Quantifying the ROI of secure coding training: a new paradigm for business impact


How does secure coding training influence real-world ROI? Delve into a transformative approach and its tangible business outcomes.

In the business domain, agility is essential. A transformative approach is to perceive employees as human capital rather than mere resources. The critical investment lies in focused training – especially when it comes to secure coding traning. The returns are multifaceted, as it nurtures a workforce equipped to steer the organization toward progress. By valuing and developing the human element, organizations pave the way for sustainable growth and success.

But here’s the catch: the investment in training should not just be purposeful. Its success must be measurable and impactful in hard business terms. This is where ROI, the Return on Investment, comes into play. By evaluating training through the ROI lens, we ensure that every penny spent on development reaps rewards in employee performance and organizational success.

Let’s take a deep dive into how Cydrill nailed this with secure coding training for developers and achieved a stellar ROI with their customers. With the help of Hybridge Consulting and people analytics there is a clear and measurable outcome of the positive effect Cydrill’s secure coding training has on it’s customers business.

The magic formula: Measurable Instructional Design (MID)

Developed by Laura Paramoure, the MID model is an all-inclusive framework that blends the best of Kirkpatrick’s evaluation model with other critical elements. This model paves the way to link training efforts with business objectives through data-driven insights. From planning and design to implementation and evaluation, the MID model covers it all.

Key Performance Metrics (KPMs)

The initial action is to pinpoint the Key Performance Metrics. KPMs are the specific measures that will be affected by the training program. In Cydrill’s case, the priority is to decrease the vulnerability bug rate. This is a critical metric for assessing the quality of secure coding practices. By targeting this rate, Cydrill aims to enhance software security by making the code more resistant to potential cyber threats.

Job standards

Next, we need to identify what skills and behaviors need to be developed or changed to impact the KPM. In Cydrill’s case, it was the coders’ ability to implement secure coding best practices.

Learning objectives

This is where the training goal gets specific. Cydrill’s target was SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound) – to decrease the vulnerability bug rate by 20% within three months post-training. This was aligned with the training objective of teaching secure coding best practices.

Instructional strategies

Select the appropriate training methods and instructional techniques that will best support the achievement of the defined learning objectives. This involves a careful review of various training methods, such as classroom training, e-learning modules, hands-on workshops, simulations, or a combination of these approaches.


Assessment is key. It helps in gauging whether the training was effective. For Cydrill, this involved a combination of knowledge and skill testing to evaluate the participants’ understanding and application of secure coding best practices. This involved a mix of assessments to assess theoretical knowledge and practical coding exercises to evaluate their ability to implement secure coding techniques.

Evaluating the training – the Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model

At Cydrill, the Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model was employed:

  1. Reactions: Immediate feedback post-training to assess the participant’s satisfaction and experience.
  2. Baseline KPM (Key Performance Metric): Baseline KPM, serves as a reference point to compare the post-training results against. (e.g. in the case of Cydrill it refers to the pre-training vulnerability
  3. Learning: Pre and post-training tests to assess knowledge and skill development.
  4. Behavior Change: Evaluating the practical application and implementation of the learned skills.
  5. Results: Measuring the KPM post-training to evaluate the change in the metric as a result of the training, indicating the organizational effect of the training program.

secure coding training ROI

The money talk – understanding the financial ROI

Now, this is where the rubber meets the road. How did the training impact Cydrill’s bottom line?

Cydrill’s customers experienced a decline in the vulnerability bug rate, which translated to cost savings. By using a cost curve model, Cydrill could quantify the savings made by fixing bugs early.

The ROI was calculated by dividing these cost savings by the total training cost, providing a concrete number to represent the financial benefits of the training.

Cydrill’s victory lap

Cydrill’s secure coding training proved to be a phenomenal success. Through a structured approach using the MID model, Cydrill could achieve measurable improvements in coding practices. This has not only enhanced individual performance but also drove substantial cost savings for the organization.

In conclusion: get onboard the ROI express!

Sharing impacts through this ROI lens, puts Learning & Development into a position of true business partnership to cater for Leaders in their prefered language. ROI analysis provides a structured approach to training investments, allowing organizations to prioritize resources effectively. The MID model, with its emphasis on measurable outcomes, helps align training initiatives with business objectives and demonstrate the value of secure coding training. By utilizing this model and engaging stakeholders, organizations can maximize the impact and ROI of their training investments, driving transformative business results.

Cydrill’s ROI result is an eye-opener for organizations looking to make meaningful training investments. Through thoughtful planning, clear objectives, and a focus on measurable outcomes, your organization can also unlock the true potential of your workforce and steer the ship towards unparalleled success.

Special thanks to Hybridge Consulting, for the invaluable assistance in developing a comprehensive ROI measurement framework that has been instrumental in evaluating and optimizing the impact of Cydrill’s secure coding training initiatives.