Magna Cyber Academy, the educational arm of IT and cybersecurity firm Magna Cyber, has introduced a six-month hands-on learning program involving real-life experience on a sophisticated network. Graduates of the program will also receive assistance in finding an IT/cyber security job.
The program gives students 4 months of hands-on learning on Magna Cyber Academy's network and 2 months of internship, where they implement what they've learned. The network, which features three of the best firewalls in the industry, mimics a big enterprise environment, and students can log in from anywhere in the world to explore and learn first-hand how it works. Students can choose from three disciplines to specialize in - network engineering, Azure engineering, and cyber defense.
According to Jared Derival, Magna Cyber's founder, the Academy operates in the exact opposite of how a school works - there are no lectures, no textbooks, and no exams. No certificates will be issued after completing the program, either. However, he says that students that finish the program will have valuable, real-life experience that easily translates to a high-paying job.
"We are supposed to be a disruptor of the conventional way of teaching. Students spend 3 hours of their day, from Monday to Friday, where an expert engineer will spend time answering students' questions for one hour, followed by 2 hours of self-directed learning on the network. We do not provide any certificates, because students can get that from universities, training centers, and other educational institutions. What we provide is an intensive program that provides hands-on experience, which will become like muscle memory to students."
Derival says that for Magna Cyber Academy's next cohort, which will begin on April 4, he will be joined by two veteran network engineers to help guide students through the program. The Academy has a strict screening process, and it will only admit students who demonstrate a high level of dedication through the trial class period in the first 30 days.
"Students have 14 days to evaluate our program. If, for any reason, they don't like it, we will fully refund their registration fee. We also have 30 days to evaluate students, as well. If, after those 30 days, we realize that the student doesn't meet the profile we are looking for, we will end the student's membership in the program and give them a full refund."
As part of the program, Magna Cyber Academy will help its students find a job, through its partner recruitment firm, leveraging Derival's connections in the industry built over his more than 17 years in the network engineering and cybersecurity industries.
"We will tap directly into our pool of trainees that I have personally vetted, based on the experience that I have had with them. Having worked with them for 4-6 months, we have a good handle on their availability, strengths, and weaknesses, which will help us match them perfectly with a job."
Derival says the idea behind Magna Cyber Academy came from his experiences as an international student. Having grown up in poverty in Haiti, he took up computer engineering, seeing it as his ticket to a better life. But things didn't turn out as expected.
"Like many other Caribbean youth, I believed that the way out of poverty is to go to school, get good grades, graduate, and then I'd be on top of the world. But I found out that I was extremely wrong. I spent 6 years and got a master's degree, but I still ended up unemployed. I realized I was very ill-prepared and completely ignorant of how the profession works because I didn't have the technical capabilities."
However, this changed when Derival got the opportunity to gain hands-on experience as a subcontractor for a major US government security project. After gaining vital knowledge, this opened up many opportunities for him, and he worked for several major companies before founding Magna Cyber.
"I spent 9 years at the bottom of the food chain. I want to help people get away from that and gain the skills that they need to be on top within a year. I've been given huge opportunities through education, and I want to give those same opportunities to others. However, these opportunities don't just fall into people's laps. Only the people who are willing to put a great amount of effort will be able to benefit from these," Derival concludes.
Name: Jared Derival