The economic impact of COVID-19 means Northern Virginia has a cumulative unemployment rate of 8.5%. Many industries such as retail, hospitality, and travel were hit especially hard.
Yet, cybersecurity job growth in Northern Virginia continues to increase leaving many positions unfilled. Graduates from this program will fill a need in the local economy and increase their long-term earning potential.
How is this course taught?
Courses are all delivered online, so you will learn at your own pace. The courses are taught by SANS Institute instructors who are world-renowned for being both expert cybersecurity practitioners and skilled communicators. SANS’ courses are written and taught by Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) not full-time teachers. These top practitioners infuse courses with their real-world experiences. This is a notable contrast from many education and training providers in which faculty are full-time employees. For example, two SANS faculty members led the U.S. delegation that worked with the Ukraine government in the aftermath of a major power outage caused by a cyber attack. Those two individuals also wrote the team’s technical report on what actually happened and what could stop similar attacks in the future. Our instructors draw on their experiences and findings when updating courses and helping bring new courses to life.
What mentorship and career support is available?
This training will help students break into a new field or enable upskillers to grow in their field. Students will receive the following to enhance career preparation and ensure they are ready to connect with employers:
Ongoing access to SANS CyberStart Game for extra practice and skills development
Technical mentoring and ongoing learner support
Soft skills training and career support
Webinars that address relevant topics and changes in the world of cybersecurity
How long does it take to complete the academy?
Both the Cyber Upskilling and Reskilling Academy consist of self-paced online courses that allow students to work while learning. Students have 8 weeks to complete each training course and earn the associated certification. On average, it takes most students 80 hours to prepare for one GIAC certification attempt (course), so a program can be finished in as few as 6 weeks.
What is the time commitment to finish this program?
The Academy is a fast-track, intensive program and students are expected to complete all coursework and certifications in six months. On average, it takes most SANS students 80 hours to prepare for one GIAC certification attempt.
What previous knowledge or prerequisites do I need to take this course?
The Cyber Reskilling Academy is a fantastic entry point into the technical disciplines that support further cybersecurity learning. Students have taken the course from a wide array of different backgrounds (including thousands with ZERO technology or computing knowledge), but naturally, those with some technical underpinnings may find the material easier to digest.
The Cyber Upskilling Academy is designed for those with experience in an Information Technology or Information Security role that would benefit from additional training to enhance their skillset and career progression.
What are the COVID-19 safety precautions?
All courses and events are held in a virtual format to ensure safety. Timelines can be adjusted on an individual basis based on individual needs, in response to the challenges faced due to COVID-19.
Who is eligible to apply to VCSA?
The Virginia Cyber Sills Academies programs are open to those who are currently stationed in or are permanent residents of Northern Virginia with valid proof of residency. Applicants without a cybersecurity background should apply to the Reskilling Academy; applicants currently in the cyber field that need to enhance their resume should apply to the Upskilling Academy.
You are NOT eligible for this program if you:
Do not live in or have proof of permanent residency in Northern Virginia
Are not a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident of Northern Virginia
How do I prove that I have been impacted by Covid-19?
Applicants will be asked if they have been negatively impacted by Covid-19, including but not limited to job loss, furlough, reduction in hours, change of living standard, or circumstances?
Individuals must submit a written statement detailing the negative financial impact of Covid-19 on their lives.
This can include direct impact such as job loss (including individuals who had to quit their job due to covid related concerns such as health issues, caring for loved ones, providing care for children due to virtual school, etc.) furlough, and reduction in hours.
This also includes those who had decreased financial resources due to covid impacted contributing household members job loss, furlough, etc. Or due to financially contributing to other impacted individuals well-being.
What is the application process?
Interested candidates will follow the application process below:
The candidate completes a web application form
The candidate creates a SANS account and then finishes the application in the SANS portal
The application will be reviewed and an assessment test sent within three days
Candidates must complete the Cyber Talent Assessment test within three days unless otherwise specified
Test results are reviewed once a week and candidates will receive an invitation to submit supporting documents including a resume and formal transcripts to complete their application
Qualified candidates will be invited to a virtual/phone interview
All candidates will be informed of their application status within four weeks of the application deadline
What information will you need from me to apply?
Depending on your assessment score you may be asked to provide the following materials.
Verification of Virginia Residency
Reference (form provided)
Transcripts and/or DoD-214
What happens after I apply?
The intent of this program is to help train individuals impacted by the economic downturn or to support professionals wanting to increase their skills. Applicants will submit resumes and application documents, including a CyberTalent Assessment, to verify their eligibility for this program. A round of interviews will identify the applicants who will move forward into final selection. Final selection will be done by an Advisory Board comprised of individuals from businesses and experts in the industry.
How will I know I’m selected?
Successful applicants will receive an email from the Program Coordinator with their acceptance material within 2 weeks of completing their interview.
What system requirements do I need to complete the course?
A list of hardware and system requirements is provided below. Chromebooks and tablets do not have the necessary computing power to enable the effective use of labs for SANS courses.
64-bit Intel i5/i7 2.0+ GHz processor
Your system's processor must be a 64-bit Intel i5 or i7 2.0 GHz processor or higher. To verify on Windows 10, press Windows key + "I" to open Settings, then click "System", then "About". Your processor information will be toward the bottom of the page. To verify on a Mac, click the Apple logo at the top left-hand corner of your display and then click "About this Mac".
Intel's VT (VT-x) hardware virtualization technology should be enabled in your system's BIOS or UEFI settings. You must be able to access your system's BIOS throughout the class. If your BIOS is password-protected, you must have the password. This is absolutely required.
8 GB RAM is highly recommended for the best experience. To verify on Windows 10, press Windows key + "I" to open Settings, then click "System", then "About". Your RAM information will be toward the bottom of the page. To verify on a Mac, click the Apple logo at the top left-hand corner of your display and then click "About this Mac".
Hard Drive Free Space
100 GB of FREE space on the hard drive is critical to host the VMs and additional files we distribute. SSD drives are also highly recommended, as they allow virtual machines to run much faster than mechanical hard drives.
Your system must be running either the latest version of Windows 10, macOS 10.15.x or later, or Linux that also can install and run VMware virtualization products described below.
Additional Software Requirements
VMware Player Install
VMware Workstation Player 15, VMware Fusion 11, or VMware Workstation 15
Install VMware Workstation Pro 15.5.X+, VMware Player 15.5.X+ or Fusion 11.5+. If you do not own a licensed copy of VMware Workstation or Fusion, you can download a free 30-day trial copy from VMware. VMware will send you a time-limited serial number if you register for the trial at their Web site. VMware Workstation Player is a free download that does not need a commercial license but has fewer features than Workstation. THIS IS CRITICAL: Other virtualization products, such as Hyper-V and VirtualBox, are not supported and will not work with the course material.
Note: Apple systems using the M1 processor cannot perform the necessary virtualization at this time and cannot be used.