Our Cyber Security Programs

For Veterans, Transitioning Service Members, and Their Families

Cyber Defender

adapted from our award-winning* Cyber Academy

Wanted: Curious, Persistent People Who Don't Give Up

Want a new career? Cybersecurity could be it!

Socratic Arts (SA), a leader in online learning, is offering military spouses, veterans, transitioning service members, and their families award-winning training as cybersecurity professionals.

Developed under a contract with the US Department of Defense, it is entirely different from traditionally delivered IT/cyber programs..

Our Cyber Defender program is designed to deliver a strong foundation of defensive cybersecurity skills in an intensive online environment that is 100% project based and fosters learn-by-doing. Students assume the role of employees in a fictional government agency, who must solve authentic workplace challenges. There are NO lectures. Students receive support from a wide range of online multimedia resources and mentors, who are cyber-security experts themselves. Students must master each task within a course before continuing with the next.

If you would like to know if you are a good fit for the cyber career, We'll be glad to give you a technical skills pre-assessment at no cost or obligation. Contact Us for a no-cost, no-obligation pre-assessment.

Job-Ready Grads

Cyber Defender prepares students for entry-level careers as Security Operations Center (SOC) Analysts, Digital Forensic Analysts, and Incident Responders. Students don't need an IT background but do need strong basic computer skills and the ability to devote 25 hours a week to the program.

"For those who might be considering the program, it's important to know that your success has almost nothing to do with the knowledge you have coming in. If you don't have a background in IT, it is really not an issue. The most important factor in your success is your commitment, your disposition, and whether you are willing to dig in, teach yourself, and grab onto a problem like a terrier. If you have those qualities and the desire, you will absolutely be great at this. "

- Army Spouse

The program is composed of three courses: Immediate Immersion, Defense 1, and Defense 2.

Immediate Immersion is an introductory course (6 weeks) to allow students to determine if they like the work and are good at it.

Defense 1 (6 weeks): Covers the skills of network traffic analysis, log analysis, and basic malware analysis.

Defense 2 (6 weeks): Covers the skills of digital forensics, incident response, and reporting on an investigation.

The most successful graduates in cybersecurity have come from a wide range of educational backgrounds-- from High School dropouts to Ph.D. degree holders. Basic computer skills are required, but personality traits like determination, persistence, and attention to detail are more important. Having a Security Clearance or being able to get one is an added value to potential employers.

Veterans, transitioning service members, and family members are eligible for preferred tuition rates.

Scholarships from Partners are available:

The Mount Carmel Veterans Service Center

The Mount Carmel Veterans Service Center will provide partial scholarships to Colorado residents. For more information about this scholarship opportunity, contact: marksmith@mtcarmelcenter.org or call 719-309-4724.

The National Military Family Association (NMFA)

The National Military Family Association (NMFA) offers these preferred tuition rates for military spouses applying for Cyber Defender through NMFA. Interested military spouses can apply to NMFA here.


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What students will learn

Given the constantly changing nature of cyber security, an implicit curriculum runs through the program, via which students learn essential cognitive skills that are arguably of equal or greater importance than the lessons related to any given task.


Students will learn key defensive skills including:

  • Thinking like an attacker
  • Network traffic analysis
  • Network and system log analysis
  • Static and dynamic analysis of malicious binaries to identify indicators of compromise
  • Memory forensics
  • Disk forensics
  • Compiling and reporting a comprehensive timeline of a cyber attack
  • Responding to cybersecurity incidents


In addition to technical skills, students will learn and practice the cognitive skills essential for success in all areas of information security, including:

  • Understanding complex, novel problems
  • Effectively researching solutions
  • Designing and testing solutions
  • Self-directed learning

Immediate Immersion

6 weeks @ 25 hours/week

Immediate Immersion is designed to impart basic cybersecurity skills to help students determine if careers in cybersecurity are right for them. The course is designed to teach the skills of thinking like an attacker and basic network traffic analysis.

CyberDefender: Immediate Immersion includes the following tasks:

  • Think Like an Attacker: Exploit a website and fix its vulnerabilities
  • Investigate a potential insider threat
  • Analyze malicious web traffic

At a glance

Who should enroll?

Students who wish to explore a career in cyber security to determine if it is right for them.


The ideal student is intensely curious, unwilling to give up on a problem no matter how difficult it is, and predisposed towards self-directed learning. Only basic computer skills are required, but basic knowledge of computer networks, protocols, and the fundamentals of operating systems is strongly recommended. (We will supply self-study tutorial materials to registered students before the program begins.)

What's next?

Students must successfully complete Immediate Immersion to be permitted to enroll in the next course in this program, Cyber Defense 1. Success will be assessed by a student's mentors whose decision is final.


Cyber Defense 1

6 weeks @ 25 hours/week

Cyber Defense 1 builds on the basic defensive skills and experience students gained in Immediate Immersion. The course is designed to impart a strong foundation of network traffic analysis, log analysis, and malware analysis skills - the fundamental skills required of a security operations center analyst.

Cyber Defense 1 includes the following tasks:

  • Analyze a remote intrusion attempt
  • Investigate an incident using a security information and event management system
  • Begin to understand malware

At a glance

Who should enroll?

