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The Academy

Twin Cities employers are actively hiring cybersecurity professionals. Our boot camps will teach anyone the basic techniques and then connect them to employers. We also offer advanced certifications so that those already in the IT or cybersecurity space can move up in their careers. Students will study the psychology of hackers and their victims, learn cutting-edge techniques from government research, and practice real-world techniques. By the end of the program, they’ll be ready to enter the battlefield.

Learn what it takes
Average annual median pay in cybersecurity.
Full time instructors who have worked in the cybersecurity industry.
Currently open cybersecurity jobs in Minnesota.
Cybersecurity workers per job opening in MN (national average for all industries is 6.5)

Admissions: We Want YOU!

The military doesn’t recruit soldiers—it creates them. Our accelerated learning program does the same thing for those with the right personalities. Even if you have zero experience, you’ll be ready for your first job when you graduate. By systematically and progressively exposing you to the latest threats, techniques, and technology, our boot camp makes amateurs into agents. The threat is real. Are you prepared to face it?

Here’s what we’re looking for in our recruits:

Systems thinkers who understand how parts of a system interact and operate as a whole.

Problem solvers who thrive finding solutions to complex challenges.

Abstract thinkers who look at numerous perspectives before acting.

Early adopters who are excited about new technologies.

*Loyal, steady people who want to protect others.

Lace Up Your (Digital) Combat Boots

Step 1

Candidate researches SHYLD.

Step 2

SHYLD’s admission process starts with an online application. Here, you’ll attack puzzles, games, and challenges that test your ability to deal with complex problems.

Step 3

The next stage is a meeting with one of our agents for a discreet interview. An agent of SHYLD will answer questions about your mission, should you choose to accept it.

Step 4

Although our official representatives can neither confirm nor deny any knowledge of your acceptance into the program, we generally find a channel for communicating this to you within two weeks of the time you start your application.

Step 5

Become a SHYLD Agent.

Tier One

Agents who have completed levels 1–5 will have a 90% chance of blocking any attack. Stage One includes the following levels.

Agents with the Stage 1 Badge will have demonstrated that they’ve learned and successfully applied the fundamentals of cyber hygiene.

Level 1: Security Awareness Training

Learn the five principles of cyber hygiene in a half-day session. These principles consistently applied across all platforms and devices, will block over 90% of attempted hacks.

Level 2: In The Know

Threats are constantly evolving and you’ll have to stay on top of them. This builds on Level One with cyber alerts and a newsletter covering the latest vulnerabilities and scams to watch out for.

Level 3: Active Learning and Practice

Consider this your fencing practice. It’s here where you’ll first “spar” with active phishing attacks, testing your mettle in the real world of cyber defense. Through two webinars a month, quizzes, and active phishing attacks, agents learn to “think like a hacker” and block intrusions, taking the principles from levels one and two out into the real world. (Reword)

Level 4: Confirmed Defensive Education

If you can secure your home network, you’re safer than 99% of the US. But can you? After you set up your antivirus programs, firewalls, and an update protocol for your software and firmware, we attack your network with a penetration test designed to test weaknesses across multiple vectors. Test out of this phase and you’re almost ready for stage two.

Level 5: Defense Educator

At this point you can already gain an income stream as a trainer, either within an organization or with students at earlier stages of the program. We equip you with the tools to succeed with teacher training and cyber training materials.

Pre-Order Now

Tier Two

By the end of Tier One, you have a 90% chance of blocking cyber attacks and your personal networks are secure. Now you’ll take it to the corporate level. Through five weeks of coursework, real-world applications, and testing, you’ll learn the responsibilities, metrics, and benchmarks for the cybersecurity industry. You’ll have a personal career path mapped out and know exactly what you need to do to get the job you want.

Level 6: Think Like A Hacker

To defeat hackers, you must understand them. You will spend one week doing a deep dive into the psychology of your enemy, studying profiles of real hackers to learn their motivations, mindset, and weaknesses. Motivations for the domestic hacker include:

  • Curiosity: A young hacker finds an entry point in his webcam. He asks, “how can I install this exploit on every webcam of this make and model?”
  • Ego: “A guy on the Dark Web bragged about flooding the City of Minneapolis website with so much traffic that he shut it down. I could do better.”
  • Profit: “Username and password lists are going for $1 a username. If I can get $10,000, that’s like a real job”.

