Only Cyber Security Learning Roadmap You Need In 2024

⏱️ First Published: May 06, 2023 | Last Updated: April 05, 2024

We last updated this article on 16th February to include the complete learning path and free resources to acquire each skill required to become a cybersecurity professional. A new TL;DR section has been added for students who want a quick overview of our guide.

Cybercrime costs are increasing rapidly and are expected to rise to $10.5 trillion by 2025, which urges the need for improved cybersecurity measures.

When companies start losing money, they tend to hire Cybersecurity professionals for security. This opens the door to more opportunities for Cybersecurity learners and allows them to bag high-paying jobs in the upcoming years. 

Cybersecurity is an approach for defending computers, servers, networks, mobile devices, electronic systems, and data from online threats or malicious cyber attacks. If you want to start a career in cybersecurity, this guide will help you understand its learning roadmap.


The roadmap covers 9 main steps to learn cybersecurity skills and start a career in the field:

  1. Learn the basics of cybersecurity – web attacks, network vulnerabilities, defence tools, and cybercrime laws (1-2 weeks)
  2. Learn networking fundamentals – computer networks, protocols, devices, topologies (3-4 weeks)
  3. Understand web development tools – .NET, C#, programming languages like Python/Java (learn at your own pace)
  4. Gain cloud infrastructure and security knowledge (3-6 weeks)
  5. Learn application security and network security concepts (3-4 weeks)
  6. Study digital/computer forensics (1-3 months)
  7. Learn ethical hacking techniques (3-6 months)
  8. Stay updated on cybersecurity news and trends
  9. Put knowledge into practice through projects, certifications like CompTIA A+, Security+, CISSP

What is a cyber security roadmap?

Cyber Security learning roadmap is a step-by-step approach to learning cyber security skills and gaining the required technical and non-technical knowledge and experience to land a promising job in the domain. 

The demand for cybersecurity experts for different roles has been on the rise in the last few days. You can check out the cybersecurity interest rate from the below graph. 

Presently, you can find more than 4,800 cybersecurity jobs role vacancies on LinkedIn across India. These are high-paying job opportunities that you can bag with proper knowledge of cybersecurity.

The cyber security learning roadmap

Step 1. Learn the basics of cybersecurity 

Private information is increasingly becoming vulnerable to data breaches, identity thefts, and other frauds. To become a cybersecurity expert and start your career in this domain, you must know the basics of cybersecurity. 

This will give you an idea of web attacks, network vulnerabilities, network defense tools (Firewalls and Packet Filters, VPN, Snort), web application tools, and knowledge of cybercrime, law and investigation. 

Time to learn: 1-2 weeks

How to learn: You can either take up a university course or read multiple resources to gather knowledge regarding cybersecurity. While there are free resources available for beginners, you can also buy paid versions for expert knowledge. 

You can do a free CompTIA A+ course with Professor Messer for a better understanding of cybersecurity basics.

Free resources to learn basic cybersecurity skills

1. Cyber security training for beginners by Edureka

Type: YouTube video

Price: Free

This cybersecurity course by Edureka is specially designed for beginners and is available free of cost. You can learn cybersecurity from scratch, including its frameworks, cryptography, types of computer security, cross-site scripting, network security, penetration testing, application security, ethical hacking, and more.

2. Learn cyber security tutorial: course for beginners

Type: Online course from Udemy 

Price: Free

This is a free Udemy cyber security course for beginners that teaches the security fundamentals required for an everyday online presence. You can understand the basic concepts of cybersecurity, know how to protect yourself from predators on the internet and take precautionary measures to stay safe online.

3. Introduction to Cyber Attacks by New York University

Type: Online course from Coursera

Price: Free

This free course comprises four modules that cover basic understanding of cybersecurity, its frameworks, cyber threats and security risk analysis. Learners can understand how basic cyber attacks (Unix kernel hacks, Internet worms, and Trojan horses), network attacks, and botnet attacks are constructed through real-life examples. 

Step 2. Know the fundamentals of networking 

The knowledge of computer networking is vital for cybersecurity as it gives you an idea of how networks are exploited and secured. Here you get a basic understanding of computer networks, networking standards, transmission media & TCP/IP, knowledge of connectivity devices, network topologies and architectures.

Time to learn: 3-4 weeks

How to learn: You can enrol for online classes to learn computer networking. However, students from a computer background who have a B.Tech, M.Tech, BCA, MCA, or BSC degree will have in-depth knowledge of networking, and that is sufficient for cybersecurity. 

You can also complete the CompTIA Network+ free course from Professor Messer that focuses mainly on networking knowledge and helps you know the in-depth workings of the internet. 

