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Educating The Cyberwarriors Of The Future
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User Rank: Apprentice
7/6/2015 | 7:59:49 AM
Schools Can't Teach Novelty
I used to be acting chair of a computer networking department in an Atlanta college.  My school was just like every other.  We were all too busy teaching click-paths and memorization to teach troubleshooting and dealing with novelty.  The school had a BS in Info Sec, and it was certainly a lot better than nothing.  Some of the students went very far and are going farther.  They are hitting a wall at company HR departments, however.  Now that they have the diploma, they have to be able to get into something to learn how networks work.  Without the diploma, they are dropped from the search altogether, but even with the diploma, they are not getting useful experience, as part of the course of studies.

I would like to see courses that prepared students for some of the more basic security certs, and that were based on troubleshooting and logical real-world problem solving.  Children are being taught how to use computers at a very young age, but they are generally not being taught how to hack and counter-hack.  That would be a fun class, and promote better thinking.  This would lead to a more useful applicant pool.
User Rank: Apprentice
3/30/2015 | 11:44:51 PM
Combat Informatics
I'd been looking for a security practitioners tradecraft canon to at least provide me with some idea as to what to master but couldn't find one.  Operational security has a tendency to be very wide and deep so it's tough to nail down what aspects make up a quality operative or analyst.  Over the years I naturally began outlining and organizing my work and acquired training.  I recently started posting things to my homepage. I call it Combat Informatics.  It's a living web document.  
User Rank: Apprentice
3/30/2015 | 6:02:10 PM
Why Not Both?
You make good points that the modern education system has serious flaws, but advocating a switch to only specific skills has longer term dangers.

Some may be able to learn a specific system.  A few of those will be able to transfer skills between systems, but the lack of mastery of the underlying concepts will lead to many dangers in the future.

Which system should a student train on?  What happens when the company shifts its IPS or directory system?  Can someone who knows AD, but not core access control concepts, switch to the new system?

I would fully agree with an apprentice system, but then we would have to admit that some workers are not worth the money we are required to pay them.  That will not happen until something external (read politics) forces it to happen.

I am constantly telling students I teach that getting hands on skill is vital in today's world.  Is encouraging them to completely skip the degree really of value?  Not to the smart ones.  Nothing says they have to only have academic or hands on experience.

No one today has an excuse to not have both!
User Rank: Apprentice
3/30/2015 | 12:20:21 PM
Start it early, build success!
One thing that I think would benefit everyone would to incorporate Computer Science in the public school K-12.

As a society, we teach Physical Science, Social Science, and other sciences that, in my opinion, are less used/needed than Computer Science.

I am located near Augusta, GA and with the new US ARMY Cyber Brigade coming to Fort Gordon, the loacl school systems has added cyber classes to the High School curriculum. I would like to see this introduced much earlier to build a lifetime of understanding in Computer Science. Locally, I am involved with some programs that teach young kids, but this needs to be MANDATORY.


Joseph Dain, CISSP
User Rank: Author
3/30/2015 | 11:32:03 AM
Re: Apprentice to Master
I think no one strategy will scale to 200,000 open positions.  We have to re-engineer how we build the security professional pipeline in all of the ways I describe in the article.  

However, I think an Apprentice to Master approach will help most of us who are looking to bring in folks with great IT skills who now just need to learn how to apply that knowledge base to security operations.  
User Rank: Apprentice
3/30/2015 | 11:17:51 AM
Employers need to be willing to hire and train talent
First, I agree with adding this to all comp-sci related degrees. I also think that current employers need to bite the bullet and be willing to hire and train talent. There are systems administrators, network professionals, etc that would be willing to make the jump that lack the formal training. If the situation is so dire then hire and train, and stop expecting trained people to fall from the sky.
Marilyn Cohodas
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
3/26/2015 | 4:47:57 PM
Apprentice to Master
This seems to me like a great option but wondering can it scale to fill 200,000 jobs? How can  apprentices find  masters and vice versa? 
Jeff Stebelton
Jeff Stebelton,
User Rank: Strategist
3/25/2015 | 10:14:10 AM
Re: Informal and formal training opportunties
SANS and ISC2 don't belong in the same list as ISACA, ISSA and OWASP. Though ISSA and ISACA offer their own certifications, and OWASP does offer training, they are professional organizations. SANS and ISC2 are training orgnaizations. There's no membership in SANS except as an alumni of their training. 
User Rank: Author
3/24/2015 | 3:31:30 PM
Re: Informal and formal training opportunties
Thanks for the feedback and additional discussion.  Great thoughts.  I would say some of the certifications below you mention as not helpful I have found to provide pretty good quality training as long as it is complemented by an in house training program or apprentice/master relationship.  
User Rank: Strategist
3/24/2015 | 3:05:26 PM
Informal and formal training opportunties
Great article -- great way forward!!!

Personally, I have to balance new kinds of training from a variety of sources. Some academic, such as Coursera and American Public University's Intelligence Studies courses. Some "hands-on" such as the Offensive Security PenTesting with Kali Linux Online course and labs. Some for both on-going and referential treatments, such as Books24x7, SafariBooksOnline, Lynda, and TeamTreeHouse. Others geared towards question and answer forums, such as Security.StackExchange.com, ReverseEngineering.StackExchange.com ServerFault, NetworkEngineer.StackExchange.com, and StackOverflow -- or even Quora. I find that networking with professionals on LinkedIn is also higher order -- there are many groups to start up a conversation or read the daily news (although TechMeme and other sites tend to aggregate these better). My go-to resource for everything tech, for the past decade, has been my full-content searchable RSS feed collection.

There are things that I do not find useful or conducive to learning: Facebook, infosec conferences, colleges and universities (even the ones that cater to netsec, cyber security, forensics, et al), and professional organizations (e.g., SANS, ISACA, ISC2, ISSA, OWASP, etc). Not all of these are quite as unequal as I'd suggest. It requires a balance. For example, I did mention some online formal learning to kick off my previous paragraph (not many undergrad/grad programs measure up to my needs, however). I think some OWASP chapters (e.g., Austin, which also has Austin Hackers Anonymous -- an excellent model to build on a local chapter setting because every attendee must present their ideas to the community) and some certifications (e.g., CISSP and Security+ for resume filtering) can lead to meaningful conversations and good, local networking. Occasionally, I will attend a Toorcon, DerbyCon, or GrrCon. Sometimes I'll even proctor a CISSP exam. Do these activities pop off the top of my priority list? Never, but they can be useful.

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