Much less common, but much more dangerous, are the military hacker motivations:

  • Patriotism: “If I can find a couple of the technologies used in passport printing, it makes our spies’ jobs much easier.”
  • Morality: “Compromising the embassy’s security will stop the US from hurting more people.”
  • Duty: “I swore to protect Russia.”

By the end of this week, you’ll understand the differences between amateur, professional, and military hackers and the big picture ideas about protecting against all three.

Level 7: Career Paths of Cyber Education

There are a lot of jobs available at the end of this program. The US government under Obama created a very clear pathway visualization of the cybersecurity workforce they want to see in America. We’ll invite several guest speakers to talk about the 30 different subsets of the industry. This includes:

  • Cyber Forensics: How and why did a breach happen?
  • Cyber Architects: Map out the visuals of defending an entire network.
  • Engineers: The infantry of cybersecurity, responsible for day-to-day defense.
  • Managers: Lead your team to victory.
  • Red teams: Attack your own organization to find weaknesses before an outside hacker does.

Level 8: Core Framework Detailed

Once you’ve picked your career, you’ll come up with an action plan to get it. Working with our career counselors, you’ll use our extensive library of resources for a one-week independent study. Together, we’ll assess where you’re currently at, what you need to learn, and how you’ll learn it. At the end of the week, you’ll meet one-on-one with someone from your chosen career path to make sure you’re on the right track.

Level 9: Core Components of Defensive Thinking

Most cybersecurity professionals don’t know how the various roles in cybersecurity fit together. You will. Hackers will always succeed in penetrating a network, so prevention is an impossible task. Instead, you’ll learn to answer the five key questions:

  1. How long does it take for us to know a hacker is in our system?
  2. From when we know about it, how long does it take for us to kick them out?
  3. From when we’ve kicked them out, how long does it take to close the security hole the hacker used?
  4. From when we’ve closed the security hole, how long does it take for us to communicate with internal stakeholders about the breach?
  5. From when we’ve communicated with internal stakeholders, how long does it take to communicate to external stakeholders about the breach?

Level 10: Core Components of Offensive Strategies and Tactics

Every role needs to understand what hackers do to penetrate a system. In this week, red team members will show us how they get into systems over and over again. Learning their specific strategies and tactics will allow you to stop similar attacks in your own line of work.

Submit Your Application

Tier Three

Coming Soon…

The last five weeks are an in-depth portfolio project designed to get you a position in your chosen field. You’ll work with a mentor from your specific career track and, whenever possible, be working with live systems from a partner company. You’ll also work on refining your resume and cover letter and practice interviewing. By the end of Stage Three, you’ll be ready for the workplace.

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Get Hired

Our Employer Network

SHYLD is designed to fix the cybersecurity talent gap by creating an army of trained defenders–then finding them jobs. Here are some of the major employers helping us by speaking in class, mentoring students, offering apprenticeships, and hiring graduates.

Contact Us

FAQ about the Academy

To take part in SHYLD you will need a reliable Internet connection and a newer computer and smartphone (the last three or four years should be fine). If you’re not sure if you meet this requirement, contact us and we’ll either set your mind at ease or ask you why you’re still running a 2003 iMac in the first place.

You can visit our Refund Policy page to read up on the SHYLD Academy policy.

You can book a tour with a SHYLD Agent to get a tour of the campus here.

SHYLD Levels 1-5 are all online courses. If you are at least a SHYLD Agent Level 5, you qualify to submit an application for the Level 6-10+ courses. You can apply here.

Agents level 1 and above need to renew their license every 12 months. This entails a test they can pass right away, or they can retake updated course material to study for the license renewal test.

We regularly update the content on our courses to stay ahead of hackers and new trends in cybersecurity. We update the curriculum as these new technologies become available.

You can contact us with further questions.