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Popular cyber security MOOC begins third year

November 2018 by Marc Jacob

Cyber Security Base with F-Secure, a free online course series developed by the University of Helsinki and F-Secure, is about to open for its third year. The course series, designed to give students the practical skills and knowledge required for a career in cyber security, exemplifies some of the unique strategies companies and educators are using to address a global cyber security talent shortage.

F-Secure’s Kristian Kristensen, who helps coordinate F-Secure’s Cyber Security Academy – a recently launched internship program designed to turn IT professionals into cyber security experts – says that the cyber security skills shortage needs solutions more than studies or research trying to show that it’s real.

“There’s no shortage of evidence showing that the cyber security talent gap is a problem for society, companies and frankly everyone, so it’s basically redundant to keep pointing that out,” said F-Secure’s Kristian Kristensen, Director of Delivery for F-Secure’s Cyber Security Services. “What we do have is a shortage of attention being paid to solutions. So we need to change gears and start focusing more on how to solve this problem if we want security to keep up with tomorrow’s needs.”

Cyber Security Base with F-Secure – a massive open online course (MOOC) – packages the cyber security knowledge and expertise of F-Secure and the University of Helsinki’s Department of Computer Science into an accessible series of online courses. The series’ contents cover a range of topics participants need to understand in entry-level cyber security positions, as well as capture the flag-style hacking challenges and other hands-on exercises to help students apply what they learn.

The course series has attracted tens of thousands of students from around the world since it was launched in 2016, with hundreds of people completing courses and some even earning credits toward university degrees. And while the series’ primary aim is to directly prepare participants for entry-level cyber security positions, it can also be useful as a primer for additional training, or even for employed IT workers who wish to learn more about security.

There are no formal education requirements or fees to participate in the MOOC. And according to the University of Helsinki’s Department of Computer Science Post-Doctoral Researcher Samu Varjonen, this accessibility makes Cyber Security Base with F-Secure an innovative way to let potential professionals explore the field.

“Cyber security has been around for decades but there’s no single path for people interested in the subject to become true professionals,” said Varjonen. “This MOOC offers potential cyber security professionals the opportunity to learn more about the field without asking them to give up existing jobs or invest in a full degree. It’s a great way for software developers, IT admins, computer science students, and more to familiarize themselves with the work to see if it fits their strengths and professional interests.”

The first module in this year’s Cyber Security Base with F-Secure MOOC is now open (participants can enroll here.) A kick-off event for this year’s MOOC will be live-streamed by the University of Helsinki on November 7, 2018.

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