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Why Learning Linux Fundamentals in a Cyber Gym is Optimal

By Jamie Taralunga • Posted 6 months ago

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Are you ready to start that new year’s resolution? For many, resolutions mean losing weight and getting stronger by working out. If this is you, how have you decided to work out?

  • Doing it yourself
  • Joining a few classes
  • Going to the gym
  • Getting a personal trainer
  • Using a fitness app
  • All of the above

What does a getting fit resolution have to do with learning Linux? The correlation between exercise and learning cybersecurity tools like Linux may surprise you. The gym metaphor (opens new window) has everything to do with HOW you learn.

teaching-cybersecurity-gym-training

Last year, I didn’t decide to get stronger as a new year resolution or even in January. I wanted to get fit for an active, outdoor lifestyle. After researching my options, I decided to join a gym, partly because I’d rather rent equipment than store gym equipment at my house that I most likely won’t use on a regular basis.

I read many articles and watched countless YouTube videos to build a workout program. Each month I created new routines that included cardio and weightlifting. I saw the results, and then I plateaued. Then I got tired? Bored?

Making a Cyber Education Investment

Today, it’s so easy to learn how to do something new such as Linux or figuring out the proper form for the overhead press. So, why pay to learn?

Aside from paying for a gym membership, I felt like a self-learner in the beginning. After doing my research, my workout plan was solid. It was my intensity that waned over time. I started running slower or shorter distances. I didn’t challenge myself as I would have in a class environment. I didn’t have anyone to encourage me, tell me if I was using the proper technique, or if I’m using the machine correctly. Completely working out by myself was no longer working for me as I progressed. The same experiences could apply to learning Linux as well.

Learn Linux Free Videos
Free Linux videos or courses may feel like the easiest path to learning, but they won't sustain engagement over time. Burn out is real and learners need instructor support to sustain skill acquisition.

Many people try free courses and end up quitting. However, quitting is not necessarily due to a lack of motivation. Learning something on your own takes a lot of accountability and maintenance. Sustaining that is hard work. There’s also a group of people who can learn Linux on their own but can’t maintain it because it involves figuring out how to continuously come up with hands-on practice.

Linux is a basic operating platform (opens new window), but it comes with extras. Learning the Linux distros (opens new window), programs, terminology, and how it all works together takes a lot of time, research, and finding your own resources. The options can feel endless and overwhelming. If you do choose the self-educational route, how do you maintain your skills after learning from free tutorials?

The Empowerment of an Instructor

Instead of quitting, I changed how I performed my self-motivated workout routine. I worked out less on my own and replaced those times with group classes. In these classes, I now had an instructor to

  • Design challenging workouts
  • Show me how to use new machines
  • Refine my technique and form

The instructor provided an expert-level yet personal perspective that I was missing in my routines.

Now, I train regularly with improved routines that are re-engaging. Instead of designing and aligning my workout plans each month, my mentality focuses on the technique and retains the knowledge (opens new window) I learned from my class.

Am I worried about becoming bored in these classes? Nope. The instructor has the expertise and tools to optimize the routines for the next level of effort.

Now what if you are a cyber instructor reading this article, how do you relate? Do you have the tools to optimize your teaching goals for Linux, or do you feel like a taskmaster going through a checklist (opens new window)?

Similar to a physical gym, there is a cyber gym (opens new window) (cyber range) with a trainer mode for you to teach with and a player mode to learn from as a student. They also include prebuilt equipment in one place and come with a team of resources, which saves you time and money.

Now in this cyber gym, there is a Battle Room (opens new window) where learners can get their hands-on foundational skills, such as Linux, using realistic cybersecurity scenarios. Cybersecurity EdTech tools, like Project Ares (opens new window), provide the hands-on practice that cybersecurity students need to achieve their learning goals. Not only is a cyber learning platform engaging, but it can easily align with your existing cybersecurity curriculum.

Teach Linux Fundamentals with Hands-On Practice

project-ares-home-screen

So, how do you maintain your Linux skills in a cyber training ground ? Nick Fritz, Project Ares Consultant, says:

“Cybersecurity learning platforms, such as Project Ares, provide you with fundamental Linux tasks to practice within the context of a gamified environment (opens new window).

Most students don't use Linux as an operating system in their everyday lives. So, the ability to get hands-on practice in a command-line completing common Linux activities in a safe, visualized environment is important. In this type of environment, the learner’s engagement increases, and their hesitancy decreases because there is nothing to 'mess up'.”


Should students get stuck, Project Ares has an in-game advisor and access to hints to help them through a scenario objective or task. For instructors, there are options to monitor their students’ live play and scores. For an extra challenge, instructors can disable hints for “graded” or assessment-style teaching techniques.

Similar to a gym’s free trial, you can demo Project Ares to decide if incorporating an engaging cybersecurity learning platform that improves your classroom’s learning experience is right for you.

Request a demo

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