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What’s Changing in Fortinet’s NSE Certification Program

NSE Certification

What is Fortinet

Fortinet is a multinational cybersecurity company that provides various network security solutions and services. The company was founded in 2000 and is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, USA. Fortinet primarily focuses on developing and selling cybersecurity products, including firewalls, antivirus software, intrusion prevention systems (IPS), endpoint security solutions, and network security management tools. One of Fortinet’s NSE Certification flagship products is its FortiGate firewall, designed to protect networks and prevent unauthorized access and cyber threats.

Fortinet is well-known for its unified threat management (UTM) approach, which combines multiple security features into a single platform, making it easier for organizations to manage and secure their networks comprehensively. Furthermore, Fortinet provides services such as threat intelligence, technical support, and cybersecurity training to help its customers optimize the use of their security products and stay protected against evolving threats. As the cybersecurity landscape continues to grow, Fortinet strives to innovate and offer cutting-edge solutions to address new challenges and emerging threats.

Why become Fortinet Certified?

In the rapidly evolving world of cybersecurity, staying ahead of the curve is imperative. As cyber threats continue to advance in sophistication, the need for highly skilled and knowledgeable professionals has never been greater. Recognizing this dynamic landscape, Fortinet, a global leader in cybersecurity solutions, has announced a significant update to its renowned Network Security Expert (NSE) Certification Program. With these changes, Fortinet aims to empower cybersecurity professionals with the most current and relevant expertise to address the emerging challenges of the digital age.

Current Fortinet Cybersecurity Certification (Up to October 2023)

The Fortinet Network Security Expert (NSE) program is an eight-level training and certification program. They are grouped into the four levels below.

Current Fortinet Cybersecurity Certification
Current Fortinet Cybersecurity Certification

Details about these eight levels are in the table below.

Details about these eight levels
Details about these eight levels
Details about these eight levels
Details about these eight levels
Details about these eight levels

The expert level (NSE-8) is a written and practical exam. The practical exam is one day, two sessions (5 and 4 hours), and a proctored exam.
Most of these exams and courses will stay the same, but certificate designation and the program will change per the details below:

Why is Fortinet changing the NSE program and creating new certifications?

Fortinet is making significant changes to the NSE certification program to ensure its scalability, flexibility, and modularity. The new certification structure offers a more accessible and streamlined ramp-up for people wanting to start a cybersecurity career. It includes five (5) proficiency levels with multiple certifications per level and allows people to more easily identify the correct courses and exams according to their job needs and career paths. The program also includes a new digital badging system to identify better the specific skills and knowledge acquired in a complex industry that supports various roles across multiple cybersecurity solutions and industry verticals.
At a high level, the new program names and badges are in the diagram below:

new certifications
new certifications

NSE Certification Program Full Updates

Fortinet will continue awarding the current NSE certifications until October 1, 2023. All NSE certifications awarded until then will be honoured by Fortinet until they expire.  Starting on October 1, 2023, Fortinet will award the new certifications to individuals who meet the requirements. The associated certification page lets Professionals view what is required for each new certificate.

Effective October 1, 2023, the Fortinet NSE Certification program will undergo four significant updates.
1. The program’s restructuring will result in five proficiency levels, including 11 certifications.
2. Each proficiency level will have one or more certifications that align with professional career paths.
3. Certification will require cybersecurity professionals to pass a minimum number of exams or courses.
4. Exam badges will be introduced for each core and elective exam.

NSE Certification Program
NSE Certification Program

The new five levels

1.Fortinet Certified Expert (FCX): The most elite designation and what has been known as NSE 8 is evolving into Fortinet Certified Expert (FCX). The FCX certification identifies the highest proficiency in comprehensive and expert knowledge of network security design, configuration, and troubleshooting for complex networks.
2. Fortinet Certified Engineer (FCE): These certifications further enable learners to specialize in cybersecurity solutions and gain advanced skills that map to the following key areas: Zero Trust Access, Network Security, Public Cloud Security, Security Operations, and OT Security.  
3.Fortinet Certified Professional (FCP): The professional level of certification does a deep dive into role-based training with the ability to certify in the following three areas: Network Security, Public Cloud Security, and Security Operations.
4.Fortinet Certified Associate (FCA): This certification centers around cybersecurity technology focusing on network security and the technical aspects of the next-generation firewall.
5.Fortinet Certified Fundamentals (FCF): This certification will focus on the foundational knowledge and skills required to operate cybersecurity products and solutions. This curriculum also offers courses covering today’s threat landscape and cybersecurity fundamentals. 

