What is a MOOC?

A MOOC or Massive Open Online Course is a way to learn online in a host of subjects. The cost varies per course. Some are free. Others might be a few hundred dollars for a four-course program. There are also programs that charge a monthly fee of $39.Several require payment only if you want to have a printed certificate upon completion of the course. There are sites devoted to MOOCs such as edX. Universities, such as the University of Washington, Harvard, and the University of Maryland, create the programs. Companies, like Coursera, supply the delivery of the courses.

The following is a sampling of courses available to advance your education with no experience needed.

Introduction to Cyber Security Specialization

The goal of this four-course module is to help learners develop the habit of properly assessing and improving cyber risk posture in real computing, networking, and software systems. Authentic scenarios are included based on practical enterprise and infrastructure deployments to enhance the learning experience.

The course also includes an introduction to basic cyber security risk analysis, with an overview of how threat-asset matrices can be used to prioritize risk decisions. Threats, vulnerabilities, and attacks are examined and mapped in the context of system security engineering methodologies.

Essentials of Cyber Security

Offered through edX, this professional certificate program will introduce you to the field of cybersecurity. You’ll learn about its landscape, numerous sectors, and various roles, competencies and career pathways. You will understand the role of the Chief Information Security Office (CISO) as you study the policies, procedures, practices, and technologies put in place to mitigate organizational and systems vulnerabilities to cyber attack. You will learn to identify appropriate types of security controls to the actions of different and evolving threat actors.

Cyber Security for Business Specialization

In the security arena, there is a saying that there are two types of companies. The ones who have been breached and those who will be breached. Developing the skills to defend against attackers who want to compromise assets can be an arduous task. However, learning how attacks work and more importantly, how to defend against those attacks can be very fulfilling. This specialization introduces you to practical computer security by teaching you the fundamentals of how you use security in the business world. This course is for those who want to understand how to defend computer systems and assets from attackers and other threats.

In week 2, you’ll be able to understand and discuss the steps of penetration testing methodology. In week 3, you will be able to understand and apply what you have learned on your own systems to test whether your systems are secure or not. Week 4 is titled Proactive Computer Security Management. This module will cover some of the other issues and concerns for those interested in proactive security.

International Cyber Conflicts

Upon completion of the course, you will be able to apply the knowledge gained for analysis and management of international cyber incidents and conflicts including for activities such as the development of policy related to cybercrime and cyber warfare. Management of cyber incidents and conflicts requires an interdisciplinary perspective including an understanding of 1) characteristics of the cyber threats and conflicts themselves, 2) international efforts to reduce and improve cyber security, and 3) psychological and sociopolitical factors.

The course titled Cyberwarfare and International Law studies political theories and legal arrangements pertinent to cyber security. After this module, you will be able to describe principles of just war, basic aspects of International Humanitarian Law and treaties. In addition, you will learn about the main components of the Internet infrastructure. You will be able to identify the main issues in internet governance and compare different approaches to international internet policy.

Introduction to Applied Cryptography Specialization

Cryptography is an essential component of cybersecurity. The need to protect sensitive information and ensure the integrity of industrial control processes has placed a premium on cybersecurity skills in today’s information technology market. The courses (four) are designed to help learners objectively evaluate different cryptographic methods as they apply to cybersecurity.

One of the courses, titled Classical Cryptosystems and Core Concepts, introduces you to basic concepts and terminology related to cryptography and cryptanalysis. The course recommends that you have a basic knowledge of computer science and basic math skills such as algebra and probability.


For high school students, the free courses are an excellent way to learn about this field. The selection of introductory courses provides an exposure to the profession to see if this is a career, you want to pursue. For the working professional, there are courses to enhance your education and resume. All with the bonus feature of learning online from the comforts of home.