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How to Learn IAM: Best Identity Access Management Training

Ojash Yadav - December 08, 2020

Identity and access management, or IAM, is a very important skill but quite unknown to most. People often choose to study more popular domains like engineering or medicine and ignore unpopular options. IAM is one such job role that is often ignored, yet is remarkably rewarding.

But how can you learn identity access management? Let us break down the process, beginning from the very basics before getting into some of the best IAM courses available.

What Is Identity Access Management?

Identity and access management limits the level of access among network users and clearly defines the conditions to access sensitive data.

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IAM systems provide privileged access using multi-factor authorization and authentication to prevent data breaches. A system manager will give digital identities to limit users’ access to resources. This allows a level of control for an organization.

What Is Identity Access Management Used For?

Identity and access management solutions play a vital role in the security and safety of an organization. And this directly corresponds to productivity. Some of IAM’s key uses are:

  • Security. IAM ensures that vital data does not get into the wrong hands.
  • Productivity. It also boosts the overall productivity of a company by providing only the necessary and relevant data to users.
  • Ease of use. IAM provides ease of access and speeds up the authentication and authorization processes.
  • Reduces costs. This type of management also reduces costs and is generally a great investment.

Essential Skills Required to Learn Identity and Access Management

You need to master a few skills before you’re proficient in IAM. These are discussed below.

Lifestyle and Governance

Lifestyle means using technologies, policies, and processes to de-provision, provision, and modify several digital identities in an organization. Governance, meanwhile, refers to managing lifestyles to get your desired result.

Single Sign-on, Federation, and Multi-factor Authentication

Tools such as single sign-on, federation, and multi-factor authentication come in handy while reducing risk and simplifying day-to-day interactions. These tools help mitigate identity theft by using authorization and authentication.

Network Access Control

The network access control is like a control center. It limits the amount of data that can be accessed by a device. Most of the time, this is the most essential tool in an IAM system. It acts as both an automator and orchestrator.

Learning Identity Access Management

A woman working
Learning identity and access management can be really easy if you get yourself enrolled in an online course or training program.

Now that we know what IAM is, what it is used for, and what the essential skills required to learn IAM are, let’s dive into more detail about how to learn IAM.

How Long Does It Take to Learn Identity and Access Management?

While one can learn coding in a few weeks, learning IAM takes a tad bit longer. Mastering IAM may take months. You’ll need to learn technical aspects but also get into the right frame of mind. That takes time.

However, your journey can be expedited. That’s the priority of this article. You’ll need to first focus on some core concepts. But here you’ll find everything to give you a leg up on learning.

How to Learn Identity and Access Management: Step-by-Step

Choosing IAM courses at your college or university might be the surest way to learn. But if you’re not there yet, here are some helpful steps to keep in mind.

  1. Familiarize yourself with networking and authentications. Networking, cybersecurity, and authentication will form the pillars of IAM. Familiarizing yourself with these concepts will help speed up your learning process.
  2. Study material. Acquiring the right study material is quintessential for understanding any course. A detailed guide will be provided in this article recommending courses, books, and other resources that will be very useful.
  3. Take an identity and access management course. Taking an IAM course will speed things up in your journey. A detailed list of highly-rated courses will be provided below.
  4. Practice. Ample practice is always the key to success. Studying alone will not quite cut it here. You should spend two to three hours practicing per day on what you learned.
  5. Certificate. Completing a certification course provides you with proof of your knowledge. You can use this certificate to become a professional and make a lasting career. A list of noteworthy certifications will be provided below.

The Best Identity Access Management Courses and Training

Enrolling in courses and training programs is the best way to learn a skill. Here are some of the best options available to help you better understand IAM.

Best In-Person Identity Access Management Courses

Below are some of the best in-person IAM courses.

Columbia University

This is a beginner course for someone who wants to learn one-on-one from leading experts. It’s a two-day, eight-hour class and is highly recommended if you’d like a broad perspective on the topic.

