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How I completed CyberStart and passed the GIAC exam with 99% through CyberStart Canada

How I completed CyberStart and passed the GIAC exam with 99% through CyberStart Canada

This is a guest post written by Amitoj from Ontario. He completed all challenges in CyberStart and was provided the opportunity from SANS Institute to take the SANS Foundations (SEC275) course and earn a GIAC certification after participating in CyberStart Canada.

“I enjoyed the unique way that the CyberStart challenges were delivered, they were engaging and fun to go through, and it felt like a game to play.”

Amitoj shares his experience of participating in CyberStart Canada and earning a GIAC certification.

What interested you about cyber security before you started CyberStart Canada?

Cyber security has been interesting because it’s a field that allows you to learn so much about how technology is used to run the world around us.

Did you have any cyber security experience/knowledge before joining CyberStart Canada?

I had done several CTF’s before joining CyberStart, and the skills I had developed through them definitely helped make my journey through CyberStart Canada easier.

You could be eligible for one of CyberStart’s programmes to unlock all 200+ cyber security challenges for free. Find out if you’re eligible here.

What did you enjoy about CyberStart?

I enjoyed the unique way that the CyberStart challenges were delivered, they were engaging and fun to go through, and it felt like a game to play.

What was your favourite base and why?

My favourite base was the Forensics base because it taught me to use new technologies and the basics of digital forensics.

What are your future career and further education plans?

I want to someday have a career in the Offensive side of cyber security. Hopefully in Penetration Testing or Red Team Operations.

Do you have any advice for new CyberStart players?

My advice is that if you ever feel stuck, you should check out the Field Manual to learn more about the topics covered in the challenge, and to always try to think “outside the box”

Due to your success in CyberStart, you were offered the chance to take the SANS Foundations course. How did it go?

Completing the SANS Foundations course (SEC275) was a unique opportunity and a great experience. As the name suggests, the course introduces and covers many core concepts used in cyber security. I found the course’s online platform easy to use and found the content to be well organised, with each topic divided into sections, and smaller modules.

The content is geared towards people who are “New to Cyber”, and so I found that all of the explanations and tutorials took the target demographic into account. Cyber security and playing CTFs were already hobbies for me so personally I had familiarity with a lot of the concepts.

The SANS Foundations course concluded with the GFACT exam - what was your experience of taking the exam and do you have any tips?

Preparing for the culminating GFACT exam was an especially cool experience. I had never done an exam from a recognised training provider, and given that GIAC certifications are very sought-after by both employers and individuals, it was a good opportunity for me to learn and see how real exams are conducted.

I had two practise exams, which let me get familiar with the testing platform, and get insight into what kind of questions will be on the actual exam. I highly recommend that anyone else preparing for the exam also watch the “Ask the Author” sessions on vimeo.com/cyberstart, as the course creator shares a lot of helpful exam tips through that series.

Aside from that, strategies for GIAC exams are well documented online, personally, I had only tabbed my course materials and brought a small index, but it will be different for everyone.

I spent some time a few days before my exam to make sure my laptop and my room met all of the examination and proctoring requirements. On my exam day, I took it in the morning and passed with 99%.

Want to see if you could advance your skills through CyberStart’s online puzzles like Amitoj? Then give 12 CyberStart challenges a try now by signing up for your free account.

Are you a high school student/teacher in the US or Canada? You can unlock all 200+ challenges, resources and further opportunities across the entire CyberStart platform through one of our free programmes. Check below to learn more!

All of these programmes are entirely free, and feature CyberStart!

CyberStart America

What is it?

A fun programme developed to help you discover your talent, advance your skills and win scholarships in cyber security.

Who's it for?

13-18 year old high school students in the US only.

Awesome! How can I find out more?

Cyber FastTrack

What is it?

The fastest and most cost-effective route to a career in cyber security via free training and exclusive scholarship opportunities.

Who's it for?

College students in the US only.

Great! How can I find out more?

CyberStart Canada

What is it?

A free programme teaching cyber security to high school students in Canada through CyberStart's immersive learning platform.

Who's it for?

Students between the ages of 13-18 nationwide.

Nice! How can I find out more?