Business & Technology

Increasing Access to Fortinet Cybersecurity Training’s Top Level of Certification

By Rob Rashotte | January 30, 2023

While there’s progress in closing the cybersecurity skills gap, there’s still plenty of work to be done to ensure that organizations have the talent they need to secure their critical assets. According to the (ISC)2 2022 Cyber Workforce Report, there is a global cybersecurity workforce gap of 3.4 million people. The same report found that despite adding more than 464,000 workers in the past year, the cybersecurity workforce gap has grown more than twice as much as the workforce with a 26.2% year-over-year increase.

To help address this growing talent shortage by helping security professionals upskill to become more advanced experts in the field, Fortinet is expanding access to its Network Security Expert (NSE) level 8 certification, Fortinet’s top level of certification, by making it entirely available through online proctored exams.

Most Decision Makers See Benefits in Training and Upskilling Opportunities

The industry will inevitably need to attract new, untapped talent pools to fill this void. However, an essential aspect of closing the skills gap needs to be discussed more: providing current IT and security professionals with adequate upskilling opportunities.

Executives around the globe see the benefits of offering training opportunities for their IT and security teams. According to the Fortinet 2022 Cybersecurity Skills Gap report, 95% of leaders believe technology-focused certifications positively impact their role and their team. Not surprisingly, 81% of these same leaders prefer to hire people who hold IT and security certifications, and 91% said they’d be willing to pay employees to pursue training and certifications.

What Is the Fortinet Network Security Expert Certification Program?

At Fortinet, we have a longstanding commitment to helping close the cybersecurity skills gap, and one way we’re upholding that promise is through the Fortinet Training Institute’s NSE Certification program. Developed as a multi-level training and certifications program, it’s designed to provide interested technical professionals with an independent validation of their cybersecurity skills, knowledge, and experience. The program includes a wide range of self-paced and instructor-led courses and practical, experiential exercises that allow participants to demonstrate their mastery of complex network security concepts.

Here’s a quick look at the topics covered in each level of the program:

  • The first levels of the program focus on cybersecurity awareness and are suitable for anyone interested in learning cybersecurity basics. 
  • Mid levels dive deeper into technical aspects and provide Cybersecurity Technical Certification
  • Our more advanced level identifies advanced skills in deploying, administering, and troubleshooting security solutions. 
  • Our top level offers Cybersecurity Expert Certification designation that identifies comprehensive and expert knowledge of network security design, configuration, and troubleshooting for complex networks.

To date, the Fortinet Training Institute has issued more than 1 million NSE certifications to those looking to enhance their cybersecurity skills. 

The Highest Level of the NSE Certification Program Will Be Available Entirely Online

Participants who want to achieve the highest level of Fortinet certification must pass both a written and practical exam. Until now, only the written exam was available online. The hands-on practical exam needed to be completed at one of Fortinet’s eight training locations worldwide. Participants would be required to take the written exam first, and after passing, they were invited to schedule their in-person practical exam.

Fortinet is making the practical exam more accessible for IT and security professionals everywhere. Both the written and practical portions of the exam will be available in an online, proctored format, shortening the time it takes to reach the highest level of NSE certification.

Having both exams offered in a proctored, online format eliminates the need for travel to a specific location at a specific time of year to become certified. Removing this hurdle for those who want to achieve the Fortinet Expert-level certification opens up the opportunity to all individuals. Through ProctorU, Fortinet will offer proctored online practical exams for the highest level of Fortinet certification, replacing the current in-person practical sessions. Participants can schedule the exam on an as-needed basis in their preferred time zone with one of the many proctors.

The practical exam will now be given in one day, over nine hours, with a one-hour break. In comparison to the two-day span, the exam used to take in its in-person format. Results for the online, proctored practical exam will be provided in 15 business days.

The Fortinet top-level NSE written exam will continue to be offered through Pearson Vue along with all other Fortinet certification exams. Registration is open now for those who wish to take the proctored online practice exam. To review the program requirements and register, visit the NSE level 8 registration page.

Why Pursue NSE Level 8 Certification

Reaching NSE level 8 requires time and ambition. But there are many tangible benefits of earning this highest level of certification.

Here’s what Luke Titmus, NSE level 8 and Director of Engineering Services at Switchshop Limited in Hitchin, England, says about his achievement: “Every single level in the Fortinet NSE Certification program is essential, and it all culminates up to level 8, which is the highest level. It gave me a great leg up in my career and has allowed me to take on more advanced projects as I became qualified and experienced in those areas over time. It has been exciting to take on more new and challenging projects. The certification and training also allowed me to work with more prestigious customers and has earned me a leadership role within [the company I work for].”

Start Your NSE Certification Journey

Those who take NSE certifications learn industry skills—including a breadth of security, cloud, and networking knowledge—that will help them advance their careers and give them the tools to better secure the organizations they’re defending today.  

Learn more about the advantages of the Fortinet NSE Certification program and start your journey today.