FREE Self-Paced Training and Exam Voucher from (ISC)²!

Last Spring HS4CC members were given the opportunity to participate in the pilot program for the Entry-Level Cybersecurity certification by (ISC)². The certification has been renamed to: Certified in Cybersecurity. (ISC)², is the world’s leading cybersecurity professional organization known for the CISSP®. You don’t need experience for the Certified in Cybersecurity certification — just the passion and drive to enter a field that opens limitless opportunities around the globe. Free access to the self-paced training course for this certification is available through their free Candidate membership level now offered by (ISC)².

Membership Levels

(ISC)² offers three different membership levels: Candidate, Associate, or Certified Professional. Candidates have not passed an (ISC)²exam and have been granted free access to Official (ISC)² Online Self-Paced Training, a free registration to take the Certified in Cybersecurity℠ certification exam, and a free 1 year membership. Candidates are not required to complete any Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits. Candidates also have access to a variety of discounts that might be useful. I recommend signing up for a Credly account first, see my notes below on this! Here are a few of the benefits listed (also available with higher levels of certification):

Associates are (ISC)² members who have passed an exam, such as the new Certified in Cybersecurity certification, completed the Endorsement Application process, and paid $50/year, but they have not passed the employment Endorsement requirements to become a Certified Professional. Associates of (ISC)² are on annual cycles and are required to earn and submit 15 Group A CPE credits each year.

An (ISC)² Certified Professional has passed an exam, completed the employment Endorsement requirements, and paid $125/year. Certified (ISC)² members are required to earn and submit Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits during their three-year certification cycle. (ISC)² has a suggested annual minimum to help balance maintaining your certification. Examples of CPE options and details about the types and quantity of CPE’s required by each certification can be found on their website.

Free Self-Paced Course for the CC Exam

3 family members took the pilot exam in May, and at that time I bought the corresponding $99 course from (ISC)². We noted when we sat for the pilot exam that not everything was covered in the original course. It was good, but we agreed it covered 80%+ — enough to potentially pass, or maybe not. There were some questions about physical security at doors and other things that none of us remembered in the course. 2/3 of my family passed the pilot exam. I did a quick scan of the new course and it is very different from the $99 one we bought back in May. Hopefully, it covers all of the materials for the exam. The original course was 5 or 6 videos about 45mins-1.5hrs long, with a British gentleman who spoke along with slides. There were a few breaks in the lectures for several multiple-choice questions throughout the videos.

The new course content is broken into much smaller chunks, it says there are questions to answer, but I haven’t reached them yet (I’m jumping around in the course also, just to see differences). There is an ongoing saga with a coffee shop, and career discussions. I have just started the course, but they indicate they will follow the family and employees throughout the course. It could be a better fit for most high schoolers. My family member that didn’t pass on the first try was given several high-level areas to work on as part of the exam feedback and they plan to take the full course and retake the exam free again this Fall.

Certified in Cybersecurity Exam and Proctoring

All (ISC)² certifications require in-person proctoring through Pearson. Students request their exam voucher through the (ISC)² website and then schedule their exams via Pearson – information is provided with “purchase” of the free voucher. It was no ordinary proctoring experience, as (ISC)² has selected a very strict proctoring protocol through Pearson. Here is what examinees can expect:

  • Check in early! Read through and sign off on several pages of information for the exam, including an NDA about exam content, etc.
  • Retinal scan and fingerprint scan
  • You’ll be asked to raise your hand and swear that you’ve been truthful in all information provided, identity, etc and that you will follow the rules of the testing center and (ISC)²
  • Lock your belongings, including phone in a locker.
  • You will perform a pat down of yourself in front of a proctor (they do not touch you, but you run your hands over your clothing to show there is nothing hidden)
  • Pull any pockets inside out
  • No jewelry, watches, etc – they need to be locked up in the locker.
  • I had to show there was nothing in my ears or hair. No ponytail holders or hair clips allowed (yes, I had to remove my plastic hair clip for the entire exam)
  • I was asked to put my glasses on a turntable and the proctor turned the turntable numerous times, looking at the lenses and frame from every imaginable angle.
  • No water, kleenex, etc allowed in the room. They did allow me up to 3 tissues from THEIR box to put in my pocket, bc of my allergies. No pens/pencils allowed
  • Hand sanitizer is used prior to a second fingerprint scan to enter the actual testing room
  • The Proctor escorts each person individually, unlocks the station, provides a whiteboard and marker to optionally use.
  • The test was timed and we all had plenty of time to take it. As I recall, we couldn’t mark and return to a question. I’m pretty sure we knew that coming in – so I think it was discussed in the course/voucher information.
  • If we needed to leave the proctoring area, we had to raise a hand and wait for someone to lock our terminal and escort us out. Upon return, we had to go through all of the pre-test security measures again: pat down, glasses check, pockets turned out, fingerprint scan, ears and hair check, etc. For obvious reasons, we opted to stay in the room the entire time, no break. There were nurses taking exams that were as much as 5 hours long that were going in and out of the room.
  • Tables/terminals were at desks with dividers between them and headphones were available.
  • We were each instructed to retrieve our personal items and leave immediately after taking the test. This presented a few issues, since 3 of us took the exam together and we hadn’t planned to be separated. Keys were in 1 locker, other items in another one’s locker – and we wasted some time after the exam trying to reconvene at the vehicle.
  • Proctors were firm with their instructions, but overall personable.

It was a proctoring experience like no other – so hopefully, these details will help prepare your students for what’s to come. Nobody ever touched us, yet it was an intensely personal experience.

Usefulness of the Certification

As this is a brand new certification, employers probably won’t know about it or know to ask for it yet, but it might look nice on a young person’s resume! They should be ready to answer questions about it in an interview, since it’s new, and traditionally (ISC)² certifications require on the job experience to become a Certified Professional. I’m elated they changed the name to one with less of a parochial connotation. I do think that will help its reception by employers long term. There are MANY certifications out there, but not all of them have value. I do think long term, this one might have a better value than some of the off-brand exams we often see from educational services companies. (ISC)² is a well known and respected certification and training company in the industry, which I think will help bolster the value of the certification. It is still an entry-level certification, along the same vein as CompTia’s ITF+/A+; it’s never going to garner the same respect as a full certification like CISSP, but given the price and availability, my family opted to spend our valuable time to pursue it.

Credly, Badges and ACE Credit

Credly Acclaim is digital credential management software that verifies and tracks digital credentials for individuals. A few years ago ACE turned over the transcript management portion of their entity to Credly Acclaim. ACE is the accrediting agency that evaluates things like ACE classes (Sophia, Study.com, StraighterLine, etc), CLEP/AP, industry training and certifications, and military training for potential college credit. Some colleges will grant college credit for professional certifications and other ACE accredited resources, and the transcripts for these things are often provided via Credly Acclaim. Credly Acclaim Badges for digital credentials can be linked to a person’s LinkedIn account, as well. As noted above, I encourage students to create a Credly account, if they haven’t already, and make sure their name matches EXACTLY with their (ISC)² account — which should ALWAYS match EXACTLY with the ID being used to test, or Pearson/(ISC)² might refuse to allow testing. This makes it easier to accept new badges with Credly. I received my Candidate badge as soon as I signed up, and I expect my Certified in Cybersecurity exam badge will be added as soon as that process is complete. The other (ISC)² certifications have been ACE accredited, so I’m hopeful that (ISC)² is pursuing ACE accreditation for this new CC certification, as well.

2 thoughts on “FREE Self-Paced Training and Exam Voucher from (ISC)²!

    1. Proctoring for this is scheduled through Pearson VUE. On-site only. Nothing from home.

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