Exploring Fortinet's Network Security Expert (NSE) Certs

Long a force in the firewall/gateway/boundary device marketplace, Fortinet is becoming a player across the entire spectrum of cybersecurity tools, technologies and platforms.


The company was established in 2000. Since 2014, they've been operating a certification program which, in their own words, "is open to Fortinet customers, partners, employees and to student enrolled in the Fortinet Network Security Academy (FNSA)."


Fortinet certification has a familiar pyramid scheme.

Source: Fortinet training and courses home page


The program, as depicted in the infographic included above is a pretty typical pyramid that marches through levels 1-8. Here's how the company describes those levels, along with corresponding course requirements:


Fortinet training involves numerous courses.


Here's how delivery and testing work for this program:


For Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 testing is integrated into the self-paced learning modules hosted at Fortinet's NSE Institute. For Levels 4-8, testing comes from Pearson VUE, at their Fortinet Testing page.

Level 4 requires the two exams shown in the table above.

Level 5 requires the four exams shown likewise.

For Level 6, candidates must choose 4 of the 8 exams shown there as well.

Level 7 requires the three exams shown.

Level 8 involves a pair of capstone exams, one written, and one practical (hands-on),in much the same vein as the Cisco CCIE. The practical exam runs for 2 days, which makes it one of the longest cert exams I've ever run across. I'm also guessing it costs at least $2,000 (I have an inquiry into Fortinet about this).


From what I can see online, all of the Fortinet VUE exams (including the NSE8 written exam) cost $400 each. That sets the upper bound for the combination training/testing offerings for NSE1 through 3 as well.


All in all, this looks like a serious, well-thought-out, and well-established cybersecurity certification program. Certainly, for those who work with or around Fortinet tools and platforms, it's worth digging into. If this means you, be sure to check it out!


Would you like more insight into the history of hacking? Check out Calvin's other articles about historical hackery:
About the Author

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran who's worked as a software developer, technical marketer, consultant, author, and researcher. Author of many books and articles, Ed also writes on certification topics for Tech Target, ComputerWorld and Win10.Guru. Check out his website at www.edtittel.com, where he also blogs daily on Windows 10 and 11 topics.