MetaCTF: Providing Hands-On, Learning-Based Competitions

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Cybersecurity is expected to be one of the fastest-growing industries in the next ten years. With that comes a demand for more cybersecurity professionals. MetaCTFfounded by Roman Bohuk (Engr’20), Jake Smith (Engr’20), Marina Sanusi (Engr’18), and Mariah Kenny (Engr’19), is helping introduce and educate students in the field of computer science and cybersecurity. 

MetaCTF is a cybersecurity educational training and recruiting company that provides a variety of services for businesses, universities, and conferences. They host hands-on, interactive, and learning-based competitions and training that make it easy to learn new cybersecurity skills by breaking down complex concepts into engaging challenges that simulate real-world scenarios.

MetaCTF competitions started about five years ago when Roman and his friend Jake led events at their high school. The team was eventually recognized by a local school who reached out and asked the team to write a summer course for their program. "After that, one thing led to another, and about a year ago we started forming it into a company," Roman said.

Every year, MetaCTF hosts a competition at UVA for high school and college students. Registration is free and includes breakfast, lunch, and a t-shirt. The goal is to introduce the participants of all skill levels to cybersecurity in a fun and engaging way.

Recently, MetaCTF has started to offer a recruiting platform for companies by providing a screening tool that tests the practical skills of a candidate. They collaborate with companies to run company-branded events at universities and conferences, which empower their recruiters to draw interest, collect resumes, conduct on-site interviews, and network with the participants. Their platform has also been used to help improve employees' skill sets in various topics.

Other businesses offer similar services as MetaCTF, but what differentiates this team is the quality of their content. “Other companies either only provide the platform or the content," Roman says, "and if they do provide both it's usually online. We are in-person and on-site, so we not only provide the platform and the content but also we can be there to run the workshop and help out."

By the end of the i.Lab, the MetaCTF team is finishing the next version of their platform and solidifying a plan for the future of their company. Roman is very grateful to the i.Lab for allowing him to spend full time on his venture and for providing his team with great mentorship to accelerate his company.

I took a computer science class during my first semester of college and found that sometimes the material was presented in a very dry way. I think MetaCTF presents their content in a format that makes the learning experience engaging, and I would love to attend one of their competitions.