"Giving Students Opportunity to Learn While Doing"
Theory and practice go hand in hand. That is the philosophy of the Universities of Delft and Twente. That is why thirty cybersecurity master students visit the HSD Campus in 2018 as a part of the ‘Entrepreneurship’ module. Several HSD partners share practical knowledge and provide assignments for students to gain knowledge themselves.
Following their 3-year bachelor’s in computer science, the master students chose a 2-year specialisation in cybersecurity. Via the elective ‘Capstone’ they get acquainted with the City of The Hague and HSD as the centre for cybersecurity in The Netherlands, and they are introduced to entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurship. In groups, they worked on assignments provided by HSD partners Threadstone Cyber Security, Compumatica, Cisco, SecurityMatters (Forescout), Innovalor, Milvum, Meld een Vermoeden (former Anti-Fraud Company) and Strict.
“This enables students to combine their contemporary theoretical foundation with practical questions of entrepreneurs. It contributes to a great enrichment of their knowledge,” says Pieter Hartel, professor cybersecurity at Delft University. When executing the assignment, students are expected to link to other disciplines as well, such as risk management, legal cases, finance, ethics and psychology. “A fifth of the bachelor consists of social-technical modules, where technology is discussed in a certain context. Our students should, for example, be able to explain a topic to someone who is not technical, know what is allowed and what is not allowed legally and understand why people do or do not want to cooperate on implementing a new technology.” The students are working on market research, product development and business cases of HSD partners.
Hartel is enthusiastic about these assignments: “This teaches the students that their master is not just about technology. If nobody wants to buy your invention, you still have nothing.”
New and fresh
One of the HSD partners that provides an assignment for the students, is Threadstone Cyber Security. General director Rene van Etten wants to know if the idea for a product can be backed up with a business case, consisting of market research and financial calculations. “It is so exciting to work with students. They offer fresh insights and ask critical questions. Sometimes this confronts you with assumptions that you are doing without being aware of it and this helps you look at your company from a helicopter point of view.” According to van Etten, the nice thing is that you generate brand awareness among students and that you can interest them to apply for a job within the company. “I think the most important thing is giving students the opportunity to learn while doing. This contributes to their personal skills and qualities. And in addition it also provides the companies new knowledge and insights: a nice bonus.”
Read the interview in Dutch.
Picture 1: Pieter Hartel
Picture 2: Rene van Etten