Project

Foundational Cybersecurity Hands-On Lab Exercises

The Cybersecurity Professional Science Master's program at California State University San Marcos was 
 developed based on input from local technology companies and community partners.
 There is a widely acknowledged need for better cybersecurity practices across the nation, and demand for jobs and 
 education is high. The initial cohort of students entering the Cybersecurity program is now preparing to graduate. This Semester in Residence project w
 as developed to address the needs of future students entering the program.
 The field of Cybersecurity encompasses very broad areas of knowledge, skills and abilities. It can range from extremely business oriented fields such as risk management and governance, to very technical work such as network security and malware analysis. Industry needs are correspondingly distributed across these domains. Reflecting this, Cybersecurity students come from a variety of professional and academic backgrounds.
 It is difficult for both advisors and prospective students to determine if the applicant has the required technical knowledge and experience to succeed in the program. Both instructors and students have identified technical preparedness as a challenge impacting 
 This wide range of interests was reflected in a first cohort of students who had very different backgrounds and technical skills. While many of the students may have a technology background or relevant work experience, some students are inadequately prepared to tackle the technical 
 requirements. Some students may not have been exposed to the concepts, while others may have a substantial chronological gap since being exposed to the concepts during their undergraduate degree. This means that some students may not possess the necessary foundational technical knowledge.
 During the first cohort, the program offered a series of “boot camp” courses to address these issues. For the second cohort, the program identified online resources for applicants, but has since determined that students will be more successful with a focused "boot camp" type of course specifically designed for the Cybersecurity program. The goal of this project is to establish several hands-on lab experiences as an additional resource in 
 supplementing and reinforcing the foundational concepts necessary to understand and implement the more complex concepts such that are taught in Cybersecurity master’s program at California State University San Marcos. These labs are designed so that they can be used in a classroom environment or in an off-campus environment, thereby allowing for a greater flexibility as these labs could be implemented in an online learning class environment.

The Cybersecurity Professional Science Master's program at California State University San Marcos was developed based on input from local technology companies and community partners. There is a widely acknowledged need for better cybersecurity practices across the nation, and demand for jobs and education is high. The initial cohort of students entering the Cybersecurity program is now preparing to graduate. This Semester in Residence project w as developed to address the needs of future students entering the program. The field of Cybersecurity encompasses very broad areas of knowledge, skills and abilities. It can range from extremely business oriented fields such as risk management and governance, to very technical work such as network security and malware analysis. Industry needs are correspondingly distributed across these domains. Reflecting this, Cybersecurity students come from a variety of professional and academic backgrounds. It is difficult for both advisors and prospective students to determine if the applicant has the required technical knowledge and experience to succeed in the program. Both instructors and students have identified technical preparedness as a challenge impacting This wide range of interests was reflected in a first cohort of students who had very different backgrounds and technical skills. While many of the students may have a technology background or relevant work experience, some students are inadequately prepared to tackle the technical requirements. Some students may not have been exposed to the concepts, while others may have a substantial chronological gap since being exposed to the concepts during their undergraduate degree. This means that some students may not possess the necessary foundational technical knowledge. During the first cohort, the program offered a series of “boot camp” courses to address these issues. For the second cohort, the program identified online resources for applicants, but has since determined that students will be more successful with a focused "boot camp" type of course specifically designed for the Cybersecurity program. The goal of this project is to establish several hands-on lab experiences as an additional resource in supplementing and reinforcing the foundational concepts necessary to understand and implement the more complex concepts such that are taught in Cybersecurity master’s program at California State University San Marcos. These labs are designed so that they can be used in a classroom environment or in an off-campus environment, thereby allowing for a greater flexibility as these labs could be implemented in an online learning class environment.

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