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Cyber Defense Analyst Program



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The Why Behind the Course

Unsatisfied with generic and costly bootcamps, we saw a gap: cybersecurity is not entry-level. It's a field demanding immediate mid-level expertise.

Our vision? A true-to-life trade school experience. We crafted the Cyber Defense Analyst Program to be challenging yet direct, focusing on essential, on-the-job skills rather than unnecessary fluff.

In this program, you're more than a student; you're a Cybersecurity Analyst in a SOC setting, tackling real malware threats and security challenges faced by today's enterprises. This is not just learning; it's immersive preparation for the cybersecurity front lines.

Course Description

This course is designed for individuals that want to become proficient in skills required for SOC Tier 1 and 2 Analyst roles.

During the first 8 weeks, you'll engage in self-paced and live class content from Mon-Thurs at 7-9PM CST. The self-paced modules include lectures, labs, assignments, and assessments, preparing you for interactive live sessions where you'll handle malware scenarios as a team, compile reports, and present findings. The live classes are not to zone out to - they are very engaging back and forth with other students and instructors.

For the final 5 weeks, you'll work as a Cybersecurity Analyst in our VSOC, addressing tickets generated by intrusion detection tools. You'll utilize industry-standard platforms, incident response playbooks, and report weekly to a SOC Manager.

To graduate, you must submit reports demonstrating resolution of all tickets, validated by an instructor, earning you a completion badge.

This is what you'll earn: Cyber Defense Analyst Program Graduate - Digital Badge

You'll also earn 59 credits towards a Bachelor of Science at Purdue University Global or any other path with equivalent credit requirements, should you wish to pursue it.


Learning Outcomes

  • Graduates of this program will be prepared to operate within a Security Operations Center (SOC) at both Tier 1 and Tier 2 levels.

  • Be capable of monitoring and analyzing security events, managing incidents, and responding to security issues, as well as performing in-depth analysis and escalation of complex threats and vulnerabilities.

Note - we've successfully trained students from 0 experience to Tier 2+ SOC Analysts, including Senior Threat Hunters over the past four years. Our training  outcomes can improve many adjacent Cybersecurity & IT roles.



  • Complete all three of our free pre-requisite Fundamentals courses:

  • Willingness to Learn: Strong interest and commitment to learning cybersecurity concepts and practices.

  • IT Experience: 0-1 year of IT-related experience, either self-taught or professional, is recommended but not required.

  • Basic Computer Skills: Understanding of fundamental computer and internet operations.


Who is CDA Live For Versus CDA On-Demand?

  • Students that benefit from learning in an interactive live class environment instead of self-paced content, and prefer a personalized and tailored ability to ask questions with immediate feedback or clarification on concepts.

  • Those interested in developing report writing and live presentation skills with  feedback provided immediately, or interested in feedback on your assignments submitted including an in-depth VSOC report review.

  • Brand new students to IT/Cybersecurity, or career changes that want to benefit from technical 1 on 1s and mock interviews, and career support services.

  • Review the feature comparison table below.






Hands-on Labs

John Hammond's Thoughts

This is what John Hammond had to say about the first iteration of this course.

And guess what? It's only gotten better.


Sandra - Tech & Lifestyle's Review

Sandra's reviewed a lot of training programs... hear what she has to say about our real SOC experience.


Hear From the Co-Founders How We Started

Learn about the origin story of Level Effect, why we made our original Cyber Defense Analyst program, and the problems we aimed to solve in the cybersecurity training landscape.



Why Our Cyber Defense Analyst Program?

No frills, no fluff

The Cyber Defense Analyst Program is a fast-paced, 14-week program aligned to the NIST workforce role of a Cyber Defense Analyst. Learn the skills you'll need to be a SOC analyst—by doing the job.

Bridge the gap between theory and practice

During the first eight weeks, you'll develop the competencies you'll need to successfully mitigate, contain, and respond to security threats. This is achieved through live classes, real-world scenarios, and practical assessments.

Security Operations Center (SOC) Training

The last four weeks of the class will be spent working in a virtualized Security Operations Center (SOC) environment. You'll have tickets to triage and manage and will report to your SOC manager every week—just like you'd do on the job.

Career prep and technical interview practice

Get job-ready in our dedicated career curriculum that will take you from creating and polishing your resume and social profiles to networking and building your brand. We'll then round it out with real 1-on-1 technical interviews and strategies to succeed.

