Cyber Security Base with F-Secure, an online course series developed by the University of Helsinki and F-Secure, is back for another year. Over 50,000 people from the United States, Finland, the United Kingdom, and more accessed last year’s courses, leading F-Secure and the university to offer the course series again.
Cyber Security Base with F-Secure is a massive open online course (MOOC) created by the University of Helsinki and F-Secure. They designed the course to ensure that students learn the knowledge and skills needed for a career in cyber security – an industry that’s looking at a global shortage of qualified personnel. One recent report projected there would be 3.5 million vacant cyber security positions by the year 2021.
F-Secure CEO Samu Konttinen says the shortage is something that should concern everyone given the importance of cyber security in today’s world, and sees the course as a good step toward solving the problem.
“Developments like the WannaCry outbreak and record breaking data breaches really highlight how much is at stake when we talk about cyber security. And while attacks like these are driving demand for cyber security expertise across every single industry, there’s not enough people entering the field to keep up,” said Konttinen. “Cyber security education is an important part of tackling this talent shortage and it’s a great career opportunity for students, so we’re happy to carry some of the responsibility in this matter and offer the course again.”
The MOOC aims to provide high quality training by packaging 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. It also includes exercises, such as capture the flag-style hacking challenges, that help students learn to apply their knowledge and skills.
And while the MOOC’s subject matter deals with complex topics, it was designed to be accessible to anyone that wants to learn more about cyber security. There are no fees or formal education requirements, so anyone with a basic understanding of code, computer networks, and information security can participate.
Last year’s MOOC attracted interest from over 50,000 people, with nearly 5000 participating in assignments and over one thousand completing all or part of the course series. Based on that level of interest, Professor Sasu Tarkoma, Head of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki, is convinced that providing high quality, online education is an effective way to attract potential cyber security experts to the field.
“Having more than 50,000 people from all over the globe interested in last year’s course was pretty exciting, and it really shows how much demand there is for cyber security education and how we can use MOOCs to meet this demand,” said Tarkoma. “Cyber security is the kind of thing that students can feel passionate about, and these days they can apply it to many different industries and professions. This course is about helping students find that passion and prepare them for a promising career.”