The cyber security industry is littered with entry-level certifications that are designed to prepare you for your first cyber security job. A newcomer that is receiving significant attention from those starting out and industry veterans alike is the Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate.
This article explores what all the hype is about and provides you with the knowledge you need to decide if this certificate is right for you. You will discover what the Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate is, if you should pursue it, and what content is covered. Finally, you will learn how to become Google Cybersecurity Professional Certified.
Let's get started exploring what is the Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate!
What is The Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate?
Let’s discuss the Google certifications and what Google’s new cyber security certificate focuses on.
What are Google Certifications?
Recently, Google has jumped into the online training market and began providing entry-level training in a number of domains. These training courses are 100% online and are designed to help people become job-ready for high-growth, high-demand careers within three to six months with no prior degree or experience required.
Google’s training courses are hosted on the popular online training platform Coursera. You simply sign up for a Coursera monthly subscription, enroll in the course, and complete any of Google’s certifications with no additional costs. Once complete, you will receive a Google professional certificate to share on LinkedIn and your CV.
Google currently covers six career fields with its certification programs:
- Cybersecurity: Learn to identify common risks, threats, vulnerabilities, and how to mitigate them.
- Data Analytics: Learn the skills of a junior data analyst.
- Digital Marketing & E-commerce: Discover how to use digital platforms to market and sell products and services.
- IT Support: Learn IT support tasks, such as computer assembly, networking, and customer service.
- Project Management: Discover the skills needed to succeed at an entry-level project management job.
- UX Design: Understand the basics of UX research, planning, interviewing, and synthesizing research results.
Let’s take an in-depth look at the Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate program.
Google has focused its Cybersecurity Professional Certificate on preparing you for a new career in cyber security through professional, on-demand training that you can complete in less than six months.
There is a strong emphasis on teaching the fundamentals of cyber security, like the CIA triad, managing risks, and protecting networks. This is combined with applied learning through practical projects you can showcase on your resume and assessments that test your hands-on skills.
Google says the Cybersecurity Professional Certificate will help you prepare for the CompTIA Security+ exam (an industry-leading cyber security certification that can qualify you for many entry-level roles). CompTIA and Google recommend combining the Cybersecurity Professional Certificate and CompTIA Security+ to obtain a dual credential to give you the best chance of breaking into the industry.
The Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate is aimed at beginners with no previous cyber security experience or qualifications. It is designed as a pathway into a cyber security job that teaches you everything you need to know to fulfill the requirements of an entry-level position.
Although you do not need a background in cyber security to complete this course, it would be beneficial to have some technical knowledge, such as basic computer skills, a general understanding of networking, and how to troubleshoot common IT issues. This fundamental knowledge will better prepare you to tackle many of the concepts taught in the course.
The Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate is intended for people looking to enter the cyber security industry but who lack the time or resources to complete a University degree. The course’s flexible scheduling allows you to learn asynchronously and 100% online at your own pace. It is a fraction of the cost of online degree programs and takes only six months to complete if you can dedicate seven hours a week to the course.
This flexible scheduling and low cost could make it ideal for anyone looking to make a career change or those trying to accelerate their entry into cyber security. This certification would fall within stage 3 of our career roadmap.
What Does the Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate Exam Cover?
The Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate is made up of eight courses that are taught through on-demand video lectures by cyber security experts. These courses use a mix of videos, assessments, and hands-on labs to teach you cyber security tools, platforms, and skills required to fulfill an entry-level role.
The eight courses taught are:
- Foundation of Cybersecurity: Teaches the core skills and knowledge required to become a cyber security analyst, such as cloud and network security, security hardening, security ethics, and how security attacks impact a business.
- Play It Safe: Manage Security Risks: Demonstrates how to identify threats, risks, and vulnerabilities that impact an organization and how to implement security frameworks and controls to manage them.
- Connect and Protect: Networks and Network Security: Describes how networks work, how they are attacked, and how to secure them.
- Tools of the Trade: Linux and SQL: Explains the relationship between operating systems, applications, and hardware. Then showcases how to use Linux commands, the Bash shell, and SQL to perform security-related tasks.
- Assets, Threats, and Vulnerabilities: Teaches you how to classify assets, analyze your attack surface to identify risks and vulnerabilities, and perform threat modeling.
- Sound the Alarm: Detection and Response: Details the incident response process, how Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) and Network Intrusion Detection Systems (NIDS) work, and how to use Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tools to investigate an incident.
- Automate Cybersecurity Tasks with Python: Explores how you can use the Python programming language to automate common cyber security tasks.
