BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)– With more companies facing security threats, the need for skilled cyber pros is growing. In Colorado, there are more than 10,000 job openings in that industry.
Now students at the University of Colorado Boulder are harnessing the skills needed to fill those spots– using a video game.
Business student Marcelo Sanchez signed up for the immersive cyber security class not knowing what to expect.
“I was expecting a video game. I thought, ‘Here I am, going to play some video games,’” he said.
That was only half of it.
Sanchez and other students were using Project Ares, a gamified learning platform that teaches the skills needed to help protect and prevent a variety of cyber attacks.
Laura Lee is a game designer and executive vice president for Circadence. And now an instructor for the class.
“Project Ares is like a virtual world, it can look like a city or a bank or an organization and we have built it that way with fake users and a fake internet so it’s a safe place that you can go in and practice cyber,” she said.
Instead of homework, students take on “missions” or real world examples of attacks already seen in the community.
“You can read about it all you want and you will fail miserable unless you have seen what a threat looks like you don’t know how to deal with it,” Lee said.
For Sanchez, it was a tool that made learning exciting but also memorable.
“It turned out to be much more than a video game it turned out to be this platform for learning for applying real skills in cyber security,” he said.
Circadence the company behind the training platform says you do not have to be part of the class to use Project Ares.