Free resources to learn the fundamentals of networking 

1. Cyber security networking basics

Type: Online course from W3schools

Pricing: Free

This is a part of W3schools cybersecurity course that provides you with a solid understanding of how computers communicate, network layers, network transport, firewalls, and web applications. 

2. Learn networking for cyber security

Type: YouTube video

Price: Free

This YouTube course is absolutely free and gives you a basic understanding of computer networks within 5 hours. You can learn networking at your own pace with Simplilearn. 

It comprises advanced hacking concepts, Network Packet Analysis, ethical hacking, network security, IDS firewalls and honeypots, cryptography OSI and TCP/IP model, and more. 

3. Introduction to network and network security

Type: Online course from Udemy 

Pricing: Free

This course teaches you the basics of network security that helps you architect your network for better security and prevention of local and remote attacks. Anyone who wants to gain a practical skill set in mitigating risks from malware, Trojans, trackers, hackers, cybercriminals, and online threats can enroll in the course.

4. Network security free course with certificate

Type: Online course from Great Learning 

Pricing: Free

This free network security course helps learners to familiarise themselves with fundamentals of advanced networking concepts. It covers the types of cyber security, network reference models, types of attacks, network vulnerabilities, tools to ensure network security, types of network security solutions and more. 

Step 3. Understand web development tools

Though you pattern design or build websites, knowledge of web development tools is essential for cyber security professionals. It helps you to identify cyber attacks, as hackers are now using multiple coding languages to infiltrate companies. 

This means you need to focus on concepts of .NET architecture and programming, knowledge of C#, and experience with a few programming languages (Python, Java, Ruby, and PHP). Additionally, you can master web penetration testing that helps you deal with vulnerability identification, exploitation and post-exploitation.

Time to learn: Learn at your own pace

How to learn: You can start with learning a programming language and then move on to other essential web development tools. These courses are often available for free online. However, there are some paid courses as well that offer you industry-accredited certification for better possibilities. 

Free resources to learn web development tools

1. .NET Course for beginners with certificate

Type: Online Course

Price: Free

This is a basic .NET framework course for beginners willing to start their career in cybersecurity. It covers the components of the .NET architecture, metadata and modules, C# fundamentals, and more. 

2. Learn .NET | Free tutorials, videos, courses

Type: Online learning

Price: Free

Microsoft offers cybersecurity experts a great opportunity to learn the .NET framework and C# for free. It offers  a range of learning materials, including free ebooks, videos and practical advice for self paced tutoring.

3. .Net Tutorial | .Net Framework Tutorial | Tutorial | Learn Dot Net

Type: YouTube Course

Price: Free

This course from Intellipat gives a clear knowledge of the .NET framework. Additionally, it covers the knowledge of OOPS, boxing and unboxing, static classes, method overloading, abstract classes, Inheritance, polymorphism, exception handling and more. 

You can also look for their cybersecurity course, which covers the basic knowledge of web development tools required for being a cybersecurity professional. 

Step 4: Gain knowledge of cloud infrastructure and services

Knowledge of cloud computing is essential for cyber security experts to prevent sensitive data and business-critical applications stored on the cloud. Having knowledge of cloud infrastructure security processes and solutions will allow you to create protection against threats to Cloud infrastructure.

Time to learn: 3-6 weeks

How to learn? You can start with knowing cloud computing and other similar configurations, cloud types and models, Cloud computing services and Cloud deployment techniques. Besides these, as a cyber security expert, you must understand the risks in Cloud computing, risk assessment and management techniques, data security and application security in the cloud and more. There are multiple resources available online for cloud security. 

You can enrol for Microsoft Security Operations Analyst or SC-200, a certification that ensures you are an expert in threat protection, incident response and cloud security operations.

Free resources to learn cloud infrastructure and services

1. Free cloud security training with certificate

Type: Online course

Price: Free

This is a free cloud security basic course from Simplilearn, and get a certificate on successful completion of the course. It covers cloud concepts architecture and design, cloud data security, cloud platform and infrastructure security, cloud application security, cloud security operations, and legal risk and compliance. You can learn the whole within 7 hours or less as these are self-paced video lessons that are accessible for up to 90 days. 

2. Cloud security architecture

Type: Online Course

Price: Free

This course from Udemy offers an introduction to the Cloud Security Architecture that allows you to create a security architecture for cloud solutions. The course offers knowledge of cloud computing, shared responsibility models, methodology and frameworks, risk and compliance, logical security architecture, layered defenses, and more. 

3. Cloud Security Fundamentals

Type: YouTube course

Price: Free

Intellipaat offers a free cloud security tutorial that covers the basic knowledge of cloud computing, deployment models, security concepts, legal framework and guidelines requirements, cloud data concepts, design and apply data security technology and strategies, and more.