Lifelong learning access

Buy the course once and own it forever—including future updates and improvements made. Graduates will also have access to our alumni network and will receive extended career support.

Learn how to hunt for the adversary

Discover the art of outsmarting hackers as you master the craft of dissecting authentic malware samples, forcing them to toil for their entry into your digital domains.

Our cybersecurity training program counts as 59 credits toward a Cybersecurity Degree at Purdue University Global

If your goal is to earn a cybersecurity degree, our Cyber Defense Analyst Program is a good pit stop.

Purdue University Global recognizes our Cyber Defense Analyst Program as having the material to cover 59 credits toward their Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity degree.

🔗 Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity Credit Mapping Link

🔗 CDA Credit Mapping Link


Explore the 14 Week Curriculum

Learning Modules

Check out our modules and screenshots of course content below. You can also find the full syllabus here to get a complete breakdown of what's covered: Cyber Defense Analyst Program Syllabus (LINK)

Network protocol analysis is crucial in detect ing anomalies or malicious activities, such as identifying unauthorized data exfiltration attempts or intrusions by analyzing packet headers and payloads.
Email header analysis is critical in uncovering the origin and authenticity of emails, such as identifying spoofed sender addresses, mitigating phishing attacks, and preventing unauthorized access to sensitive information.
The ability to present findings on a malicious email live to an instructor allows for immediate feedback, enhancing learning and refining analysis skills in real-time.
Utilizing tools like Autoruns for Windows triage is crucial for learning how to efficiently identify and mitigate potential security threats by examining auto-starting programs, services, and registry entries.
Inspecting the code behind malware is essential for understanding its behavior, identifying its capabilities, and devising effective countermeasures.
Conducting adversary emulation enables organizations simulation of real-world attacks, while inspecting corresponding log data of the attack facilitates the identification of gaps in defenses.
Inspecting malicious code in logs is crucial for detecting and mitigating cyber threats, such as identifying patterns indicative of malware infection or unauthorized access attempts.
Understanding how to triage a persistence mechanism is important to understand  mitigating threats like registry key modifications, and preventing adversaries from maintaining unauthorized access to compromised systems.
Understanding web applications in cybersecurity is crucial for identifying and mitigating vulnerabilities like code injection attacks, due to the many ways arbitrary user input can be achieved.
Preparing vulnerability mitigation reports is being able to effectively communicate identified vulnerabilities, their potential impact, and recommended remediation steps to stakeholders, facilitating informed decision-making and proactive risk management.
Being able to research and work with cyber threat intelligence is paramount in cybersecurity for proactively identifying emerging threats, understanding adversary tactics, and implementing effective defense strategies to safeguard your network.
Incident response playbooks in cybersecurity enables organizations to swiftly identify and mitigate security breaches, minimize damage to systems and data, and enhance overall resilience against future threats.
Preparing reports from an incident response perspective is valuable for documenting and analyzing incident details, identifying root causes, and informing stakeholders to improve incident handling processes and enhance overall security posture.
The ability to create detection rules in essential for configuring intrusion detection systems to analyze network traffic and identify patterns indicative of malicious activity, facilitating timely threat detection and response.
Analyzing malicious code and creating detection rules is a proactive measure in identifying and mitigating evolving threats, enabling timely detection of malicious activity, and enhancing the resilience of defense mechanisms.
The ability to craft rules and queries in SIEMs is important for configuring robust log analysis mechanisms, enabling the correlation of disparate security events, and facilitating the identification of anomalous activities or potential security breaches.
9VSOC -enhance-1x
Gaining experience in a virtual SOC is essential for preparing SOC Tier 1 and 2 analysts for real-world scenarios by providing hands-on exposure to diverse security incidents, tools, and procedures, thereby enhancing their proficiency and readiness in cybersecurity operations.

Cyber Defense Certified Professional (CDCP) Exam

Take on our signature CDCP exam post-graduation: a one-week, all-practical challenge, reflecting everything from the Cyber Defense Analyst Program. No multiple-choice—just real-world tasks. Your course includes two attempts. Conquer the challenges, craft detailed reports, and submit them for personalized instructor feedback. Dive in, apply your knowledge, and prove your expertise.

