Cyber Talk Radio: Finding Cyber Talent with Gaming

Bret Piatt, CTR Host, and Nigel LeBlanc, Cyber Warrior Network founder - Episode 157 of Cyber Talk Radio

This past Saturday, September 28, episode 157 of Cyber Talk Radio hit the air on 1200 WOAI and iHeartRadio streaming. I was joined by Nigel LeBlanc, Cyber Warrior Network founder, to discuss the Cyber Warrior Network and how they are creating a way for employers to find cyber talent through gaming.

Before we dive in to this episode, don’t forget to take a listen to our previous episode with Nigel from back in 2017, when we discussed career matching for military cyber jobs. Nigel is a cognitive cyber talent scout — he is working to find a solution to the problem of an apparent lack of cyber talent in the industry. Just like sports scouts, the Cyber Warrior Network is on the lookout for talent, but the current candidate screening process means looking for a candidate that matches with a singular keyword/skill that they’re looking for. What’s wrong with that process of validating skills? Non-technical recruiters look for those keywords and skills, such as educational requirements or certifications, which doesn’t really mean that they can do exactly what the employer needs. They’re now finding a way to validate skill sets using a game they like to refer to as “Call of Duty for ethical hackers” called CyberWraith. By playing the game, users are allowing their moves to be tracked and skill sets and stats to be compared against employers’ needs, just like talent scouts do for football or baseball. This way, employers can see how people actually perform under pressure or in a real work situation. In the game, there are three portions to see different work scenarios. CyberWraith differs from other cyber competitions or games — it’s got a unique storyline, one similar to military mission preparation and training and it is less competitive a more storyline focused. It also emphasizes on creating skills pipelines and opportunities. They have the ability to launch “virtual ranges” for students to practice. Each game ends in a comprehensive skills analysis. One of the biggest reasons that people may leave a job is b/c they want other opportunities, and this is a great way to assess skills that can help employers take advantage of what their employees are already equipped to offer.

After the break, Nigel talks about testing an early version of the game recently at CyberDef Dojo meetup in San Antonio. Will the game eventually be open access? They’re currently working with high schools and universities (in addition to job hunters and employers) to get people interested in playing and setting up tournaments. They are also taking feedback from job hunters and applying it to the game’s missions. In their private beta, they’re working with employers to create a data dictionary with information for curriculum, skills and matching to make the search easier for recruiters and applicants. In schools, teachers and coaches can work alongside to give feedback and mentor. There has been some talk at Port San Antonio about building an esports arena for events for games and programs like this. Hopefully, this will lead to the first competitive cyber warfare league.

Before we finish up the episode, I make sure Nigel shares how he got interested and involved in cybersecurity. He left the military in 2012, and started working at a tech accelerator. After that, he got brought on by the state of Maryland to be a veteran cyber manager, which is very similar to his current work at Cyber Warrior Network where there is a lot of combined military power in his team to create a product. What makes him persistent? He keeps at this because he knows the meaningful impact he’s making on others’ lives. Go to for a free copy of the game and email Nigel with any questions about what he does.

Listen to the full episode replay to learn more about Nigel’s work with the Cyber Warrior Network

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