I was accepted as SANS Facilitator!

2018-12-19 20:10:00

Great news everyone!

The excitement is palpable!

A number of past colleagues waxed lyrically about SANS trainings: in-depth, high-tech, wizardry, grueling pace and super-hard work! And at the same time one heck of a lot of fun! And I must admit that I've spent quite a few hours browsing their site, drooling at the courses and exams they offer. They certainly are a well known name in the InfoSec world, having a good reputation and being downright famous for their coin challenges and the high level of skill they both garner and require. 

Unfortunately I could never get past the steep bill! Yes, they're very good! But each course rings in around $6000! And their Netwars and exams don't come cheap either! So I just sighed and closed the tab, only to revisit months later. But this year things changed! Somewhere in September I learned something that I should've known before! I don't even remember whether I read about it on Reddit, on Tweakers or on TechExams, but it was a great find nonetheless!

SANS offer what they call the Work/Study Program. To quote their own site:

"The Work Study Program is a popular and competitive method of SANS training which allows a selected applicant the opportunity to attend a live training event as a facilitator at a highly discounted tuition rate. SANS facilitators are cheerful, friendly, and ever-ready professionals who are selected to assist SANS staff and instructors in conducting a positive learning environment. Advantages of the SANS Work Study Program include:

  • Attend and participate in a 4-6 day course
  • Receive related courseware materials
  • Work with Certified Instructors and SANS Staff
  • Attend applicable Vendor Lunch & Learns, SANS@Night, and other Special Events
  • Opportunities to network with security professionals
  • Free corresponding GIAC certification exam attempt [if available], when lodging onsite at the host hotel
  • Request early access to online OnDemand integrated slides and notes [if available]"

How great is that?! By helping out at the event and putting in a lot of hard work, you get a discount, plus a whole wad of extras to make sure you still get the full benefit of the training you signed up for! I decided then and there to apply for the role of Facilitator for the upcoming Amsterdam event, in January 2019.

I honestly did not think I stood much of a chance because, as SANS say, it's highly competitive and SANS often prefer past SANS-students or -facilitators and I am neither. On the upside, I do have a lot of organizational experience in running events, with many thanks to all those years of staffing and volunteering with AnimeCon

I'd almost forgotten about my application, until a few weeks ago when the email above shows up! OMG! O_O I got accepted!

Now that all the paperwork has been settled I also have a better grasp of both my responsibilities and the perks I'll be receiving. I was assigned to SEC566 - Implementing and Auditing Critical Security Controls, a five-day course (the whole event actually last six days). My duties at the event are actually not disimilar to gophering at AnimeCon! I'll be assisting the course's trainer, basically not leaving their side unless they need something from outside. I'll also be responsible for the security of the assigned classroom and will act a sort-of guide and friendly face to the other students. Where "normal" students will have 0900-1700 days, mine will most likely be 0700-1900. That's gonna be tough! The Sunday before the event starts will also be a full workday, preparing the venue with all the cabling, networking, equipment and the book bags for students. 

And that discount we're getting? When I signed up I had not fully understood what SANS wrote on their site:

"The Work Study tuition fee is USD 1,500 or EUR 1,300 plus any VAT depending on the event location. Should you be selected to facilitate a Summit presentation, the fee is $250 or 217 per day plus any VAT for European events. International Tax/VAT will apply for certain events."

A €1300 discount sounded pretty darn good to me, when combined with all those bonuses! Turns out I misunderstood. The final fee is €1300! So on a total value of >$8100, they're discounting me €6800.  O_O

To say I'm stoked for SANS Amsterdam, would be severely understating my situation! I am very grateful for being given this opportunity and I'm going to work my ass off! I'll make sure SANS won't regret having accepted me!

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