Students who have successfully completed Immediate Immersion, as determined by their mentor, and who aspire to professional careers in defensive cyber security.


Successful completion of Immediate Immersion.

What's next?

Students must successfully complete Cyber Defense 1 to enroll in Cyber Defense 2


Cyber Defense 2

6 weeks @ 25 hours/week

Cyber Defense 2 focuses on the skills of memory and disk forensics, reporting, and responding to cybersecurity incidents. Acquiring these skills expands a graduate's career possibilities to include digital forensic analyst and incident responder.

Students work through online, real-life tasks.

  • Examine a compromised host's memory
  • Conduct a forensic disk examination
  • Close your investigation
  • Respond to cyber incidents

At a glance

Who should enroll?

Students who have successfully completed Cyber Defense 1, as determined by their mentor, and who want to learn more about digital forensics and incident response.


Successful completion of Cyber Defense 1.

What's next?

Students who successfully complete all three courses are qualified to seek employment as a security operations center analyst, digital forensic analyst, or incident responder.

I'm interested!


Broadly speaking, there are three categories of prerequisites:

Although you need not be an IT professional or programmer, you should have strong basic computer skills.

You should have the right personality; specifically, you should be:

  • intensely curious about how things work
  • unwilling to give up on a problem no matter how difficult it is
  • highly attentive to detail
  • predisposed to independent learning.

You should be able to devote an honest 25 hours/week to the program.

You don't need to have an IT or computer science background to succeed in cybersecurity. But, successful students need strong basic computer skills, such as the ability to install and run complex applications. If you are unfamiliar with computer networks and protocols, we will recommend materials for you as pre-work. In addition, there are several online tutorials, including some on YouTube that will also be preparation for the kind of research you will perform in the courses.

If you are unsure of your computer skills, we will be glad to provide a pre-assessment.

Immediate Immersion is primarily to enable a person to self-assess if they like the work and believe they will be good at it and also to allow us to assess their likelihood of professional success. It also teaches thinking like an attacker and the basic skills of network traffic analysis.

Cyber Defender 1 focuses on security operations center analyst skills, specifically more advanced network traffic analysis, log analysis, and "lightweight" malware analysis.

Cyber Defender 2 focuses on digital forensics and incident response -- skills that are employed after a breach is discovered.

You must successfully complete all three courses to earn the Cyber Defender Certificate.

A career switcher should certainly take all three courses. A working IT professional, who is specifically interested only in the security operations center role might opt to take only Immediate Immersion and Defender 1; it would be preferred, however for that person to broaden his or her knowledge and skills by taking all three courses.

The three courses build on each other, so they must be taken in order.

Rather than being a progression of typical lecture courses, the Cyber Defender Certificate is 100% project-based learning by doing. Students work through a progression of realistic tasks online in a private cloud environment, learning the necessary knowledge and skills just in time as the knowledge and skills are relevant to what the student is trying to accomplish. As they work, students are supported by help, advice, and feedback from a knowledgeable mentor and extensive online learning resources.

The courses run in cohort form with specific start and end dates. There will be one or two weekly meetings while a course is running that students are required to attend. The course instructor will work with the cohort to determine convenient meeting dates and times. The meetings are required because there are significant benefits to peer-to-peer experience sharing that will only be achieved if students are going through a course together. However, the majority of a student's time during the week is self-scheduled.

The scheduled meetings will take 1-2 hours/week; they are typically held on weekday evenings.

The total time commitment required is 25 hours/week including scheduled mentor meetings and independent work. (Some students opt to spend more time than this.)

Each course is six weeks long at 25 hours/week or 10 weeks long at 15 hours/week. The duration of a course is approximately 150 hours.

Wendy Lehnert, a retired professor from UMass Amherst, is the senior mentor for the program and mentors the Immediate Immersion course. Two other mentors are cybersecurity professionals whose only job is to help you to succeed in the program.

Only the Immediate Immersion course has a required textbook: Practical Packet Analysis: Using Wireshark to Solve Real-world Network Problems (3rd edition) by Chris Sanders. The book is available in printed and electronic form from the publisher, No Starch Press, and from Amazon. You are required to purchase this book, and we suggest that you purchase it from the publisher because the Amazon Kindle version does not have page numbers (which the Immediate Immersion course references) and also because the author receives a higher royalty if you buy the book from the publisher.

You will gain extensive experience with a wide range of professional tools. These include:

  • NetworkMiner
  • Wireshark
  • Splunk
  • Snort
  • Volatility
  • Autopsy
  • Burp Suite
  • HybridAnalysis
  • VirusTotal
  • Any.run

The focus of our program is to give you job-ready skills for an entry-level position, not to teach you to pass a multiple-choice test. If a graduate of the program wants to obtain a certification, we recommend CompTIA Security+ and an inexpensive (~$15) online course to cram for the test. If you opt to self-study for this test, we will provide additional mentoring at no cost.

If you have other question, Contact Us.

*Socratic Arts' Cyber Academy, which trains novices for cybersecurity jobs using our unique Story-Centered, learn-by-doing pedagogy, won a 2019 Brandon Hall gold award for "Best Advance in Unique Learning Technology".

Learn more in our press release.

Brandon Hall Group, Excellence in Technology Awards, Gold 2019

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