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From Student to Instructor: A Cybersecurity Learning Journey

By Giuseppe Scalamogna • Posted 4 months ago

Success Story
Case Studies

This story of one instructor’s cybersecurity learning journey has inspired the team at Project Ares. At his request for anonymity, we’ve changed the name of our protagonist to

“Stop thinking like an instructor. Remember what it was like when you were a student and didn’t know how to do things. Think about what would have intimidated you. If you can’t get on that same thought level and remember what it was like when you struggled, you’re not going to be able to help someone else through a struggle. They say that you cannot help someone up a mountain unless you have first climbed it yourself first.”

~ Professor X

The Situation

In the past,

Why was he so committed?

Professor X had been a victim of identity theft and had a strong desire to learn how it happened and how it could be prevented from happening again. Channeling an incredible passion for learning and a natural aptitude for technology, he took his cyber identity (and subsequently his career) into his own hands.

The Solution

Professor X aspired to become a teacher in some way – it was a goal on his 15-year plan – because it would allow him to help people in a very real and specific way. When he experienced the power of hands-on learning through Project Ares labs in his Network+ course, he knew was onto something that might enable him to help other cybersecurity students sometime in the future.

The teaching staff of that first Network+ course quickly realized how committed the future

Sharing the Cyber Learning Experience

“I love helping people more than anything,” says Professor X. “And teaching cybersecurity lets me help people in a way that might reduce identity theft and close that cyber skills gap we read about every day.”


“Project Ares Battle Room 1 took me almost a month to finish because I didn’t use hints,” he says somewhat ruefully. “I went in and just crashed everything. But I learned! I would pick a topic for the day and read about it. I’ve probably read the Snort manual a million times. And eventually I put it all together, finished the lab, and progressed to the next one.”

Professor X’s Friendly Advice

To other students

“If you take the time to put in the effort, you will soon be able to do many amazing things because of the amount of knowledge you get from Project Ares labs.“

To fellow educators looking to adopt hands-on labs in the classroom

For a minute, stop thinking like an instructor…and remember the times when you were a student learning something new and the pains it took to get real knowledge. Use those experiences to relate to your student’s challenges to help them understand the value of using real cyber tools in virtual environments. You can’t help someone up a mountain if you haven’t climbed it yourself.“

The Project Ares team is inspired by

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Project Ares  is an award-winning ed tech platform which provides hands-on cyber security labs that enhance competency-based education for teachers and reinforce readiness objectives for trainers. Its library of threat scenarios are immersive and reflect contemporary threat incidents. Learners have the ability to use real security tools, tactics, and procedures in Project Ares to effectively perform offensive and defensive activities to build cyber skills and competencies. For more information, visit .

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