitive will find the ISA to be a worthwhile proposition.
ISA works as follows: students pay nothing initially. Once they are employed and making at least $40,000 per year, they pay 10% of their gross income until either 48 payments or $25,000 has been reached, whichever comes first. The ISA payment period is seven years. After this period, any outstanding debt is forgiven, even if you haven’t paid back a single cent. The ISA is interest free, and if your degree earns you less than $40,000 per year, you don’t pay for it.
NexGenT: Support and customer care
Students have plenty of resources to help them out while making their way through the courses. You’ll get a comprehensive workbook with material, homework, labs, and guides; live training and coaching every week; and virtual mentor sessions from professionals working at companies like Cisco and Google.
Current and prospective students can also check out the website’s FAQ and knowledge base for technical help and more information. NexGenT can be reached by phone or email during business hours (PST).
NexGenT is definitely a great option for serious learners, and the ISA payment plan is appealing. However, those looking to simply learn more or prepare for certification independently can find many free online solutions.
Cybrary is an online library for cybersecurity and IT materials, with free access to nearly 500 courses. Students can filter courses by level and vendor (Cisco or Microsoft, for example). This is a great resource for learning the ins and outs of specific areas and is sure to be a reference even if you pay for a degree elsewhere.
Of course, there’s no shortage of self-guided paid courses out there, either. A number of learning platforms offer specializations in cybersecurity, with a wide variety of sub-disciplines. Udemy, for example, offers IT courses in cybersecurity law and data science as well as its Cyber Security Crash Course for Beginners. Coursera also offers a number of online cybersecurity courses, with a cybersecurity specialization created by the University of Maryland.
However, self-guided programs and platforms won’t appeal to all learners, especially when it comes to cybersecurity. NexGenT offers real-world experience, one-on-one mentorship, practical knowledge garnered from labs and cyber ranges, and career counseling, all of which can mean the difference between success and failure.
NexGenT is one of the most promising cybersecurity training academies we’ve come across. The ISA payment plan means that it's heavily invested in producing hirable candidates, as its own finances largely depend on the success—and high salary—of graduates.
The courses are limited but highly focused, and anybody looking for a classroom-to-career approach will appreciate this. If you’re serious about getting a job in cybersecurity, this may be the path for you.
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Christian is a freelance writer and content project manager with 6+ years' experience writing and leading teams in finance and technology for some of the world's largest online publishers, including TechRadar and Tom's Guide.