Cybersecurity: Immediate Immersion


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This is the first of three courses in the Cybersecurity Certificate Program.

This six-week course is designed to impart basic cybersecurity skills while helping students to decide if a career in cybersecurity is right for them. Development of the 100% project-based, learn-by-doing program was funded in part by the Department of Defense (under agreement C5-16-0023), and the curriculum was designed in conjunction with DoD and industry experts. Students work independently through a progressive series of realistic tasks, receiving one-on-one feedback and assistance from an expert mentor.

Note: Registration for Immediate Immersion closes one week before the course start date. Register early to reserve your spot.


Immediate Immersion consists of 5 weeks of instruction with a 6th week that allows for additional project time, mentorship and feedback. 

Week 1-1.5: Exploit a website

Weeks 1.5-3: Insider threat

Weeks 4-5: Analyze malicious network traffic

Week 6: Final feedback, reflection and paths forward

Who Should Enroll: 

Students who wish to explore if a career in cybersecurity is right for them.

Students who are comfortable with:

  • Navigating file directories in Windows, macOS, or Linux
  • Downloading and installing applications
  • Learning the basics of using an application from an online tutorial
  • Using Google Search to get help with an application 
  • Following detailed instructions 
  • Experimenting when instructions aren't clear
  • Working on highly detail-oriented tasks
  • Setting a weekly work schedule and sticking to it
Learning Outcomes: 

Students will learn to:

  • Distinguish between true and false positive alerts
  • Analyze network traffic (packet capture [PCAP] files)
  • Identify vulnerabilities based on vulnerability scans
  • Distinguish between attacks and vulnerability scans
  • Analyze suspicious user behavior
  • Recognize malware being transferred to a host
  • Recognize the identifying features of an exploit kit attack

by using the following tools:

  • NetworkMiner – network traffic analysis
  • Wireshark – network traffic analysis
  • Burp Suite – testing websites for vulnerabilities
  • John the Ripper – password cracking
  • VirusTotal – malware analysis
  •  Linux operating system
  • Snort – intrusion detection

This is an intensive, learn-by-doing program. Students should expect to participate a minimum of 25 hours per week throughout the program. While it is certainly possible to complete the program while working full-time, students are strongly encouraged to consider this time commitment. 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.

Many successful information security professionals have backgrounds in widely different fields. However, those without prior knowledge of computer networks, protocols, and operating systems fundamentals will need to complete pre-course self-study. Tutorial materials will be provided to registered students before the program begins. 

In order to advance to subsequent courses, students must accomplish designated performance objectives, demonstrate thorough understanding of software used throughout the course, submit high-quality written work and actively contribute to weekly student meetings. A passing grade of 85% or better is needed to continue to Defense

Get Ahead:

If you are ready to dive in or are unsure that Immediate Immersion is right for you, try your hand at the recommended pre-work:

1. Download Wireshark and independently complete the following labs from Wireshark Labs

  • Getting started, v7.0
  • HTTP, v7.0
  • DNS, v7.01

2. Learning resource: Videos 1-3, located here.

3. Career resource: explore what it takes to start a career in cybersecurity. 

Continuing Education Hours: 
Continuing Education Units: 12.5 CEUs
Applies Towards Certificates:

Find additional information about available discounts.

Textbook Information: 

Practical Packet Analysis: Using Wireshark to Solve Real-world Network Problems by Chris Sanders (3rd edition) and published by No Starch Press. Additional information will be provided during class.

Additional Information: 

Students must have a reasonably modern personal computer and a high-speed internet connection.

For withdrawal, transfer and refund information, see Policy Code D.