This year we used a different approach where we accepted everyone who applied and showed up for the interview.
Out of 35 applications, 29 attended the interview.
Out of 29 applicants, 4 finished all the assigned tasks.
Final Syllabus: Available at Notion
At the end of the 2021 cycle, we asked the candidates in the program to:
Write a letter to our 2022 applicant telling them about your 2021 experience with gajabaar (250-500 words). Use this as a moment to reflect upon your past two months of working with us. What was your impression going in? Did we live up to it/surpass it/let you down? In what ways? Do you have tips for our future applicant?
The letters have been reproduced exactly as they were submitted (with possible exception of removing identification).
When I first heard about the program, I was very excited to join but I was in dilemma whether to join or not since my university classes were about to start. But after realizing the classes would run online, I decided to join. The first week was overwhelming and so fun especially bandit. The following weeks were very engaging and provided a lot of new knowledge as well. I got stuck at various places but overcame them easily until the lab of sqli came in. I think the mentors and volunteers were beyond my expectation in their enthusiasm to provide us the knowledge, resources and help. Mentors always responded to my queries and were very friendly. The only tip I have for future applicant is make sure you have enough time to work on the materials and be consistent with each week otherwise things pile up and motivation goes downhill.
“Dear applicant, You might be unsure about whether this program is right for you. If you love all the details in how computers work, you will definitely enjoy this. If you are curious enough to poke around ‘computer things’ then you might even know some of the content covered here! This was definitely the case for me. Still, what you will get out of this is two things. An encouraging community and commitment to learning (for me it did). You will need to work on the lab seriously if you want to get anything out of this program. The lectures are good but in the end you wont learn anything without the labs!
What I loved the most about Gajabaar is the selection of labs! (I would never have done all of the labs that I have done if not for Gajabaar) Labs just kept me interested and eager to do the next challenge.
Its a shame we couldn’t complete what I was most interested in, Binary Exploitation. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen to you. Overall, I love that now, I at least understand so many things about Cyber Security and realize that I have so many things still to learn. Its been a fun journey so far. Good Luck and Have Fun!”
“Dear 2022 applicant,
I hope that you are all geared up for the program. You are going to learn a lot of things in a very short span of time. You are going to be introduced to a lot of cool stuffs and tools related to information security. You will also get to know amazing people and a network/platform where you can ask questions even after the program is over.
Talking about my experience, this program has helped me understand the basic fundamentals of Linux system. It has introduced me to tools such as Metasploit, Wireshark, BurpSuite, SQLMap, password managers. It has also helped me brush up my skills on regex, on how to better search for the resources. As the proverb says ““If you give a hungry man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime””. Rather than giving the answers right away, the mentors teach us HOW to find the answers to our questions.
Looking back, when I joined the program, I was not aware of so many basic things that a person in the field of computer science should know. I am really glad that I got to learn so much. A big thanks to Gajabaar team.
Suggestion/tip: Think of this program as a catalyst to enhance your skills. YOU need to put effort, YOU need to invest your time, and if you get stuck, the MENTORS are there to help you and guide you. This program will really speed up your learning curve.”
Here’s what you should know about this program.
This program includes the brief overview of the skills that are necessary for any computer enthusiast. Here, a great deal of Linux, cryptography, SQL injection are primarily topic that were discussed in 2021 Session. The variety of ““lab”” (this is the topic, complete it in a week) is what I liked best about Gajabaar! It allowed me to quickly pick up new skills in a short amount of time.
This program is for you if you can learn new concepts in a short amount of time (a week) and have a strong desire to learn about cybersecurity in general. If you want to gain anything out of this program, you’ll need to put in huge amount of effort in the lab. The lectures are great, but without the labs, you would not learn anything!
With that stated, if you’ve heard about the program and are on the Gajabaar website, don’t waste any time and fill out all of the required information to join the program!
“I get one of the best learning experience of my life during these 7 weeks.I was complete noob in the field of Cybersecurity, so I had to work little hard to move along the sessions. It allows be to strengthen my self learning habit. The session begun with some linux fundamental lecture. I was familiar with the linux system so this didn’t give me hard time. The real challenge for me was to get familiar with Internet Terminologies and learn how actually the system works. And the weekly meetup was always the rescue. The program completely met my expectation though for this I had to spend hours looking at the readings and labs. Whenever I stuck in something, I could always contact one of the mentors and have real time chats which always solved my issues. The mentors used to mostly just talk about the terminologies we need and left the rest up to us. This helped us to do some research ourselves and make the habit of self study strong. This also gifted me with the skill of research over the internet and helped to implement on my own way. In glance, the programme became pretty fruitful to me. It left in the situation from where I can go further on my own pace with some motivation. My message for the upcoming applicants is that if you have real interest in cybersecurity and are at any level on it, this can be the best opportunity either to get a kick start or to sharpen your learning path in the right direction. But, before applying make sure that you have enough passion and motivation to give continuity. Also, the habit of self learning is must.”
