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SANS Cyber Academy 2015

The following article has been written by Steve Jones, the Managing Director of The SANS Institute UK.

As SANS Cyber Academy 2015 has closed its doors, I’d like to share some highlights from the time we’ve spent with the Cyber Academy students. The retrospective seems apt as we recently celebrated the students’ graduation from the Academy. The photos and video of that special day will be available online soon – as will profiles of the Class of 2015, now available for employment.

Though our time in the Cardiff classroom has come to an end, employers looking to recruit Cyber Academy 2015 students can still contact me or email cyberacademy@sans.org.


Measuring Success

Cyber Academy was created to help solve the cyber security skills gap. Having created 30 deployable cyber security professionals, the 2015 programme has – by its own definition – been a real success.

A look at the students’ GIAC certification scores proves just how successful.

Students sat three GIAC examinations – GSEC, GCIH and GCFE. Across all of these examinations, the class average was around 90%. Indeed the students carded results that put them in the top 10% of GIAC’s global examination results.

The seeds of this success were sown during Cyber Academy 2015’s earliest days. The Academy began with a talent assessment phase – potential students were invited to take SANS’ unique CyberTalent Aptitude and Skills Assessment.

Around 25,000 people took the online assessment. From that group, 250 suitable candidates were selected for a round of face-to-face interviews with SANS Instructors and senior staff. And from there we made formal offers to around 30 prospective students.

Cyber Academy’s first cohort of students were very much the finest entrants – people whom we hand-picked because they showed the right aptitudes and skills needed for success in cyber security.

With the best students identified, SANS set about creating a focussed syllabus – one designed to impart hands-on skills needed by the cyber security industry, right now.

The syllabus was designed specifically to invest students with a blend of skills across: Defence, Offense, Forensics and Incident Response, Secure Software development and Management.

This focus on blended skills means that Cyber Academy Graduates can be deployed immediately into a wide range of mission critical IT security roles.

The success of the selection process and this training focus was borne out at our Employers’ Recruitment Fair, held in late October. It was an opportunity for prospective employers to meet students, to see their work and experience the Academy first hand.

The Fair was very successful, attracting some of the UK’s largest and most important employers and we’re now consulting with those organisations about their employment needs, helping them to select the right candidates for their vacancies.

The Future

Work on Cyber Academy 2016 has already begun. The selection process will soon be underway for the 2016 Academy, and we’ll follow 2015’s proven methodology.

If you are a business that requires a consultation relating to Cyber Crime then please call us on 02920 484550 and speak to one of our legal professionals that specialise in Cyber Security.