About me: 2 parts tinkerer, 2 parts teacher, 100% about people

Hi! My name is Luke Jones. I’m education lead at picoCTF.

I’ve been engaging with capture-the-flag (CTF) competitions since 2010. At that time, I was part of the first organized effort towards a CTF team at the Air Force Academy (USAFA). Everyone on our team tended towards having specialties… mine were reverse engineering, forensics, and other weird stuff (my favorite being “Core Wars”, assembly programs fighting like gladiators…) I wasn’t even interested in network security before attending USAFA, but joining the first Cyber Competition Team (aka Delusions of Grandeur) had definite appeal to an explorer like myself and many of my friends in the computer science major joined as well.

For many, the cyber security CTF culture is driven by competition, and any educator who has been in the room with students playing picoCTF certainly has seen evidence of that! But my story is evidence that it is not just about competition. CTF’s have a way of bringing learners together and giving them a common goal. Like most enterprises in my life, playing in CTF’s was just as much about the people around me as it was about travel, competition, training, even the (highly) marketable skills…

I started teaching cyber security within the same year that I started studying it. Teaching for me has always been one of my favorite ways to help people and though I’ve taught some hundreds of students, it always has been on the side for me thus far. One of my strengths as an educator is to see many sides of any topic. In this forum, especially, I think I can help bridge the gap between CTF competitors and teachers, as I have been both since I’ve started exploring this exciting new field of cyber security.

A weakness I perceive in my understanding of how picoCTF relates to its target audience is my lack of experience as a full-time educator; even more so, as a full-time educator in the secondary education system. I have much to learn in this regard. That is why I’m excited for our first year launching this Discourse forum for educators! I love learning and I love people and I hope that this forum will facilitate both well.

I would love to hear a bit of your story if you want to create another topic in this category!

Cheers,
LT ‘syreal’ Jones
picoCTF Education Lead
USAFA Cyber Competition Team '10 - '13