“Dear 2022 Applicant, Whether you’re a complete beginner or someone who is thinking of testing out your skills on cyber security, this program is perfect for you. The program is challenging one. It will require you to work more than 10 hours per week on the problems during some weeks. There are entirely new concepts to learn every week. Some of it may require you to learn another new concept, tools or sometimes even new programming language. But this is where the program comes into rescue. Each week the mentors run live session to teach the concepts and introduce the lab works for the week. At any moment of doubt, you can just ping the mentors and they will be ready to help you out. The concepts which might take you take months to get properly; Gajabaar makes it possible to learn within some weeks provided that you put the required effort. The program just doesn’t teach you these concepts. It will also help you become a better programmer. Gajabaar makes you a part of amazing community of cybersec enthusiasts. It is more than just a cybersec community. You will always get to learn sth new. Be it help on working through a lab problem or some other life problems, everyone is always eager to help you. It can be there for you throughout your cybersec journey. Gajabaar is more than just a program. It may be the beginning of your new cyber security journey. So, give it a try. Yours Sincerely,”
I used to do some “Hacking” and had installed “Kali Linux”. I used to watch tutorials and read articles in “WiFi Hacking”, phishing, Metasploit and other Linux tricks but never really understood under the hood things. I knew I had to start from the fundamentals and build my knowledge to be better at what I consider awesome and really know what’s happening and how when I’m doing something. I then searched for Linux and Security roadmap in LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, Edx and other platforms. They were all great but seems you need someone to ask to if you’re stuck and someone to guide occasionally. Fortunately, Gajabaar was on the verge of starting its new session. I looked up its courses and roadmap and felt good about what I could lean from this. I signed up and boy it was worth it. Weekly live sessions, lectures, exercises, live mentoring every day, good mentors and most importantly awesome content. Trust me, you won’t regret following this course/roadmap, whatever you want to call it. Just make sure you can give some good healthy hours every day for maybe 2-3 months to make sure you really understand the content. I am a 1st year(I don’t know, seems 2nd to me too as we are studying 3rd sem course in college but have to give 2nd sem exams), so I might have underestimated the time I needed to put here in order to follow along in designed pace but whatever I learned, it definitely made me familiar(more than) to Linux, its structure, workings, basic security concepts, and much more. I can now easily follow along anything advanced tutorials or courses provided I have completed Gajabaar roadmap. Gajabaar was much more than I expected and I’m really impressed. I now see my past 2 month myself and now and understand how much I’ve improved. Really awesome.
If you are reading this before applying and are in doubt if this will be a good fit for you then I can vouch for it. It was totally worth the time. I was fairly new to this field of cyber-security and gajabaar was my starting point. I would not say it was easy but the mentors and the friends I meet helped me a lot and were always encouraging. Each week was exciting and made me learn something new. We discussed a lot of things besides the ones mentioned in the syllabus like the prospect of cyber-security, ongoing interesting stuff, and many more. Although it was a program focusing on cyber-security I learned so much about computers in general. So I would advise you to take the leap of faith and give it a try.
Few suggestions which I would like to give you are:
- Please don’t be lazy and answer the question in the application form to the best of your ability.
- If you are very new to this field try to dedicate more time and get fairly proficient in the Linux command line and the basic idea of Capture The Flag (CTF)
- "”Expectations is the thief of joy””. If you are having unrealistic expectations then of course you will be disappointed. You will not become a cool ““HACKER”” like in some movies or series after completing this program. It’s a ~ 2 month (8 weeks) program and the field of cyber-security is vast. You will certainly see improvement comparing yourself with your past self before the program.
- Talk to other participants and get to know as many like-minded people as you can.
I really appreciate the efforts of gajabaar team and am grateful for their time and dedication.
“Dear 2022 Applicant,
Kudos to you for applying for the 2022 cycle! Let me assure you that you’re going to love it, and that you’ll never regret it.
The two months passed really fast; in fact, I don’t believe that it has really been that long. We met (virtually) every week and the mentors gave demonstration on something new and interesting (it used to be boring sometimes :P). Then we would be assigned to do some challenges or to study something, and make notes. It wasn’t easy every time. But if everything was easy all the time, it wouldn’t be as much enjoyable.
I shouldn’t forget to appreciate the well-structured syllabus of Gajabaar. That’s exactly what I had hoped for before applying and being accepted.
Okay, so there are a few things I would like to point out. First one is that the program is really quick paced. You would be learning about something for a week and you would have to adjust to learn another thing the other week. You might find it difficult to juggle between college and Gajabaar schedules. But you can always ask for help and tips when you need. The other thing is that you should overcome laziness and keep doing the assignments instead of piling them up. If you are motivated and are enjoying it, you wouldn’t put them off anyway.
Remember that it is important to study and learn yourself a lot to be good in any aspect of cyber security. But it isn’t going to be easy without anybody to mentor you. Gajabaar and the awesome mentors here are waiting to help you in your journey.
You shouldn’t expect that this program will make you an expert, but you’ll certainly get the idea of what you need to do to be one.
Don’t have huge expectations. Set goals and achieve them. Learn to prioritize. Keep learning something new everyday. Interact with your mentors and with fellow mentees.
Warm wishes, A Gajabaar 2021 participant”