SANS Cyberskills Self-Assessment Addresses Skills Shortage

SANS Institute has launched the world’s first online cybersecurity aptitude assessment, designed to allow anyone in the UK to assess their cyber-capabilities and the quality of their existing skills.

SANS will use the information to address the skills shortage as well, to identify the UK’s next great cyber-defenders. The very best performers will be offered £30,000 scholarships to the prestigious SANS Cyber Academy for an eight week intensive boot camp offering comprehensive cybersecurity training.

The course will be led by SANS Instructor James Lyne, and will compress a typical two-year SANS cybersecurity training schedule into two months. At the end of the program, graduates will be GIAC-certified and equipped to take the next step in their cybersecurity career. Academy trainers will also help match graduates to suitable jobs in industry and government.

Last November, research cropped up which claimed that the UK desperately needs 200,000 IT security specialists to counter cyber-threats. This is not surprising given that security incidents are continuing to increase, with the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of detected breaches globally showing a steady increase of 66% year on year since 2009, according to PwC.

The online assessment consists of approximately 40 multiple-choice questions which must be completed within 45 minutes. Some questions test existing IT and security knowledge—such as networking concepts, security procedures, programming languages and hardware. Others pose math problems, comprehension tests and logic puzzles to assess the innate personality traits that highly successful cybersecurity personnel often display. This includes the ability to parse information and extrapolate important elements, and to pick up new technical concepts quickly.

Participants will receive a summary report showing their strengths and weaknesses in different areas of cybersecurity, and a benchmark ranking against others who have taken the assessment.

With the exception of identifying the top performers, all results will be confidential. The anonymized data will also help SANS to work with the UK government to identify skills gaps and inform cyber skills policy and funding.

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