EC-Council Launches the Essentials Series, a Free Entry-Level Cybersecurity Program

EC-Council’s Academic Division has launched the Essentials Series, making critical cybersecurity education across network defense, ethical hacking, and digital forensics accessible for everyone.

Tampa, FL, October 29 – EC-Council, the owners and creators of the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) program and several other highly regarded cybersecurity certifications, today unveiled a new pivotal strategy to prepare entry-level cybersecurity professionals. The EC-Council Academia Division will now offer the Essentials Series, a free education series offering instructor-led and hybrid learning education courses for students and professionals alike. This series is developed strategically across network defense, ethical hacking, and digital forensics by the same developers who created the widely recognized U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)-approved Certified Network Defender (CND), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI) certifications.

Cybersecurity Entry-Level Roles

In the past, EC-Council has participated in efforts by the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) and the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) to support the expansion of Bright Outlook job roles as they continue to evolve for information security engineers, digital forensics analysts, penetration testers, and blockchain engineers. As the number of cybersecurity job roles increases across each occupation, one key element that remains constant is the need for skilled, entry-level cybersecurity technicians in the U.S. EC-Council plans to contribute to this need, one skilled cyber professional at a time.

An Academic Approach

Although the Essentials Series track covers skills that many professionals could use a refresher on, the practical focus for this series is on high school programs and community colleges. With the skill gaps identified between high school to college/university, and college/university programs to careers, there is undoubtedly room for improvement to ensure students at both levels are job-ready and can start working while they are in school.

Wesley Alvarez, Director of Academics within EC-Council’s Tampa, FL office says, “The number of cybersecurity education programs and resources in today’s environment can be overwhelming to educators and students. It is hard to sort through what models and approaches are highly effective and align clearly to industry workforce roles and skills. Our new approach with the Essentials Series teaches students self-paced essential cybersecurity topics in a nonthreatening environment that can be used independently or in the classroom. Optional upgrades will enhance their learning experience with cyber range technologies, including challenges and flag submissions, cyber competitions, and industry certifications. We want students on a career-based education track as they begin high school to learn the basics, but to also gain an understanding of their passion and skills while they are establishing confidence.”

Above all, most cyber programs that have been around for more than a few years have a supporting club or competition team. These teams commonly include skilled students who have a great sense of pride in winning or placing in a cyber competition. The challenges in CyberQ for the Essentials Series are positioned to identify skill and talent in association with workforce roles and cataloged Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs), a copyrighted list by Mitre, operating as DHS’s Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC). Students will work through lab challenges and flag submissions that evolve beyond the Essentials Series concepts, level, and job roles, not limiting a skill level for the purpose of identifying increased talents. Students will have a profile of their skills to present after each course and competition.

Our Very First MOOC Series

With education models adapting across the world and online learning environments more prevalent, the EC-Council Essentials Series will offer eCourseware and video lectures with lab tutorials as a function of each of the three certification programs:

Network Defense Essentials (NDE) – Derived from Certified Network Defender (CND)
Ethical Hacking Essentials (EHE) – Derived from Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
Digital Forensics Essentials (DFE) – Derived from Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI)

Each course will offer free resources to EC-Council partners, with eCourseware available via ePub (or the ability to upgrade to Vital Source with a small fee) and video lectures and lab tutorials available via Vimeo. Optional add-ons, including cyber range access and exam vouchers, are available to enhance the course experience and provide certifications at small fees of $35 (labs/course) and $20 (voucher/certification). The essential skills within the three-course track will prepare students and professionals for a new certification, the Certified Cybersecurity Technician (CCT), soon to be released by EC-Council. CCT will introduce a practical certification exam hosted in EC-Council’s newest cyber range technology platform, CyberQ.

The Essentials Series content has been designed with supporting instructor slides and a rigorous syllabus for EC-Council Academia Partners. Resources for students, including eCourseware, lesson plans, questions, and videos, will be uploaded into a SCORM cartridge for educators to include in their supporting LMS. Asynchronous learning will also be available via EC-Council iClass and Code Red platforms for a seamless learning experience, as well as for other leading MOOC platforms in the industry, soon to be announced.

Certification Alignment

The Essentials Series will bridge the gap between end-user security programs (e.g., Certified Secure Computer User) and highly recognized EC-Council certifications, such as U.S. DoD-accredited Certified Network Defender (CND), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI). For years, EC-Council has recommended CND to individuals interested in initially taking Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) to gain a thorough understanding of tactical cyber defense prior to hacking and exploiting. NDE, EHE, and DFE offer a steady pathway to CND and ultimately CEH or CHFI, depending on an individual’s career aspirations.

The Essentials Series will prepare individuals for entry-level roles in the information security and cybersecurity industries. The primary goal remains to provide baseline-level knowledge across essential skills with a pathway to continuously develop and benchmark knowledge, skills, and abilities.

About EC-Council

EC-Council’s sole purpose is to build and refine the cybersecurity profession globally. At the core of its mission is helping organizations, educators, governments, and individuals address global workforce problems by developing and curating world-class cybersecurity education programs and certifications while also providing cybersecurity services to some of the largest businesses around the world. EC-Council is trusted by seven of the Fortune 10, 47 of the Fortune 100, the Department of Defense, global intelligence communities, NATO, and more than 2,000 of the best universities, colleges, and training companies. Their programs have made their way to 140 countries and have set the bar in cybersecurity education.

Learn more at

Media Contact:
[email protected]

Share this Article
You may also like
Recent Articles

Train with EC-Council