Fast-track your cybersecurity career for free by winning a scholarship

Test your security skills in a two-day online competition for the chance to win a scholarship worth $18k from the world’s largest and most trusted cybersecurity college

Register for Spring intake

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The fastest and most cost-effective route to your online cybersecurity degree

Cybersecurity can appear a daunting industry to navigate. The barriers to entry may seem too high and employer-desired skills and certificates are expensive to attain. That is why the SANS Institute launched the Cyber FastTrack scholarship competition designed to accelerate and support students with an interest in and passion for cybersecurity.

To qualify, college students from across the United States are invited to take part in a two-day online challenge event.

This program sparked a hidden interest of mine in cyber security and I'm sure it has for other students across the nation.

Previous CFT student

Prove yourself by landing among the top scorers and you could win:

Is Cyber FastTrack for me?

Whether you're still working on your degree or have recently graduated - you can take part in Cyber FastTrack! You don't need any prior cybersecurity experience, just a passion and enthusiasm to take on our challenges.

Students not yet employed in cybersecurity are eligible to apply for full scholarships. Those already employed in cybersecurity for less than 12 months may be eligible for partial scholarships.

Find our full scholarship eligibility criteria here.
Fast

Compete in our free scholarship competition and begin your cybersecurity courses in the summer of 2021. There isn't a faster path to industry.

Free

Cyber FastTrack is the only program that will accelerate your entry into the cybersecurity profession without costing you a dime. Prove your skills and we will provide the rest.

Flexible

Compete in Cyber FastTrack online in your free time alongside your current degree or other commitments. The entire Cyber FastTrack program can be completed while you continue your existing studies and commitments.

First-class

Those who enter the program will learn everything they’ll need to launch a successful cybersecurity career by taking four highly-in-demand SANS immersion courses and earning three industry-recognized GIAC certifications.

Watch our free information session

Join us for a free on-demand information session. Hear from Cyber FastTrack creator James Lyne on what the competition looks like, Kim Kafka on the structure of the SANS scholarship and a previous scholarship winner on his Cyber FastTrack experience.

Watch now

Take on the challenge

Test your security skills in an intense two-day online challenge event created by experts at the SANS Technology Institute.

Evaluate your skills across various security disciplines

During the competition, your knowledge will be tested across many security topics. Are you a binary exploitation expert? Maybe forensics is your forte? Whatever your background knowledge and experience, there will be fun challenges exploring topics ranging from offensive to reversing and crypto!

Race to the top of the leaderboard

The competition is run in a jeopardy style format with challenges organized into categories of difficulty. Target the advanced challenges for higher points or solve our easy challenges to put points on the board. Whatever your technique, you’ll be able to keep an eye on your position on our live leaderboard.

Play on our unique Capture-the-Flag platform

Immerse yourself in our Tomahawque platform where for 48 hours you will be addicted to the leaderboard, engrossed by our unique challenge briefings, and earn poised to earn progress badges!

Number of players from the
Spring 2020 intake

CFT players

Top scoring players from Spring 2020

CFT podium

For a deeper look, visit the

Hall of Fame

Cyber FastTrack has been my first opportunity to practice some of the technical concepts hands on.

Alex Baker, Cyber FastTrack student

Apply for a scholarship

During 2021, up to 100 top-performing eligible students will win a scholarship to study at the SANS Technology Institute.

Learn from a world leader in cybersecurity education

Up to 50 top-performing students per intake will be invited to apply for a full scholarship to the accredited Undergraduate Certificate in Applied Cyber Security program. Those who enter the program will learn everything they’ll need to launch a successful cybersecurity career by taking four highly-in-demand SANS immersion courses and earning three industry-recognized GIAC certifications. And it will all be for free!

$1,000 scholarships for making the finals

Finalists in the competition won’t leave empty-handed, as there are up to 100 additional $1,000 scholarships available to use at the accredited US college of your choice.

SANS Cyber Foundations Immersion Academy

The top 400 eligible participants in each competition will get access to the SANS Cyber Foundations Immersion Academy. This multi-week online program is centered around the nationally recognized SANS Cyber Foundations online training course, worth over $3,000, plus a program of supporting enrichment activities, including talks by America’s top cybersecurity experts with tech updates, and industry employers on cyber careers.