This what you'll earn: CDCP Certification or CDCP Gold Certification


The Cyber Defense Certified Professional badge is a testament to tradecraft mastery. Badge holders have demonstrated a practical ability to hunt, discover, and defend networks from a multitude of threats, whether they come from inside or outside the network.


Takers who exceed the requirements for CDCP certification are awarded the Gold CDCP status. This badge sets the taker apart by showcasing their mastery of the tradecraft required to conduct sophisticated cyber analysis and investigations.

Learn More

On-Demand vs Live Comparison

CDA On-Demand (Self-Paced) CDA Live (Instructor-led)
Course Access Time
See below the on-demand package table. We expect to drip content in every 6-12 months with updates from feedback and expect to make major revisions every 1-2 years.
Limited to packages below
Technical & Virtual SOC Syllabus
The technical content is exactly the same between on-demand and live.
Career Prep Syllabus
The career support syllabus is the same between on-demand and live.
Cyber Range Access
See below for package levels. You do NOT need to install any virtual machines for this course.
Limited to packages below
Unlimited during cohort, additional can be purchased after
CDCP Attempts Included
Private Discord Channels
Support & Help Requests
Students can submit help tickets within a private Discord channel. We'll respond within 1-2 business days at most.
First priority support
Awards 59 Credits towards a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity at Purdue University Global
Live Instructor Led Classes
The technical content will be the same between the two. The difference with CDA Live is that instructors lead four classes per week instructing some of the harder content per module, and taking questions and answers.
SOC Manager Live Review Class
During the Virtual SOC weeks, an instructor will conduct walkthroughs with the class with Q&A provided once per week.
Individual & Group Presentations with Live Feedback
Live Technical 1 on 1s
Live 1 on 1s are technical interviews for SOC Analyst 1 and 2 roles.
Live Career Support
A port of the first several weeks in live is dedicated to group career support discussion, with Q&A.
Mock Technical Interviews, Resume & LinkedIn Reviews
See below
Personalized Feedback on VSOC Report Submissions
Recordings of Live Classes from Cohort
Each live class in a cohort is recorded. The CDA Live students will have access to their cohort recordings forever.
TBD - $500 to $1500 range based on package levels.
Financing Plans
We have financing plans available through Klarna and Affirm. More details coming soon.
Yes - Monthly, Buy Now Pay Later
Yes - Monthly, Buy Now Pay Later
Upgrade to Live
Pay the difference of what you paid versus $5000 to partake in the next available cohort with all the benefits included.
  Waitlist Registration Apply Now
Package Access Starter Premium Lifetime Live
90 Days
180 Days

Included Cyber Range Hours (can purchase more while access remains)



Coming soon!
Coming soon!
Coming soon!

Cost of Attendance

Yes, our pricing might surprise you compared to other bootcamps. But here's the thing: we're not a bootcamp. We evolved from that initial label into something more unique – a trade school focused on the essence of cybersecurity. Discover our roots in our recorded origin story.

Our latest curriculum cuts to the chase: hands-on, technical skills for real-world application. Immerse yourself in our virtualized SOC, a true-to-life simulation of your future role. Forget outdated objectives and bloated disconnected content. There's no need to pay for 2-3 weeks in python and 2-3 weeks in compliance and 2-3 weeks in "ethical hacking" to perform SOC Analyst Tier 1 and 2 work. This is learning with purpose.

Financing Options

Pay later or pay on a monthly plan? we have options for you to consider. Check out our financing table.

Learn More

Open Doors Scholarship

As a company, we’ve committed a portion of each cohort for accessible education, ensuring we remove financial barriers for those who need a hand.

Learn More

Active Duty Military or Veteran?

We're proud to partner with VetSec, a non-profit organization whose mission is to help employ all veterans who want to pursue a career in cybersecurity.

We provide TWO VetSec members with a full scholarship to attend our program each cohort. In addition, VetSec members receive a $500 discount on our listed course price.

Details on how to apply are available to VetSec members. 

Thank you for your service!
*Please note that our Open Doors scholarship is not open to recipients of a VetSec scholarship.

Register at VetSec


Frequently Asked Questions

The next cohort starts in:









Fall '24 Cohort

Aug 5, 2024

Winter '25 Cohort

Jan 20, 2025

So, do you have what it takes?

Apply Now