Fast track your cybersecurity career for free

Try your luck in a two-day Capture the Flag for the chance to win a $22k scholarship with the SANS Technology Institute

Register for Summer intake

Spring intake closed on March 22.
You are now registering for the Summer intake.


What is Cyber FastTrack?

Cyber FastTrack is the SANS Institute's free cybersecurity program, designed to accelerate college students' entry into the profession without costing them a dime.

Have a go at an online Capture the Flag (CTF) for the chance to earn a scholarship to the SANS Technology Institute. Demonstrate how you can reverse, hack, and decrypt our CTF challenges and you could win the chance to learn from the experts at the SANS Institute. Turn your passion into your profession through industry-standard training.

Before Cyber FastTrack, I hadn't considered a career in cybersecurity. The program helped me discover I had an aptitude for cybersecurity and I am now working as an Information Security Analyst and love it!

Kathleen Bodi, 2019 Scholarship Winner

How it works

01 Take on the challenge

Our online CTF challenges will test your creativity, technical skills and problem-solving ability. Identify your strengths and weaknesses as you analyze forensic data, break into vulnerable websites, recover from ransomware attacks and solve challenges built by the best in the industry.

02 Apply for a scholarship

Top performers in the CTF will be invited to apply for a scholarship. While your application is being considered, you'll have access to CyberStart Game, an incredible online platform full of challenges to hone and improve your cybersecurity skills so you can focus on anything you struggled with.

03 Study at the SANS Technology Institute

The Undergraduate Certificate in Applied Cybersecurity (ACS) at the SANS Technology Institute will prepare you with all the skills needed to start your cybersecurity career. Learn from the best teachers in the industry and gain fundamental technical knowledge that you need to become a professional.

Reasons to take part in Cyber FastTrack

During 2020, 100 top-performing eligible students will win a scholarship to study at the SANS Technology Institute worth $22k.

Scholarship winners will earn 4 SANS immersion courses, 3 industry-recognized GIAC certifications and develop skills in specialized areas of cybersecurity like pen testing, incident response and cyber defense operations.

Who should take part in Cyber FastTrack?

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. There is nothing stopping you using this intake as a practice. Why not play this intake to identify your strengths and weaknesses in cybersecurity, so that you can build your skills in the areas you need and come back to the next intake, ready to win!

Scholarship eligibility

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

  • 18 or older on February 10, 2020.
  • A US Citizen or Permanent Resident.
  • A current student (or recent graduate*) of a regionally accredited college or university and have completed at least 48 college credits.

Students who are previous recipients of a Cyber FastTrack or other SANS Institute scholarships may participate in the Capture the Flag but are not eligible to receive the 2020 scholarship.
* Within the past 24 months.

Since Cyber FastTrack I've had more confidence when applying for technical, security-focused roles. I can't wait until I land my first position and can use the skills I've learned from the program to help solve actual real-world problems.

Jenni Peavler, 2019 Scholarship Winner


During 2020, 100 top-performing eligible students will win a scholarship to study at the SANS Technology Institute

Learn from a world leader in cybersecurity education

While studying at the SANS Technology Institute, you'll investigate issues that affect complex and interconnected IT systems, learn to combat common threats to valuable data, and emerge with hands-on skills employers are seeking.

Flexible learning

Earn your undergraduate cybersecurity certificate in 18 to 24 months while working full-time or pursuing a degree. Or choose an accelerated option to finish in less than a year! Complete the program entirely online or through a mixture of online courses and in-person events across the country. The choice is yours.

Complement your degree

The whole Cyber FastTrack program and the resulting scholarship can be completed alongside your existing studies and commitments, so there is nothing to lose by signing up and giving it your best!

CyberStart laptop
CyberStart student

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 three intakes, so you have three opportunities to gain a scholarship! Scroll down to check the dates.

Program dates

There are three chances to take part in 2020

Spring 2020

Register: February 10 - March 22

CTF: March 26 (00:00 UTC) - March 27 (23:59 UTC)

Scholarship Application Phase: April 2 - April 30

Scholarships Announced: June 1 Program Begins: July 1

Summer 2020 - OPEN NOW

Join us in July so you can enroll in the SANS Technology Institute in late 2020.

Winter 2020

Join us in November so you can enroll in the SANS Technology Institute in early 2021.

Your questions answered

What equipment will I need?

To take part in the CTF, you'll need access to a laptop or desktop with a Virtual Machine (VM) installed. We'd recommend downloading a VM on to your machine and checking 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 Capture the Flag (CTF) start?

You will have 48 hours to complete the challenges in the CTF beginning at 00:00 (UTC) on March 26. Make sure to check how 00:00 (UTC) converts to your local time zone. For example, on the east coast the CTF will begin at 8:00 pm on March 25.

How can I prepare for the CTF?

There are many free resources available on the Internet to improve your cybersecurity skills. We will be recommending our preferred resources on our blog and social media throughout 2020, so follow us for the most up-to-date information!

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 program created by experts at the SANS Institute, the most trusted provider for information security training, cybersecurity certifications, and research. The program exists to ensure thousands of students have 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 so far

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

During 2020

  • 100 students will receive a full scholarship worth $22,000.
  • A total of $2.2 million in scholarships will be awarded.
  • We are running three intakes, so even more students can take part.

About the SANS Technology Institute

Founded in 2005, the SANS Technology Institute is the independent, regionally-accredited, VA-approved subsidiary of SANS, the world's largest and most trusted provider of cybersecurity training, certification, and research. Offering 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 require any help or further information please email and we'll be happy to help.