By Michael Hill

Google has announced a new entry-level cybersecurity certificate to teach learners how to identify common risks, threats, and vulnerabilities, as well as the techniques to mitigate them. Designed and taught by Google’s cybersecurity experts, the Google Cybersecurity Certificate aims to prepare learners for entry-level jobs in cybersecurity in less than six months with no prior experience required, create greater opportunities for people around the world, and help fill the growing number of open cyber roles, the tech giant said.

It will offer hands-on experience with industry standards and tools including Python, Linux, and security information and event management (SIEM). The certificate will also help prepare learners for the CompTIA Security+ exam, the industry-leading certification for cybersecurity roles. Google said that its course will cost $150 to $300 on average, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

The certificate is the newest addition to Google Career Certificates, which provide job seekers with affordable paths to careers in data analytics, IT support, and business intelligence. More than 150,000 people have graduated from Google Career Certificate programs in the US, with 75% of graduates reporting a positive career impact such as a new job, higher pay, or a promotion within six months of completion, according to Google.

Diversity a key focus of Google’s cybersecurity certificate. A key focus area of Google’s new certificate program is addressing the lack of diversity in the cybersecurity sector, with women, Hispanic, and Black workers significantly underrepresented in the field. To help bridge the opportunity gap and bring more diverse talent to cybersecurity, Google is working alongside non-profits like Cyversity, Raices Cyber, and Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS), which will offer the Google Cybersecurity Certificate. They’ll also provide learners with support such as professional coaching, interview preparation, and job placement assistance, Google said.

Last month, the UK Cyber Security Council released a new ethnic minorities report, which highlighted the barriers people of color and those from ethnic minority backgrounds face when pursuing a career in cybersecurity. The report outlined the important role blind recruitment and inclusive recruitment panels can play in making recruitment processes more accessible for people of color, thus helping to address the lack of diversity impacting the sector. It also stated that a culture of diversity needs to be developed from within a company and points to the importance of empowering people to progress into senior leadership positions.

CISOs regard cybersecurity certificate as “proper qualification” for entry-level roles CISOs told the Wall Street Journal that they would regard Google’s cybersecurity certificate as a proper qualification for entry-level roles. Alex Schuchman, CISO at household goods manufacturer Colgate-Palmolive Co., said the short nature of the course offers significant advantages over typical four-year college degrees, adding that it can be adapted to keep up with changes in cybersecurity.

Fred Gibbins, CISO at American Express, said he “will almost certainly” hire graduates of the program, expecting 60% of new hires to be at the entry-level or people changing careers to get into cybersecurity.

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“You can’t just wish there were more cybersecurity people. You’ve got to create them through training,” said Phil Venables, CISO at Google Cloud.

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