A virtual building has been erected with the aim of linking talented gamers with potential employers - and £100,000 careers. Katie Wright enters the world of Cyphinx
A tall grey high-rise, flanked by a shiny glass atrium and a neat row of trees, was unveiled at the end of September, but this isn’t any old concrete construction.
Called Cyphinx, the computer-generated building plays host to a range of cyber security games, and is the first time a virtual world has been designed solely for recruitment purposes.
A bit like Britain’s Got Talent but for web security, the challenge is designed to attract more tech-savvy youngsters to the professional world, and says participants will “likely end up with a paid job in a field that challenges you”, where salaries can reach six figures.
It was launched by Cyber Security Challenge UK, a Cabinet Office-backed programme that aims to plug the sector’s ever-widening skills gap.
Thus far, typical recruitment techniques haven’t worked for this niche industry.
“Amidst the chronic shortage of cyber professionals, there is a wealth of talent which is still untapped,” says Stephanie Daman, CEO at the Cyber Security Challenge. “This is the next logical step to inspire an audience who may not yet even know that cyber is the career for them.”
When they log on, users are asked to choose between professional and challengers sections, so the bods behind the building can identify neophytes they might like to recruit, as opposed to pros just playing around - the leader boards are used to decide who can progress to tougher tasks.
And it’s not just about coding (although there is a section for that).
By roaming the tower using their online avatars, players can test their flair for forensic analysis, tackling malware and employing ethics, and investigate eight further categories.
The games were designed by ‘cyber hobbyists’ as young as 12 years old and are intended to reflect the roles of cyber crime fighters more realistically than theoretical puzzles.
Cyphinx also includes the first ever use of Minecraft, the phenomenally popular virtual world-building game: players have to hunt down codes hidden within Minecraft before they can attempt to solve them.
Even if you don’t have designs on a digital career, anyone can play just for fun and it’s available round the clock (previously the games were timetabled).
So why not have a go? Who knows, you could end up catching cyber crooks in the real world.