To help deliver on its goals, CAPSLOCK uses the Skillable platform to develop its own lab experiences that simulate the cyber workplace, specifically a corporate SOC environment. During the detection lab, for example, learners go into an open source environment and use SPLUNK, a cloud-based data platform for cybersecurity, to analyze data sets. In addition, CAPSLOCK provides each of its learners with an all-access pass to the almost 800 Challenge Labs offered by Skillable. 

Challenge Labs present the user with a scenario and a problem to solve. Challenge Labs, which take between 30 and 60 minutes to complete and have three levels of complexity, contain a means of skills validation, are incorporated into CAPSLOCK courses and are sometimes sent to learners as pre-reading.

Preparing learners for a career in cybersecurity

Cullen cites several specific areas in which Challenge Labs and the Skillable platform help CAPSLOCK prepare its learners for a career in cybersecurity.

Affordable, accessible training

For starters, Skillable helps CAPSLOCK achieve one of its main objectives, which is to make the education and training it offers affordable and accessible to everyone. “Skillable platform is scalable,” Cullen says. “That’s massively valuable, to be able to create as many labs as you need. It’s also relatively affordable. The pricing is fantastic.”

An always up-to-date curriculum

A second major benefit Cullen cites is that use of the Skillable platform and the Challenge Labs help CAPSLOCK keep its curriculum up to date, focused on outcomes and aligned with industry requirements. “We can build and host our own labs as things change in cybersecurity,” she says. “If a new zero day comes out we can theoretically cover it in a lab.”

Ability to cover a broad scope

A broad scope is fundamental to the CAPSLOCK approach. The curriculum covers five critical areas. Students are taught to address and solve real-world cybersecurity concerns, going through scenarios as fictitious employees, focusing on areas such as security and awareness, security by design and incident response. “Skillable supports these areas,” Cullen says. “They have a nice, broad scope.”

Preparing students for the job market

Challenge Labs play a major role in helping CAPSLOCK learners differentiate themselves on the job market in two critical ways. First, they can use the Challenges Labs to prepare for the assessments that are often part of technical interviews. And secondly, the labs – those developed by Skillable and those that are developed by CAPSLOCK and accessed on the Skillable platform – help prepare the students to solve real-world problems immediately, on the first day of their new job. “Our students graduate with real workplace skills,” says Cullen.

Cybersecurity as a core business function

Cullen says the partnership with Skillable has helped CAPSLOCK train future professionals to approach cybersecurity as a core business function. After completing a lab, students are often divided into pairs or small groups to dissect what they learned in the lab and place it in a business context. “The pandemic has forced every business into the digital realm,” she says. “We are preparing our graduates to understand the concept of how cybersecurity integrates with a business and, as a result, bring to their roles a deep understanding of how their decisions affect the wider organization.” Cullen and the other two CAPSLOCK co-founders developed their curriculum in close partnership with business leaders, who want to hire cybersecurity professionals who have received the level of technical training provided by Skillable, complemented by business expertise.

A future of growth on the horizon

As organizations continue to relocate critical functions and data to the cloud, the importance of a workforce prepared to protect the infrastructure from cyberattacks will increase. Cullen says CAPSLOCK is prepared to grow in order to meet demand. “We’re currently training about 250 people per year, and our goal is to double that year over year,” she says.