When teaching cybersecurity concepts in K-12 schools it can be quickly assumed that these specific skills are best left to the grade 6-12 era of education. The problem with assuming this is it disregards all of the life skills involved in a career in cybersecurity. One recent video game that I’ve found can prepare kids as young as 8 years old to excel in a future career in cybersecurity. So what game is it?
Jurassic World Evolution for the PC, PlayStation and Xbox One consoles has everything a cybersecurity company would be looking for in regards to training a future workforce starting at the age of 8 or older. Before you stop reading let me explain why. The game can teach and instill multiple skills needed to not only get a job in the cybersecurity fields but to also thrive as an employee or employer in that field.
Rated T for Teen but the world disagrees!
Disaster Response - Calm Under Pressure
Oh, No! A tornado just appeared out of nowhere and is ripping apart your carnivore cages! The ability to stay calm and prioritize your response is key. First you have to open the emergency shelters for guests, Then, you have to rebuild walls to keep the threats inside their designated areas. You have to restore power and essential services and get those ranger teams out for repairs. You know that certain dinosaurs need the correct balance of forest and grasslands so you have to replace trees destroyed by the tornado. You have to do it every time there is a storm and as fast as possible to limit your park rating drop, and to ensure guests can continue to enjoy the park’s experience outside of the shelters. It is true magic to watch an 8-year-old take a deep breath and then execute this disaster response without blinking an eye, anxiety free.
From the moment you open the park you need to have enough power, emergency shelters, feeding stations, hotels and many other aspects planned and in place. This proactive work will go a long way in preventing unwanted events later on. Do you double up the walls in the carnivore pen or is there a better solution? How much forest do the huge Brachiosaurus need and can this be fixed on the fly without risk to guests? Did you remove the dead dinosaur before it poisoned the rest of the group? All of these efforts will be tested and players can respond to the tests with new knowledge and apply better park management. You can schedule ranger team feeding resupplies, genetically make new dinosaurs in the Hammond Research Centre because you know a current dinosaur is social and needs friends, and you can even genetically alter dinosaurs proactively to better survive in their environment.
Business as Usual - Financing
All of the guest amenities in the park including bowling alleys, restaurants, arcades, bars and shopping areas need management. How much do you charge for night-vision goggles at the gift shop to make sure you maximize profit but don’t limit your market? How many staff do you hire at each location? Dinosaurs cost a lot of money to create, so is your park getting enough guest action to warrant releasing a 2 million dollar dino? Will the investment in that new dinosaur raise your park rating? Is it worth completing a “Science Mission” that will reward you $350,000 if it involves creating 3 dinosaurs you aren’t ready for and costs $240,000? Will adding a Savannah Skin Pattern to your Raptor market better with audiences? Cybersecurity is a business that also deals with huge profits and huge losses. Getting students ready to handle choices that result in millions of dollars lost or earned can better equip them for the lucrative and risk-filled cybersecurity sector as employers.
Research is the cornerstone of Jurassic Park and also Cybersecurity. If you are not up on the latest research you are not ready for the newest risks. When a dinosaur gets sick with Avian Flu, if you haven’t researched the cure (or budgeted enough money to be able to do so immediately) your 2 million dollar Brachiosaurus is going to drop dead. If you aren’t sending regular Field Teams out to dig for DNA your dinosaurs will be less likely to survive the birth in the Hammond Research Centre, or, thrive in their environment and live a full life. A virus is a threat to both dinosaurs and cybersecurity companies and research is the solution in both worlds!
Life Finds A Way!
An unwanted event is bound to happen in the cybersecurity world. Just like in Jurassic World those employed in the sector need skills and competencies that extend beyond your CISSP standards and knowledge. Creating an ideal cybersecurity employee should start early and through games like Jurassic World Evolution key skills can be learned in an effective and engaging way. Life will find a way and game-based learning of this caliber can have students ready for life at all times! We can't all live in a bubble.