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Test your cyber ability

What Do Your CyberGEN.IQ Quadrants Say About You

The ability to effectively prevent or respond to today’s cybersecurity threats is no easy thing to portray, and a resume certainly can’t tell the full story. But with the power of reliable cybersecurity aptitude testing, this is now something that we can help you quantify. 

CyberGEN.IQ is the world’s only cyber aptitude test, a revolutionary way of uncovering individual strengths for today’s top cybersecurity professionals. The assessment consists of 15 tests created to develop a full picture of an applicant’s cognitive abilities. You can watch a short clip demonstrating a few of the questions here. Each of these assessments corresponds to one of five cognitive dimensions that the test measures for:

  1. Critical Thinking: Applying objective judgement to a situation to implement solutions that seek to resolve the root cause of an issue, versus just the symptom
  2. Initiating: Creatively solving problems and “kicking down doors”
  3. Responding: Detecting anomalies and continuously monitoring information streams, “watching the door”
  4. Real-Time: Making an in-the-moment decision with current knowledge and information
  5. Exhaustive: Researching other resources for more information before making a decision

All of these components are essential parts of a cybersecurity skillset, but a specific balance between them will prove to be more effective in certain cybersecurity job roles than others. For example, a Data Recovery professional should have higher responding and exhaustive abilities, versus a Penetration Tester, Ethical Hacker, or Cyber Warfare Specialist, who would perform at a higher level with strong initiating and real-time cognitive abilities in their more offensive role.

The unique combinations of these components provide the CyberGEN.IQ scoring matrix. 

Breaking Down the CyberGEN.IQ Score

After completing the cybersecurity ability test, each applicant’s scores are displayed as four different numbers between 0-100, with each number illustrating the candidate’s aptitude in each of the four domains of cybersecurity: 

  • Offensive
  • Defensive
  • Analysis/Forensic
  • Design

These results are calculated mathematically using the above-mentioned components (real-time, initiating, exhaustive, and responding) in conjunction with a candidate’s critical thinking scores. These metrics are then color-coded, making it incredibly easy to interpret each candidate’s score:

  • Red → 0-35 = less likely to excel
  • Yellow → 35-50 = likely to excel
  • Green → 50-65 = strong aptitude
  • Blue → 65+ = very strong aptitude

Additionally, the scores and colors express the candidate’s relationship to the average scores of all test-takers. Red signifies more than one standard deviation from the average, and yellow signifies a range within a standard deviation of the average, representing that the candidate could be very successful.

aptitude test

The Role of Critical Thinking in Cybersecurity

Critical thinking is not explicitly included in the matrix as its own category, but it does influence each applicant’s scores and results. The skill shows general aptitude without serving to predict any specific domain.

Since critical thinking is a great asset in cybersecurity as a whole, an applicant’s critical thinking score serves to enhance his or her scores in the other four categories. For instance, a high CyberGEN.IQ score within critical thinking leads to stronger scores in the other domains—leading the applicant to score higher than if he or she had a low critical thinking score.

Overall, these CyberGEN.IQ scores are designed to reveal candidates’ specific cognitive strengths as to which domain of cybersecurity they’d be most successful in, but also to highlight well-rounded candidates who would perform strongly across all domains.

CyberGEN.IQ and the NICE Framework

The origin of CyberGEN.IQ involved the incorporation of standards from the NICE Framework, to ensure effective calculations and contributions towards the goal of lessening the industry’s skills gap. 

The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the U.S. Department of Commerce, is a partnership between government, academia, and the private sector positioned to support the country’s ability to address current and future cybersecurity challenges through standards and best practices.

The mission of NICE is to “energize, promote, and coordinate a robust community working together to advance an integrated ecosystem of cybersecurity education, training, and workforce development”. Specifically, the NICE Framework is comprised of seven categories (Securely Provision, Operate and Maintain, Oversee and Govern, Protect and Defend, Analyze, Operate and Collect, and Investigate); specialty areas; work roles; tasks; and knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs). These KSAs were the topic of focus when developing CyberGEN.IQ.

In the creation of this assessment, Haystack performed a network and cluster analysis using KSA terminology from the NICE framework to find overlapping KSAs. These KSAs are common across the IT industry, but Haystack has further decomposed them into quadrants discussed above. CyberGEN.IQ strongly backs the NICE mission by empowering organizations across every industry with the ability to quickly discover and hire skilled cybersecurity professionals—helping to keep our nation secure, close the job gap, and facilitate change and innovation within the industry.

Expedite Your Cybersecurity Recruiting, Hiring, or Career Growth Process Today

With the implementation of CyberGEN.IQ within your hiring department, you can make sorting through piles of resumes without a clear understanding a thing of the past. Expedite the process with reliable, accurate, and unbiased cyber aptitude testing, and start fighting today’s cybersecurity threats with the most talented and best-suited professionals in the job market.

Haystack Solutions also offers consulting services for organizations that are looking to have the scores of all applicants or current employees analyzed. Our team will dive in to help you properly align training courses, recruit for the necessary positions, and make the right hiring decisions to better protect and defend your company’s assets. 

In addition, professionals who are looking to make a career change into the realm of cybersecurity should make sure to take the CyberGEN.IQ assessment. With your scores in hand, you’ll have unique insight into how your natural abilities help guide you towards a rewarding career path In cybersecurity. 

Start the process today, and take a free sample of the assessment!