State of NJ, Cyber Aces and Brookdale Partner on Cyber Security Course and Competition


The State of New Jersey Department of Higher Education is once again partnering with Cyber Aces and Brookdale Community College on a free cyber security competition that began Sept. 3. There is still time to register for this event, since the first quiz won’t be until October 15 and 16, and as soon as someone registers they are eligible to start going through the online tutorial module training.  Registration and information is here.

NJTechWeekly.com spoke with Maxwell Shuftan of the Cyber Aces Foundation to get a better feel for what the program will look like and what it will help future cyber security professionals accomplish. The following information is from our conversation.

Interested parties—whether students or those out of work—register to take an online course in cyber security for free, and they are quizzed every few weeks. The course ends December 31st. Since there is so much learning involved in the competition, there is no prerequisite level of knowledge required. The purpose of the cyber security competition is to ferret out those who have aptitude and talent in this area.

The top 10 to 20 percent of those who participate based on scores and the number of those who register will be invited to a state-wide live championship event which will be held in the spring at Brookdale Community College.

The championship event is run through Net Wars and is a hands-on interactive tournament which may involve defending a network using the tools they have learned. [One participant described it to Mashable as a capture the flag competition where the flags were pieces of code that had to be copied and pasted into the scoring system.] Everyone who completes the competition gets a certificate, and the higher scorers are invited to the Cyber Aces Academy at Brookdale Community College (Lincroft section of Middletown Township, in Monmouth County) next fall (2014). Enrollment is by invitation only.

The program at Brookdale is a fast-track 12 to 18 months certificate program designed to train and educate people with an aptitude for security, who can be introduced to the workforce upon completing the program. There are some paid positions at Cyber Aces Academy after the coursework is completed to help transition participants to the workforce. The program consists of a series of courses and hands-on labs and includes a paid residency working on real-world cybersecurity projects, and prepares participants to fill mission-critical jobs in the public and private sectors.

The curriculum in NJ currently includes 17 cybersecurity courses of which two are core courses and 15 specialized courses. Students must complete a certain number of courses and pass ANSI certification exams following each course. The program includes specialty tracks such as Advanced Forensics, Pen Testing, Hardware, Industrial Control Systems and Perimeter Defense.

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