University of South Carolina

This is a more advanced course for people who know the basics. It provides a one-on-one learning experience where individualized attention is given to students. That explains the price.

Online Identity Access Management Courses

There are numerous IAM courses on the internet to choose from. Some highly-rated courses are listed below.

AWS Identity Access Management Practical Course

  • Provider: Udemy
  • Length: 3.5 hours
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Cost: $15

This course teaches you practical implementation and uses real-world examples. You’ll learn a lot from this lesson’s demonstrations.

CompTia Security+ IAM Course

  • Provider: Udemy
  • Length: 4 hours
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Cost: $10

This is a certified course and so comes with some prestige upon completion. This introductory-level class is also a less-expensive option. So it’s a win-win.

Best Free Identity Access and Management Courses

There are a bunch of free IAM courses on the Internet. Below are some of the most highly rated.

Introduction to Cloud Identity

  • Provider: Coursera
  • Length: 12 hours
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Cost: Free

This is one of the best free courses on IAM, provided by Coursera. It explores cloud-based IAM systems and teaches methods to ensure secure cloud transactions. This is sure to get you a step closer to building and using identity access and management tools successfully.

Cybersecurity Awareness and Innovation

  • Provider: Coursera
  • Time: 8 hours
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Cost: Free

This is a general course which teaches the implementation of IAM in the cybersecurity sector. This course is really good for a beginner or someone wanting to gain a little perspective on the field.

Identity Access and Management Books

Want a little bedtime reading on data security? Below are some of the best books about IAM.

Solving Identity Management In Modern Application by Abhishek Hingnikar

This tome by Abhishek Hingnikar is a masterpiece. It’s simple language and large number of examples will certainly take your skills in IAM to the next level.

Identity Attack Vectors by Darren Rolls

Darren Rolls, a very well-known expert in this field, teaches you about IAM systems in as simplified terms as possible. It’s a great guide for anyone beginning their IAM journey.

Securing the Perimeter by Michael Schwartz

Securing the Perimeter: Deploying Identity and Access Management with Free Open Source Software by [Michael Schwartz, Maciej Machulak]

This book shows how you can use a free open-source platform to build an IAM system guaranteed to help your company or organization. It’s a must-read for enthusiasts and experts alike.

Identity Access Management Certifications

As mentioned before, certification is an integral part of your education. Your certificate shows that you actually mastered the course. Below are some of the best certifications available for IAM.

Certified Identity and Access Manager

This certificate is considered the gold standard for IAM. The course provides extensive training and advanced career opportunities in the cybersecurity field.

The certificate is received after passing the certified IAM exam. The test contains 100 questions. You need to answer at least 70 correct to pass.

Certified Information Systems Security Professional

This certificate enables you to become an ISCC member. It provides you with a wide array of tools, expertise, and peer-to-peer networking, and will certainly help advance your career.

Best Online Identity Access Management Resources

Lastly, below are some other resources to practice your skills and clear your doubts about IAM.

Harvard, with the largest database and resource bank in the world, has a great section dedicated to IAM.

Wikipedia has over 75 million articles. And quite a few are dedicated to IAM. You can find pages and pages on many topics in this field, so get to browsing.


Youtube has hours of video lectures on IAM. Whether you’re a beginner or more advanced, you’re sure to find a useful clip. The best part is that this resource is completely free and accessible throughout the world.

Should You Study Identity and Access Management?

Identity and access management is one of the fastest-growing career fields. That gives you a potentially large pool of opportunities. Jobs in IAM are forecasted to grow by 9 percent in the following decade.

Another good aspect to consider is that workers in IAM are paid between $116,935 to $130,00 per year on average.

So if you are looking to start a career in a growing field that can promise you a stable income, then IAM is the right choice for you.

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Ojash Yadav

About the author: Ojash is a writer at Career Karma, where he covers web development, tech careers, and trends in higher education. Ojash completed his degree in Digital Marketing from Digital Technology Institute and has taken on several online training programs where he learned web development and other vital tech skills. Ojash joined the Career Karma team in November 2020.

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