THOUSAND OAKS, California., May 18, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Today, SynED, a national non-profit organization that identifies emerging best practices for effective articulation between employers, job seekers and training providers, announced that Franz Payeur was chosen as its national Cyber Hero for May 2021.
Pay is the CEO of Cyber Skyline, a leading provider of cybersecurity education and training for more than 100,000 students and professionals around the world. He founded the company in 2014 after noticing gaps in the field of training while pursuing his bachelor’s degree at the University of Maryland.
“Cyber Skyline started out as a dormitory project when I got frustrated with the cyber contests that were going on,” Payer said. “It was a lot of one-off things and I wanted to build a more cohesive experience.”
Payer built a prototype of hands-on exercises that could accompany workshops and landed a contract with the National Cyber League before completing his studies. He turned the project into a full-time business once he graduated.
Cyber Skyline offers training for high school and college students, as well as professional development for IT and cybersecurity workers, on an easy-to-use platform. Businesses and schools can create easily accessible content and sow the seeds of lifelong learning as the field continues to evolve.
The company was the platform of choice for three regional competitions of the California Mayors Cyber Cup, a team competition with teams from cities in the respective regions competing for possession of the perpetual Mayors Cyber Cup.
Participants have created Cyber Skyline profiles which will also display any other courses or training they have taken on the platform. These credentials can also be shared on LinkedIn or other social media platforms so that students are ready to build careers with potential employers and foster a greater sense of community in cybersecurity education. The platform also includes a job directory that highlights entry-level jobs and allows employers to assess applicants.
“Cyber security is just a scary area because the media mystifies it, so it doesn’t seem relevant to most people,” Payer said. “We’re trying to create a space where people can work together as a team and create that social proof of what they’re doing.”
Cyber Skyline is also the hosting platform for the National Cyber League, one of the premier esports events in the United States and one of the largest cyber competitions in the country with over 10,000 students from 450 colleges and universities represented.
Payer said Cyber Skyline also offers businesses the ability to support their own employees and “pay up” for future generations of the cyber workforce. With thousands of cybersecurity jobs unfilled each year, Payer has heard from companies who want to support e-education in any way they can to ensure they have candidates who can jump in after graduation.
“All businesses need to be secure, but small and medium-sized businesses don’t have the resources to send people offsite for training or bring someone in,” Payer said. “A lot of companies have small budgets and are looking for self-paced apprenticeship training, which is where we see ourselves adapting.”
Keith Bertolino, CEO of digital forensics training company Cipher Tech Solutions, described Pay as a cybersecurity industry maverick that has revolutionized cyber competitions and immersive cyber training.
“Cyber Skyline has taken our industry by storm,” said Bertolino. “This is the first company I have seen materially improving the entire lifecycle to attract, train, test and place the motivated talent that national security jobs demand… an incredible accomplishment.”
David Zeichick, assistant professor of computer science at CSU Chico, said his students have competed in 10 Cyber Skyline competitions, including the National Cyber League. Zeichick said the events were well received by the students and set them up for long-term professional success.
“I realized that the challenge categories that Franz and his team selected were a perfect match for what I considered to be foundational knowledge for the security industry,” Zeichick said. “Cyber Skyline’s NCL competition has allowed my students to improve their security knowledge in an engaging way where they hardly think it’s schoolwork.”
Cyber Skyline was well positioned when COVID-19 hit because the company already offered distance learning options. Pay sees distance education becoming an even more important part of cybersecurity education in the future – and as a way to fill the skills gaps that currently exist in the cyber workforce.
“The current trend is to go more online with boot camps and programs that can be done remotely,” Payer said. “The fact that education becomes more online is helping us reach more people the education system cannot accommodate using traditional methods.”
About Cyber Skyline
Cyber Skyline is a leading provider of cybersecurity experiences for more than 100,000 students and professionals in United States, Australia, and Singapore. It is a revolutionary cloud platform for practicing, developing and measuring technical cybersecurity skills and is used in both educational and professional contexts.
SynED’s CyberHero series, which highlights cyber heroes who quietly go above and beyond to help secure our nation and communities, is a nationally published monthly column. SynED is a nonprofit organization that acts as a catalyst to help colleges and other higher education partners equip students with the skills they need to enrich their lives through education, knowledge and skills. ‘acquisition of skills, thus offering them rich career opportunities. SynED also maintains a community for CTE professionals on Cyber-Guild.org®.