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Driving Engagement with Secure Coding Training Tournaments: 3 Tips for Success

Driving Engagement with Secure Coding Training Tournaments: 3 Tips for Success

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As a program administrator, how do you drive engagement for your learners? You make fun, relevant activities that allow learners to interact with each other… and a great way to accomplish all of that is with secure coding training tournaments. 

In this article, we’ll talk about driving engagement with secure coding training tournaments. 


How Tournaments Drive Engagement for Secure Coding Training 

One of the biggest hurdles you might face as a program administrator is driving engagement from your learners. Adding required training into their already heavy workload is a tough ask. But by reframing training as competition, you can tap into some of that gamification and drive a security-first culture. 

Here are some ways that tournaments drive engagement for secure coding training: 

  • Drives Competition - Developers can compete against each other to see who can solve the most challenges or find the most vulnerabilities. This can help to keep learners motivated and engaged throughout their training. 
  • Creates a Challenge - Tournaments can provide developers with a safe, controlled environment to test their skills.  
  • Fosters Collaboration - Tournaments can also help to foster collaboration among developers. As they work together to solve challenges, they can share knowledge and learn from each other.  
  • Promotes Recognition - Tournaments can provide a way for developers to be recognized for their skills and accomplishments. You can add fun and motivation to your program with leaderboards and prizes. 

Read More: 6 Ways to Develop a Security Culture From Top to Bottom 


3 Tips to Run a Successful Secure Coding Tournament 

Here are three tips to ensure your tournament is successful: 


Make Sure the Challenges Are Relevant to Your Developers 

To maximize the effectiveness of challenges, it's important to ensure they are targeted toward the actual vulnerabilities that your developers face. The challenges should be based on real-world vulnerabilities and relevant to the languages and frameworks your developers use. This approach will help to ensure that the challenges are productive and valuable for your team. 

Example: Security Journey has learning paths to meet the needs of your learners. We have awareness training for non-developers, along with hands-on coding exercises for developers. With customized learning paths, you can design a path (or choose a pre-built path) to meet your learner where they are.


Set Clear Goals and Expectations 

Provide your developers with clear expectations regarding the skills they should aim to acquire and the objectives they should strive towards in the tournament. This will help them better understand their role in the competition and work towards achieving the desired outcomes. 

Example: When you design a tournament, set goals with your leadership team. These goals can be based on lesson scores, completion times, or other metrics your learning platform collects. What’s more important is communicating these goals and expectations to your learners before the tournament starts. 


Celebrate Success 

When your developers successfully complete a challenge, be sure to celebrate their success. You can offer different reward levels, from local gift cards to paid time off and even cash prizes. You can also announce winners on internal platforms and social media. 

Example: Tournaments are supposed to be fun! Try to celebrate success by promoting wins on communication channels, offer rewards and prizes, and have fun with badges, stickers, and promotional gifts! 

Read More: 4 Ways To Engage Developers Who Couldn't Care Less About Security 


Are Your Learners Ready? 

Organizing tournaments can be an excellent strategy to boost engagement in your secure coding training program. To explore more about tournaments and other essential tools that can assist you in running your program, feel free to contact us for a personalized demo of our AppSec Education Platform.