- Put It to Work: Prepare for Cybersecurity Jobs: Details how to land a cyber security role and prepare for job interviews.
Once you complete each course, you will be tasked with completing a quiz or assignment related to the course content. Quizzes are marked and require an 80% or above score to pass. Assignments are not marked and are predominantly projects you can showcase to prospective employers on your resume. To obtain the certificate, you must complete all lessons, quizzes, and assignments.
The questions for the quizzes are all multiple-choice and are based on content covered in the course material. If you fail to reach 80% or above on a quiz and don’t pass it, you can retake it every eight hours until you do manage to pass.
There are 170 hours of course lectures, quizzes, and practical assessments that are estimated to take you six months if you spend seven hours a week studying for the certification. You can decrease this time by devoting more time to the course, which will also decrease the cost of the course, as you are billed for monthly access to Coursera.
Currently, Coursera costs $59/month to access their online training library. If you were to complete the Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate within six months, this would cost you $354 in total. If you wanted to then combine this with the industry-recognized Security+, you would need to pay an additional $392.00 for an exam voucher. A grand total of $746.
The cost of earning the Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate is almost that of the CompTIA Security+ exam, a certification with significantly higher recognition. As discussed later, Security+ is also more well-rounded and complete in its knowledge domains.
How Do I Become Google Cybersecurity Professional Certified?
To become Google Cybersecurity Professional Certified, you must sign up for a Coursera subscription. You can choose from a monthly subscription for $59/month that you can cancel at any time or an annual subscription for $399/year. Once you have signed up, you can enroll in the Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate program and start completing the course material.
There is no formal exam attached to the Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate. Instead, each of the eight courses that make up the certificate finishes with a multiple-choice quiz that you must complete with a score of 80% to pass and move on to the next course. Alongside these quizzes are practical assessments and hands-on labs that are also graded but do not affect your passing score.
All training is provided online and on demand. This includes the quizzes that assess your comprehension of the course material. Once you complete all the online course content, you will be rewarded with a digital certificate that you can showcase on your LinkedIn profile and include on your CV. There is no need to renew this certificate or pay an annual fee to obtain it like other certifications.
Upon completing the Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate, you will also be provided exclusive access to Google’s career resources. This includes resume reviews with personalized feedback, interactive tools to prepare you for your job interview, and career support to help you connect with 150+ US hiring organizations.
Should I Pursue the Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate?
The Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate aims to prepare you for a career in cyber security by providing professional-level training, the opportunity to showcase your proficiency in portfolio-ready projects, and earning an employer-recognized certificate.
Google claims the Cybersecurity Professional Certificate can qualify you for many in-demand cyber security jobs, such as:
- Cyber security analyst
- Security analyst
- Security Operations Center (SOC) analyst
That said, we could not find a single job listing that requires the Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate. This is compared to the thousands listing industry-recognized Security+ that qualify you for jobs that pay an average of $83k annually.
Similar Google professional certification holders like the Google Analytics Certification and Google Apps Certified Deployment Specialist earn an average of $62k to $76k per year, according to PayScale.
This may be because Google’s professional certificate program is a relatively new entry to the accreditation market, and employers have yet to recognize its value. However, it may also be due to the certificate failing to teach fundamental security knowledge (like the Windows operating system, which is almost entirely ignored) and the exam format of open-book quizzes failing to test if you actually know the content sufficiently.
Either way, the Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate does not provide you with unique knowledge that you can use to enter the job market and is unlikely to help you bypass the HR filter to get you a job interview. There are currently far better certifications for landing your first cyber security role.
Key Benefits of the Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate:
Weaknesses of the Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate:
The Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate is an entry-level qualification that aims to prepare you for a cyber security job within six months with no degree or experience required. It comprises 170 hours of professional instruction and practice-based assessments that teach fundamental cyber security skills, tools, and platforms across eight courses.
The certificate is a newer entry to the cyber security accreditation market, and despite it receiving heavy praise for its interactive and project-focused teaching, it lacks the industry recognition of other certifications.
This could be due to the certificate failing to teach fundamental security knowledge, the exam not being proctored, a failure to accurately test if you actually know the content taught, or a lack of time in the market. Either way, there are far better certifications for landing your first cyber security role, such as Security+.
The overlap in content between Google’s certification and Security+ and similar costs, combined with its lack of demand in the job market, make it difficult to justify pursuing either the Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate in lieu of or in combination with Security+.
At StationX, we cover all the material taught in the Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate and more for a lower annual price and will take you from complete beginner to industry professional with our accelerator program. If you want to learn these skills, try one of the courses below.