The table below provides more details about these five levels.

Fortinet five levels
Fortinet five levels

More details about each group are in the coming sections.

Achieving Fortinet Certified Expert Certification

On October 1, 2023, when the updates to the Fortinet Certification program come into effect, those professionals with the following qualifications will automatically receive FCX in Cybersecurity certification.

Fortinet Certified Expert
Fortinet Certified Expert

A valid NSE 8 certification as of October 1: If a professional has a valid NSE 8 certification on October 1, 2023, that individual will automatically become a Fortinet Certified Expert in Cybersecurity. The FCX certification will maintain the same expiration date as the previous NSE 8 certification.
Any professional without an NSE 8 certification or with one that expires before October 1st will need to pass both NSE 8 written and NSE 8 practical exams to achieve an FCX in Cybersecurity certification.

Achieving Fortinet Certified Engineer Certification

To achieve an FCE certification, professionals must first choose a specialization. Once selected, professionals will need to pass the required exam(s).

Fortinet Certified Engineer
Fortinet Certified Engineer

On October 1, 2023, when the updates to the Fortinet Certification program come into effect, those professionals with the qualifications listed above will automatically receive an FCE certification under the following conditions:
⦁ You passed one or both exams on or after October 1, 2021.
⦁ FCE in Network Security only: you passed one exam no more than two years before the other.

Achieving Fortinet Certified Professional

The Fortinet Certified Professional (FCP) certifications (3) validate your ability to secure networks and applications by deploying, managing, and monitoring Fortinet cybersecurity products. Each certification’s curriculum covers the day-to-day tasks related to Fortinet devices.
There are three certifications within the FCP level. Each certificate will require a minimum number of core exams and/or elective exams. All FCP certifications are valid for two years from the date the last exam(s) was passed.
Ideal for: Cybersecurity administrators, system engineers, cybersecurity analysts, or those with NSE 4, 5, or 6 certifications.

Fortinet Certified Professional
Fortinet Certified Professional

On October 1, 2023, when the updates to the Fortinet Certification program come into effect, those professionals with the qualifications listed above will automatically receive an FCP certification under the following conditions:
⦁ You passed one or both exams on or after October 1, 2021.
⦁ You passed one exam no more than two years before the other exam.

Achieving Fortinet Certified Associate

The Fortinet Certified Associate (FCA) in Cybersecurity certification validates your ability to execute high-level operations on a FortiGate device. This curriculum covers the fundamentals of operating the most common FortiGate features.
There is one certification within the FCA level. The FCA certification is valid for two years after completing the FortiGate Operator course and passing the FortiGate Operator exam. The FortiGate Operator course and exam will be available on October 1, 2023. 

Fortinet Certified Associate
Fortinet Certified Associate

Ideal for: Cybersecurity operators, network security administrators of small and medium-sized networks, or those with an NSE 3 certification.
To achieve an FCA certification in Cybersecurity, professionals must complete the online FortiGate Operator course.

Achieving Fortinet Certified Fundamentals

The Fortinet Certified Fundamentals (FCF) in Cybersecurity certification validates that you have mastered the technical skills. And knowledge required for any entry-level job role in cybersecurity. This curriculum will offer courses covering today’s threat landscape and cybersecurity fundamentals. 
There is one certification within the FCF level. The FCF certification is valid for two years after completing all the required courses. Ideal for: Entry-level cybersecurity professionals, anyone pursuing a career in cybersecurity, or those with NSE 1 and 2 certifications. To achieve an FCF certification in Cybersecurity, professionals must complete the online core course . These courses are new and will be available on October 1, 2023.

Fortinet Certified Fundamentals
Fortinet Certified Fundamentals

Elective course selection depends on your job role:

1. Getting Started in Cybersecurity is ideal for non-technical positions requiring a high-level understanding of cybersecurity’s most critical technical fundamentals. Examples include security product salespeople and company CEOs.
2. Technical Introduction to Cybersecurity is ideal for individuals in technical roles requiring a more in-depth understanding of cybersecurity fundamentals. This course is also suitable for people pursuing a specialised role in cybersecurity.
3. Professionals will receive this certification on October 1, 2023, if they have valid NSE 1 and NSE 2 certifications by that date. The expiration date of the FCF certification will match the expiration date of the NSE 2 certification.

