Learning cybersecurity with Thinkful and Nexford University

Mark Talmage-Rostron
February 28, 2023 · 6 min read

Cybersecurity and data analytics are two massively growing industries right now and as such, employment opportunities are growing with them. That said, employers are struggling to find employees with the necessary skills to get the job done. This is why Thinkful and Nexford University have partnered to offer programs to learners looking to launch a career in these burgeoning industries.

The need for cybersecurity professionals has been growing rapidly, even faster than companies can hire – and that demand is expected to continue. The number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs worldwide grew 350% between 2013 and 2021, from 1 million to 3.5 million, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. The industry researcher also predicts that in five years, the same number of jobs will still be open.

To highlight the skill sets required to break into this industry, or build a career in them, Zahra Safavian, Chief Product Officer at Nexford University, and Janani Krishnan Product Marketing Manager at Thinkful delivered a thought provoking webinar on the learning programs on offer.

Zahra kicked off by saying that the programs, like all at Nexford University, are competency-based, and geared toward taking a look at what is needed in the job market and making sure that learners are trained to think, but mostly to do. This is why she says that Nexford is very excited to be partnering with Thinkful on the very recently released cybersecurity program, a program that has been designed to provide learners the opportunity to find employment regardless of where on the globe they are located because as we all know now, most jobs can be done remotely.

Cybersecurity and Data Analytics Programs

Where there is a will there is a way, so to bring these certificate programs to life and make sure that learners come out of the cybersecurity and data analytics programs with the skills required to hit the ground running from day one in a job, Thinkful designed an innovative online education platform which brings together skills and career training to all learners that enroll. And these learners will be in good hands, because Thinkful have more than a decade of experience supporting 1000s of students across various programs in learning job ready skills and advancing their careers in in demand areas such as cybersecurity and data analytics.

Of what the cybersecurity program would look like for enrolled learners, Janani Krishnan says, “At Thinkful we look to train aspiring IT security professionals with high demand skills to help the companies that they will ultimately work for to navigate cyber risks. That’s the good news. The even better news is that those learners who enroll don't have to have any pre-experience in cybersecurity. Through this program, they will learn cybersecurity skills and graduate with the skills needed to start work as an entry level cybersecurity professional.

These will all be in the same way that you would respond to threats in the real world as a cybersecurity analyst.

The data analytics market is expected to reach $132.9 billion by 2026, compared to $23 billion in 2019 so it stand to reason that the demand for qualified professionals is on the rise.

Of the Thinkful data analytics program Janini went on to say, “The data analytics program looks to train aspiring analytics professionals in the core skills of data analysis, data visualization and data storytelling through a lot of different tools like PowerPoint, Excel, SQL, Tableau and Python, to drive successful business outcomes and advance their professional growth.”

The learning model for both programs is based on the thought process of working them around people’s busy schedules as many would be doing the training on top of having to contend with a full-time job. Thus, there are no scheduled class times. Learners get to learn where and when they want, but along the way they will have full support, but only during office hours.

Thinkful cybersecurity program

Of course with any detailed program there can often be a lot to take in, hence the cybersecurity program is broken down into three courses namely IT Security Professional, Security Analyst, and Security Specialist, each with a slightly different focus. After learners have completed the orientation, they will move through all of the assignments, and then when successfully passed, they will then be granted access to the next course and so on till all requirements for all three courses have been met before graduating.

Kristen Kravet, Academic Success Manager at Thinkful went on to say, “When learners open the dashboard, they will see a list of all of the modules in that course, which are groups of assignments based on the theme. And if they actually click into the modules, they'll see all the individual lessons attached to the actual assignments that they'll be submitting.”

She went on to say that each lesson has a couple of pieces of important information. The first is an estimate of how much time it will likely take to complete that lesson, which is a really helpful tool when you're making your study schedule, so learners can essentially map out their schedule based on how much time they have in a given session or on a given day to allow them to ascertain which assignments they can tackle at that time. There are also due dates to aim for, but learners can work ahead should they choose to.

Lab assessments are important because it gives learners a hands-on experience of what it looks like to apply the concepts they're learning in their lessons to a real virtual environment. It’s important to note that each of the three courses in the program culminate in a capstone assignment, where learners are asked to apply the concepts they've learned so far to an actual case study.

A member of the Thinkful staff grades the work. They'll either provide a pass, or if there are things that learners need to brush up on, or fix, they'll give detailed feedback, which is also useful in the learning process throughout the cybersecurity program.

Hearing is believing

So far there have been quite a few learners that are doing their cybersecurity through Thinkful, one is none other than recent Nexford US graduate, Tolulope Babatunde, who says, “I started the program with no understanding of cybersecurity. I was actually a novice, but from the way the classes are structured, I soon got the hang of it. Everything is in layman terms, and there's always an explanatory video related to real life scenarios to help you along. I am a full time mom, so I loved the fact that I can complete the program at my own pace.”

Following hot on the heels of Tolulope, another learner on the Thinkful cybersecurity program, Akintunde Akinyemi, made mention that what he is really enjoying is the ease of access. He says he can log in at any time, anywhere and get the assessment tasks done. Like Tolulope, Akintunde also loves it that if he gets stuck, there are self-help videos that help him understand what is being taught in each of the lessons.

Looking to learn about cybersecurity, take our course on the fundamentals of cybersecurity here.

About the author
Mark Talmage-Rostron
Mark Talmage-Rostron

Mark is a college graduate with Honours in Copywriting. He is the Content Marketing Manager at Nexford, creating engaging, thought-provoking, and action-oriented content.

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