Back on January 19th our pilot cohort of 20 students started their virtual training to explore a potential career in cybersecurity. Through our organization’s partnership with Securonix, we developed an on-ramp for students to gain streamlined entry into cybersecurity and earn practical experience that they could leverage. Our goal will be to work with community colleges, enterprise and technology providers and other non-profit organizations to offer Securonix’s live virtual training to a diverse group of 120 students each year.
Through carefully crafted modules designed to bridge theory and real world application, our pilot students were able to build a foundation in security issues and earn practical knowledge through hands-on lab exercises. But ultimately, how did our students feel about their experience? From anonymous surveying, we identify several important facts:
1. Respondents represented a diverse pool, and NextGen will continue to invest in future class compositions to ensure adequate coverage across different communities.
2. For the most part, the curriculum was appropriate for entry learners. 60% found the training not difficult, while the remainder thought the program was moderately challenging.
3. On average, respondents gave a score of 87/100 on the curriculum’s navigation (accessibility), clarity of instructions and guides, and communication of learning objectives.
4. All respondents felt that the course met their expectations. A majority (60%) felt that the instructors were very helpful in helping them understand the context of the lessons. 40% of students felt the instructors were knowledgeable and provided adequate help.
5. 100% of respondents would refer the curriculum to friends and prospective applicants.
6. As a result of taking the course, a majority (60%) of respondents have expressed greater interest in building a career in cybersecurity. 40% of the respondents maintain the same level of interest.
7. In collecting feedback for improving the curriculum, we identify several areas flagged by students. These include addressing technical issues (server management), improving platform responsiveness for lab data entries, and increasing the level of hands-on training during the introduction course.
We are deeply impressed by our pilot students who brought tremendous passion and energy in completing their intensive studies. Ultimately we work with our program graduates to deepen their understanding of the security industry and raise their confidence to succeed. An important OKR for our organization is not only seeding underrepresented talent with a strong interest to pursue a future in the security field, but also to equip them with the network and skills to find a permanent role in the space.
Our overall approach will focus on successfully attracting underrepresented students and educating them in cybersecurity, privacy and compliance technology, as well as providing them mentorship and opportunities to jump start their careers in the industry.
We build our platform to increase diversity and inclusion in the cybersecurity industry by linking together cybersecurity experts, solution providers and enterprises to make a difference in this community and address a mounting cyber skills shortage and talent gap.
Allen DingInvestor | Startup Builder | Non-profit ContributorPublished • 20h1 articleFollowingMichelle Cho recently shared with me that, while the road is difficult, we need to celebrate the wins as they come. She is right – it takes a village to grow great people, and I want to thank our colleagues at NextGen Cyber and Securonix for embarking on our first steps to make an impact. Proud to publish our pilot class survey!