Step 5: Understanding of application and network security

As a cybersecurity expert in 2024, you must have an in-depth knowledge of desktop security, handling programming bugs and malicious codes, ethical hacking, penetration testing operating system security, email security, web application security, mobile device security and more. 

Having knowledge of application security allows you to monitor and manage application  vulnerabilities and take a proactive approach to protect data from cyber-attacks. 

Similarly, with knowledge of network security, cyber security experts can protect computer networks or IT infrastructure from cyber attacks and online threats. 

Time to learn: 3-4 weeks

How to learn: You can enrol in free courses or watch self-paced video lessons available on YouTube for learning application security and network security. Some of these courses also offer you shareable certificates that help you bag cybersecurity and related high-paying jobs.

Anyone can choose ethical hacking as their specialisation and start with Udemy’s Learn Ethical Hacking from Scratch. This is a paid course that gives you real-life hacking examples, the use of hacking tools, hacking cloud servers, penetration testing, discovering and exploiting web application vulnerabilities to hack websites, and more. 

Otherwise, you can choose the CompTIA PenTest+ exam that allows you to practice penetration testing and vulnerability management. 

At Try Hack Me, you get 26 Hands-on lab sessions with a novice difficulty level that introduces you to standard penetration testing tools, identifying and exploiting network services, exploiting web applications through common vulnerabilities today, understanding Windows active directory and attacking Kerberos, and more. 

Free resources to learn application and network security

1. Network security free course with certificate

Type: Online course

Price: Free

Great Learning Academy offers this free network security course for beginners to gain essential skills for securing networks. It offers lifetime free access to learning materials that cover cyber security and its types, network vulnerability, types of network security attacks, tools to ensure network security and reference models.

2. Introduction to Application Security 

Type: Online course

Price: Free

“Introduction to Application Security” by Great Learning Academy free certification course that allows you to understand application security, core security principles, and flow of an attack. You can gain an in-depth understanding of the general practice of adding features or functionality to an application or software to prevent a range of online threats.

Step 6: Learn Digital/Computer forensics

Knowledge of digital forensics can help cybersecurity experts identify hidden fraud evidence within a system or network. It has helped experts to identify illegal pornography, bring killers to justice, track terrorists, and locate missing people. 

Cyber security course requires a proper understanding of digital forensics, digital evidence and first responder procedure, windows forensics, logs and event analysis and password cracking, wireless attacks, investigating web attacks and email attacks, mobile device forensics, and a few more relevant concepts.

Time to learn: 1-3 months

How to learn: You can find free and paid digital forensic courses online, which will help you have a deep understanding of the subject. Further, you can prepare for CompTIA CySA+ certification that prepares cyber professionals with incident detection, prevention and response via constant security monitoring. You can learn a few skills, including security operations, vulnerability management, incident response and management, reporting and communication. 

Free resources to learn digital/computer forensics

1. Digital Forensics Essentials (DFE)

Type: Online course

Price: Free

This course from Coursera is part of a cybersecurity attack and defense fundamentals specialization and is designed for beginners. It covers network forensic fundamentals, event correlation, network traffic investigation, computer forensics investigation, data acquisition concepts and methodology, and more. 

2. IBM cybersecurity analyst professional certificate

Type: Online course 

Price: Free

The IBM Cybersecurity Analyst Professional Certificate from Coursera is a beginner level certification course that helps you earn a degree within 4 months. It covers cybersecurity tools and cyber attacks, compliance framework and system administration, network security and database vulnerabilities, penetration testing, cyber threat intelligence, and more.

3. Introduction to Digital Forensics

Type: YouTube video

Price: Free

This YouTube video gives a simple explanation to digital forensics, tools used in digital forensic investigations and the process of forensics investigation, such that you can master the skills and apply them in real life. 

Step 7: Learn hacking techniques

Learning ethical hacking techniques is beneficial for cyber security experts as it improves the potential to understand a hacker’s mindset. It can help you identify and prioritise potential frauds and data breaches and have the ability to minimise their impact with limited resources. Additionally, you will have ideas of hidden security options that might result in security breaches. 

Such a course covers hacking techniques like footprinting & reconnaissance, trojans, session hijacking, web application hacking, SQL injection, IDS, Firewalls and Honeypots, and more.

Time to learn: 3-6 months

How to learn: There are multiple ways of learning ethical hacking. However, you need to first have a good grasp of Linux/Unix, two or three programming languages, networking concepts, explore vulnerabilities, and understand the dark web. You can then opt for a free ethical hacking course or learn from self-paced videos available on YouTube. 

Ethical hackers can also enrol for GIAC Penetration Tester Certification (GPEN). This validates your ability to conduct best practices for penetration testing, conduct exploits, engage in environmental reconnaissance, password attacks, domain escalation and persistence attacks, and more. 