CyberStart laptop

Scholars

The program has two annual intakes, so you have two opportunities to gain a scholarship!

Think carefully about which intake you want to compete in. If you're successful, you must take your scholarship in line with your intake date. The program has two intakes, so you have two opportunities to gain a scholarship! Scroll down to check the dates.

This program sparked a hidden interest of mine in cyber security and I'm sure it has for other students across the nation.

Previous CFT student

Program dates

There are two chances to take part in 2021

Spring 2021 - OPEN NOW

Register: Until March 31

CTF: April 5 - April 7

Scholarship Application Phase: April 20 – May 21

Scholarships Announced: Jun 25

SANS.edu Program Begins: August 1st / September 1st

Fall 2021 - Likely dates, to be confirmed

Cyber FastTrack is the most immersive and challenging CTF I’ve found! Most are focused on either hacking, forensics, or programming but Cyber FastTrack covers all three.

Joshua Levine, Cyber FastTrack student

Your questions answered

What are the criteria to be eligible for a scholarship?

While all students can participate in the online challenge event for fun, to be eligible for the full scholarship to the SANS Technology Institute you must be:

  • 18 or older on the CTF start date.
  • A US citizen or permanent resident.
  • Students who have completed at least 48 college credits from regionally accredited college or university, or obtained the equivalent international education.
  • Students not yet employed in cybersecurity. Those already employed in cybersecurity for less than 12 months may be eligible for partial scholarships.

Note: Students who are previous recipients of a Cyber FastTrack or other SANS Institute scholarships may participate in the CTF event but are not eligible to receive a 2021 scholarship.

What equipment will I need?

To take part in the CTF event, you'll need access to a laptop or desktop with a Virtual Machine (VM) installed. To prepare yourself, we recommend that you download a VM on to your machine and check it works before the CTF opens so you're prepared.

How do you determine who gets a scholarship?

After the CTF competition, we will invite the top-performing, eligible students to complete a scholarship application. We will review applications holistically looking not only at scores from the CTF but also academic history, responses to application questions, and the potential impact the scholarship could have on a student’s career. If you aren’t selected in this intake, don’t give up! Come back and try again in the next round.

When does the online challenge event start?

You will have 48 hours to complete the challenges in the CTF. Dates are listed here.

How can I prepare for the online challenge event?

There are many free resources available on the Internet to improve your cybersecurity skills. We will be recommending our preferred resources via email in the run up to the next competition. Make sure you are registered for the next intake to receive these exclusive hints and tips!

Cyber FastTrack has been my first opportunity to practice some of the technical concepts hands on.

Alex Baker, 2019 Scholarship Winner

About us

Cyber FastTrack is a free, online scholarship competition created by experts at the SANS Institute, the most trusted cybersecurity college and provider of information security training, cybersecurity certifications, and research. The program aims to provide thousands of students with the opportunity to enter the cybersecurity industry.

Our mission

To rapidly eliminate the cybersecurity skills gap in the United States by providing scholarships for students with an innate talent for cybersecurity to study at the SANS Technology Institute.

Our impact to date

  • Over 15,000 students have taken part in Cyber FastTrack.
  • 200 students have each received $500 in scholarships.
  • 100 students have each received a scholarship to study the undergraduate certificate in Applied Cybersecurity at the SANS Technology Institute.

During 2021

  • Up to 100 students will receive a full scholarship worth $17,875.
  • Additional high-performing students will receive a $1,000 scholarship to be used at any accredited US college of their choice.
  • The top 400 students in each CTF round will be invited to the Cyber Foundations Immersion Academy, worth over $3,000.
CFT rocket taking of on its mission

About the SANS Technology Institute

Founded in 2005, the SANS Technology Institute (STI) is the nation's first accredited and VA-approved all-cyber university and the world's largest and most trusted provider of cybersecurity training, certification, and research. STI offers graduate and undergraduate programs at the cutting edge of cybersecurity, SANS is strengthening the cyber workforce through a career-focused curriculum built on proven SANS courses and industry-recognized GIAC certifications.

If you need any additional information or further assistance please email us at:
hello@cyber-fasttrack.org and we'll be happy to help.