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Why do we need open security training?

Why should I teach this material?

Why should I submit my own material?

Why do we need open security training?

There is already a wealth of computer security information openly available in the form of text files or short video tutorials. Different people learn better in different ways. Therefore this site is dedicated specifically to conveying security information in the form of structured instructor-led classes which are one or more days long.

This format is already recognized as being valuable, as evidenced by the plethora of paid training material available in this format. There is nothing wrong with instructors being compensated for their time and effort in giving training. In fact we whole-heartedly support paid training. But it is worth recognizing that most all of this training is just the reiteration of information already freely available in other forms and venues. The instructors are simply selling a structured introduction to the material that in their expert opinions is most necessary and relevant to learn.

However, instructors who are most interested in the conveying of their knowledge are always seeking ways to increase the impact of their training. When the content is only conveyed in classes typically costing a few thousand dollars, most students, even if their business is paying, can only take one or maybe two classes a year. Even a full time instructor will reach at most a few hundred students a year, and a few thousand students in a decade. The thoughtful instructor recognizes that if he enables 10 other instructors of his material, the downstream consequences will be greater than anything he could have achieved on his own.

When a class is made openly available, it can now support more distributed training opportunities. People who already know the content can step into the instructor role, bettering themselves, by drilling down and learning the material well enough to teach, and bettering their subsequent students. This multitude of new instructors can see and fill needs that are going unmet by current training opportunities.

Why should I teach this material?

There are both altruistic as well as selfish reasons for teaching this material, and it doesn’t really matter which appeals to you more, so long as the material gets taught.

On the altruistic front, there is of course the satisfaction that comes from helping others learn. You would most likely not know the material in order to be able to teach it to others, had someone else not helped you to learn it (in school, via zines, or even just via answers on random forums). In that sense you are merely paying forward the altruism of others.

There is also in many the desire to have a large and measurable impact on the security community. If you are an expert in some particular field, and you succeed in pulling 10 other people up to expert level, then the impact those people have will exceed what you could have done alone. You will have a part and pride in that impact. Some people hoard knowledge and lord it over others to maintain a tenuous feeling of superiority. But more reasonable people prefer helping others become peers rather than supplicants. And in the end, all students, whether they become peers or not will bear you good will for having helped them along their way.

Other reasons for teaching this material may depend on your circumstances. For instance, one reason to teach the material may be for internal bootstrapping of new employees into a specialized skill set. This helps reduce dependence on outside training. Your boss will certainly like the money savings, but you will also look good for having stepped up to share your knowledge for the benefit of your company and coworkers. If, on the other hand, there is no particular need or possibility for offering this training at your existing job, you may be able to offer it in other venues. You could parlay an existing reputation into offering the material at a security conference. Or you could use teaching engagements in smaller venues to help build reputation. You could start your own business to give training, or you could join up with existing training outfits to do training as a secondary source of income. You could even adapt materials from this site for the improvement of more traditional college classes.

No matter the reasons, teaching security classes can have profound benefits for you, your students, the security community, and the wider world.

Why should I submit my own material?

The strongest argument is the one articulated above about increasing your impact. When you submit material for others to use, you will be indirectly reaching hundreds and perhaps even thousands more students than you would have been able to on your own. This could have a monumentus impact on the security community by dramatically increasing the rate at which security professionals are trained in the topic areas you think are important.

By submitting content in broad area, such as introductory topics, you can help shape the direction of others’ introductory courses. By submitting content in a specialized area, you can publicly show yourself to be knowledgable in that area. Organizations that perhaps do not have internal people capable of teaching your material may seek to have you teach it for them. The primary purpose of this site is not meant to be an advertising or self-promotion platform; however we will certainly allow instructors who contribute content to indicate their availability to teach the content if they are still interested in providing training.

There are many training sessions which have been given in the past at conferences which are no longer taught. Instructors have a variety of reasons for not teaching follow up classes, from not enough student interest, to not enough instructor time, to obsolescence of the material. When past classes are shared, this can encourage new interest and new possibilities to teach the classes again. But even obsolete training material can be broken down for parts and recycled into new trainings.