Free resources to learn hacking techniques 

1. Free ethical hacking course with certificate

Type: Online course

Pricing: Free

This is a basic course on Ethical Hacking from Great Learning Academy for beginners. Here, you can learn about computer security threats, the goals of ethical hacking, and the tools required for ethical hackers, web application attacks, mobile application attacks, network attacks, Kali Linux, and more.

Cyber attacks and frauds have evolved, and experts need to stay updated with these trends. For example, in 2024, cyber security experts need to focus on ransomware, social engineering attacks, VPN vulnerabilities, Generative AI-driven attacks, and man-in-the-middle (MiTM) phishing attacks. 

To stay updated with trending cybersecurity news, you can do the following:

Listen to cybersecurity podcasts

Follow cybersecurity experts on multiple platforms

Subscribe to cybersecurity newsletter

Participate in multiple cybersecurity quizzes

There are multiple cybersecurity quiz platforms for experts to test their knowledge and skills. Some of these are listed below.

Step 9: Put your knowledge into action 

Once you are introduced to the basics of cybersecurity, you can start enrolling for multiple certifications like GIAC Penetration Tester Certification, CompTIA CySA+, CompTIA Pentest+, and more. They will help you implement your knowledge into practice and gain certificates that will get you high-paying jobs. 

You must keep practising and creating personal projects. These can be building a small Cybersecurity tool, a security blog, or working on open-source projects. They will enrich your portfolio and allow you to showcase your skills on professional networks like LinkedIn.

How do I become a cybersecurity?

If you think of becoming a cybersecurity expert, you must remember there is no shortcut. You must have proper education and experience to land a good cybersecurity job. 

Such experts must know about operating systems, networking, ethical hacking, programming languages, web development tools, network security, digital forensics, and more. 

You can upgrade your knowledge by reading expert newsletters and following posts from cybersecurity professionals. These will help you know of latest trends in the cybersecurity job- market. You can also learn new techniques and best practices from top free resources on the Internet.

One last thing to do is to enrol for various certification programs where you can prove your skills and expertise and win globally recognised certificates. These increase your credibility score and help you land jobs at top companies globally.

Cybersecurity career roadmap certifications

Once you learn the basics, you should enrol in cybersecurity training courses that offer practical learning experiences. It allows you to stand out from the extensive competition in the job market.

There are multiple cybersecurity certifications that you can consider depending on your area of expertise, level of experience, and career goals. Here are some of them.

1. CompTIA A+

Price: $359.00 (Basic Bundle) – $3999.00 (Live online training course)

Anyone who wants to launch their career in IT can enrol for CompTIA A+ certification. This ensures you have a basic understanding of the computer system, operating system, networking, security, and cloud computing.

Ideal for: Beginners

Skills you have:

  1. Identifying, using and connecting hardware components
  2. Knowledge of operating system
  3. Software troubleshooting
  4. Networking
  5. Identify and protect security vulnerabilities
  6. Knowledge of mobile devices
  7. Virtualisation and cloud computing
  8. Operational procedures

Jobs you can land

  1. Help desk associate
  2. Help desk technician
  3. IT specialist
  4. Business analyst
  5. Data support technician
  6. Technical support specialist

2. CompTIA Security+

Price: $565.00 (Basic Bundle) – $2499.00 (Live online training)

This is a global certification that cybersecurity experts can acquire that validates the basic skills required for performing core security functions. 

Ideal for: Beginners to Professionals

Skills you have:

  1. General security concepts
  2. Threats, vulnerabilities and mitigations
  3. Security architecture
  4. Security operations
  5. Security program management and oversight

Jobs you can land:

  1. Cloud penetration tester
  2. Network security operations
  3. Penetration tester
  4. Network security analyst
  5. Web App penetration tester
  6. Security architect

3. CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)

CISSP is considered a prestigious certification for cyber Security Professionals that validates their advanced skills and expertise in designing, implementing and managing a comprehensive security program.

Price: $749

Ideal for: Professionals with 5 years of work experience

Skills you need:

  1. Security and risk management
  2. Asset security
  3. Security architecture and engineering
  4. Communication and network security
  5. Identity and access management
  6. Security assessment and testing
  7. Security operations
  8. Software development security

Jobs you can land:

  1. Chief Information Security Officer
  2. Security director
  3. Security Architect
  4. Security manager
  5. Security consultant
  6. Security auditor

Final words

I hope this guide helps you understand the learning roadmap for becoming a cybersecurity specialist and find the right resources to start your learning with.

Have any suggestions or did I miss anything to mention? Please suggest your changes and feedback at [email protected] or send your messages on Linkedin.

Was this content helpful?