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In a huge effort to increase the amount of cybersecurity professionals, 2,400 students were notified Wednesday they reached the Cyber FastTrack scholarship round where they compete for $2.5 million in scholarships for studies at their colleges and for advanced courses at SANS Institute.

Twenty-five state governors launched the SANS Institute’s Cyber FastTrack April 5 as the first step in a national initiative to close the U.S. cybersecurity skills gap.

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Cyber FastTrack gives every college student in each of the governors’ states a way to “play a game” to discover their aptitude to excel in the field.

Cyber FastTrack program has three phases. The first phase – Assessment – saw more than 13,000 students from 25 states participate. The competition gives students the opportunity to test their aptitude, said SANS Institute CyberStart Program Director Mandy Galante.

Cyber Security

As a part of the program, employers across the country have committed to interview the high scorers for internships and jobs.

Cyber FastTrack is a free online cybersecurity program for college students and graduates.

The program was designed by world-leaders in cybersecurity and backed by governors.

Through online challenges, quizzes, exams, and tutorials, you will learn disciplines such as: Forensics, intrusion detection, security operations, system and network penetration testing, and application penetration testing.

“We recruit college students for Cyber FastTrack by reaching out through emails directly to students and through emails to college presidents and cybersecurity professors,” Galante said. “The students interact through three stages of Cyber FastTrack: Assess Stage 1 had 15 challenges with varying degrees of difficulty. Students had a month to attempt those challenges and those that solved a high number found out May 20 if they qualified for Stage 2 Game. Those who qualified will play Game until July when, based on their Game scores and an Aptitude assessment, we will make another selection for Stage 3 Essentials. CyberStart Essentials is a full online course in the basics of cybersecurity.”

The final selection will be based on scores for all 3 stages – the finalists will win scholarships for advanced SANS training courses or $500 scholarships for use at their college.

Click here for more information on Cyber FastTrack.

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