Are the NSE exams and courses going to change?

No immediate changes will happen to the content of our NSE courses and exams by the time the new certifications are launched (October 1st, 2023). However, incremental updates to systems and exams are ongoing as usual, depending on changes in the industry and cybersecurity roles.
After October 1, all new versions of our courses and exams will be progressively renamed to match the designations in their respective exam badges. More details in this link:
https://helpdesk.training.fortinet.com/support/solutions/articles/73000607784-are-the-nse-exams-and-courses-going-to-change

What will happen with my existing certifications on October 1, 2023?

Fortinet will continue awarding NSE 1 to 8 certifications until October 1, 2023. After this date, Fortinet will honour all NSE 1 to 8 certificates until their expiration date. You cannot recertify NSE 1 to 8 certificates after October 1, 2023.

Depending on the exam and date of completion, some exams taken before October 1, 2023, will count toward achieving the new certifications.

More details in this link https://helpdesk.training.fortinet.com/support/solutions/articles/73000607792-what-will-happen-with-my-existing-certifications-on-october-1-2023-

Transition to The New Fortinet Certification Program

Transitioning From NSE 1 and NSE 2 to FCF

If you have valid NSE 1 and NSE 2 certifications as of October 1, 2023, you will receive the FCF certification on that date. The expiration date of your FCF certification will match the latest expiration date of your NSE 1 and NSE 2 certifications.

Transitioning From NSE 3

The current NSE 3 certification content will be retired after October 1. Additionally, none of the upcoming NSE certifications will cover the same or similar range currently covered by the NSE 3 certification. For these reasons, there will not be any transition from the existing NSE 3 certification to the new credentials.

Transitioning From NSE 4, 5, 6, and 7 to the FCP and FCE Certifications That Require Two Proctored Exams

From October 1, 2021, and onward, the expiration date for these certifications is defined using the following process:
Identify the first time after October 1, 2021, when you completed one of the required exams. Check if you met any additional required exams no more than two years ago from the date of the exam you identified in Step 1.

If you meet both requirements, the process will award you the certification with the following considerations:
The issue date of the awarded certification is set to the second exam date. The expiration date of the awarded certificate is set to two years after the issue date.

After that, the process will continue using the same logic to identify if you have met the two requirements again by completing two different exams. If the function finds that you meet these requirements, the process will extend your certification’s expiration date by two years from the date you passed the second exam.

Additionally, according to the new recertification policies, if you pass any FCE exam in the same track, after you achieve an FCP certification, the process will extend the expiration date of your FCP certification by two years from the date you passed the FCE exam.

Likewise, suppose you achieved or renewed your NSE 8 certification after achieving an FCP or FCE certification. In that case, the process will update the expiration date of your FCP and FCE certifications to match the expiration date of your NSE 8 certification. The process will continue to check your exams until October 1, 2023.

More details are in the link below
https://helpdesk.training.fortinet.com/support/solutions/articles/73000615006-transitioning-from-nse-4-5-6-and-7-to-the-fcp-and-fce-certifications-that-require-two-proctored-ex

Transitioning From NSE 7 to FCE Certifications That Require One Proctored Exam

Four FCE certifications require you to pass one proctored exam: Public Cloud Security, Security Operations, Zero Trust Access, and OT Security. On October 1, 2023, you will automatically receive any of these certifications if you have completed the required exam on or after October 1, 2021. The issue date of the FCE certification will match the last date you passed the required FCE exam. Suppose you achieved or renewed your NSE 8 certification after you passed the required FCE exam. In that case, the expiration date of your FCE certification will be updated to match the expiration date of your NSE 8 certification. If you did not achieve or renew your NSE 8 certification after you passed the required exam, the expiration date of your FCE certification will be two years after you passed the required FCE exam.

Transitioning From NSE 8 to FCX

If you have a valid NSE 8 certification on October 1, 2023, you will automatically receive the FCX certification. The expiration date of your FCX certification will match the expiration date of your NSE 8 certification. You can visit our YouTube channel and learn more about certification. Here is the link: 591cert YouTube.

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