The world’s first intensive cyber boot camp has been launched with the aim of turning graduates into cyber experts within 8 weeks.

The course hopes to quickly deliver a new band of highly trained online defenders, who can take up the growing demand for cyber security roles which organisations are struggling to fill.

The SANS cyber academy has been created in response to the increasing demand from business and government for a way to equip recent graduates with the specific skills required to deal with today’s cyber threats. It compresses two years’ worth of training and experience into 8 weeks of intensive training. Those who complete the course come out armed with skills that will enabled them to walk straight into a cyber-security role and offer considerable and immediate influence.

Andrew Smith, EMEA managing director at SANS Institute says:

“The cyber skills gap is growing and the graduate pipeline will not meet demand in the short term. We need to quickly create new skilled professionals, not just hire from the limited existing pool.

“We have seen many superb long term cyber skills initiatives that seek to build the future talent pool, but until now there has been no way to address the immediate skills gap within weeks, not years.”

The academy will help people who are keen to enter a career in cyber security, acquire the skills to meet today’s cyber threats in a short space of time. They will also be able to immediate start working in a cyber-security team, something that usually takes 24 months.

The skills of the modern cyber defender

The short course will teach candidates how hackers operate and how to respond when things go wrong. They will be required to build a fully functioning business network – initially badly and then correctly – in order to understand how hackers get into a system.

Hands-on exercises will be a part of the training process, where candidates will be expected to hack a drone to find flaws in unfamiliar systems and deal with virus outbreaks which will be specifically written to test their skills.

They will also be required to make security policy recommendations to ‘management’ to prevent problems reoccurring. Candidates will sit GCIH and GSEC certifications, world-renowned standards of cyber-security expertise.

James Lyne, Lead Instructor and curriculum author, says:

“This course will teach tonnes of practical skills. It provides a safe environment to play with malicious code most people will never get their hands on. This is a radical new way of developing cyber skills and absolutely the best mechanism to accelerate the development of recent grads.”

The right people for the job

To ensure the right candidates are brought on board, advanced psychometric testing has been developed to identify behavioural and cognitive traits that indicate high probability of success in cyber-security. The tests include problem solving which suggest talents such as spotting suspicious code, as well as guessing how IT users are likely to behave, such as, how they might choose their passwords.

SANS academy experts will be working with businesses and universities to pick out talent and find candidates who show the most potential. Organisations wanting to bring into their business new cyber skills will be invited to sponsor students through the course. The course is also offering scholarships to returning military veterans and groups that are underrepresented in security.