This is the first of three courses in the Cyber Academy certificate program.

This four-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 will close 11th September for required prep work. Register early to reserve your spot.


Immediate Immersion consists of 3 weeks of instruction with a 4th week that allows for additional project time, mentorship and feedback. 

Week 1: Exploit and Fix a Website Vulnerability

Weeks 2-3: Analyze Malicious Network Traffic  

Week 4: Final Feedback, Reflection and Paths Forward

Who Should Enroll: 

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

Learning Outcomes: 

Students will learn to:

  • Think like an attacker
  • Exploit a common website vulnerability
  • Crack a password
  • Analyze network traffic at the packet level
  • Recognize malware being transferred to a host
  • Recognize the identifying features of an exploit kit attack


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.

No prior formal computer training is required, and 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.

Get Ahead:

If you are ready to dive in or unsure if 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 resources:

  • Chapters 1, 7, 8, & 9 of Practical Packet Analysis: Using Wireshark to Solve Real-world Network Problems by Chris Sanders (3rd edition), 2017. No Starch Press.
  • Videos 1-3, located here.

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