“I don’t think it’s fair to charge the status quo $5,000 for a course that is going to be 60 percent obsolete in a year,” he said.
Cybrary has managed to carve out a devoted following online. The site pulls in a few million page-views each month and the average user peruses the site’s content for an average span of 24 minutes, not bad given the split-second attention span of today’s online audience.
The company’s eight-member team curates content that has been submitted for free. Cybrary makes money from 17 corporate sponsors that pay to promote their own educational content on the site, not unlike the promoted content that appears on social networks like Twitter.
All the content is free to users, but that could change soon: Founder Ryan Corey says the company will soon start charging users for formal cybersecurity certifications.
“When we launched in January we thought ‘let’s put all the cyber-security training classes on our website for free,’ ” he said. “But the vision kind of morphed a little bit when we realized that there is a highly engaged user base behind this thing.”
Corey declined to disclose revenue figures.
There’s a growing demand for trained cybersecurity professionals from companies and government agencies of all sorts, creating fertile ground for upstarts like Cybrary. They also face more established competition from traditional schools. George Mason University in Northern Virginia and University of Maryland, Baltimore County in Maryland have invested significant resources in solving the industry’s worker shortage. For-profit institutions like Bethesda-based SANS Institute offer paid cybersecurity certifications, and Kaplan recently spun off an education technology company called CyberVista, which offers online cybersecurity courses aimed at business executives, priced around $5,000.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the title of University of Maryland, Baltimore County. This post has been updated.