This week marks the kick-off of a summer of weeklong camps designed to cultivate the next generation of cybersecurity professionals.
The U.S. Cyber Challenge, in partnership with Virginia Tech and Booz Allen Hamilton, will host more than 50 individuals in Arlington, Va., at the first of four cyber summer camps scheduled for this summer. The camp includes four days with instructors from the SANS Institute, a career fair and a cyberattack and defense competition. The week also will include a “capture the flag” competition and awards ceremony that will include remarks from Virginia Government Robert McDonnell and Virginia Tech President Charles Steger. (ISC)2 also will present $1,000 scholarships to the winning capture-the-flag competition team.
Attendees at this year’s summer camps were selected in part based on their scores from Cyber Quests, a series of challenging online competitions run by the U.S. Cyber Challenge that allow participants to demonstrate their knowledge on information security. This year, the Cyber Quest competitions drew more than 1,000 participants from roughly 400 schools nationwide. Other participants were selected based on their performance in other Cyber Challenge competitions, such as the Cyber Foundations, CyberPatriot, NetWars and the DC3 Digital Forensics Challenge.
Additional cyber summer camps will take place at the University of Delaware July 9-13, at Cal-Poly Pomona in Southern California July 16-20, and San Jose State University in Northern California August 6-10.
Meanwhile, this week’s Virginia camp also includes a roundtable of industry experts and executives to examine the critical shortage of cyber professionals and identify opportunities for closing the workforce gap through creative partnerships and an increased focus on education. The roundtable is expected to provide follow-up to a report released last fall by the Center for Strategic and International Studies on the cyber workforce shortage.
The Cyber Challenge, which is now in its third year, is hoping to draw more than 10,000 participants and provide them with the hands-on skills necessary to become the highly skilled “hunters” of cybersecurity work. Last year’s camp drew more than 230 participants, with ages ranging from 18 to 48, former Federal CIO Karen Evans said at the RSA Conference in February.
“Right now, the Cyber Challenge is creating a lot of input so that we can have output, which are people,” Evans said. “And the outcome is to get that information aligned so that individuals know how to make use of the resources to end up in jobs in the federal government, critical infrastructure and private industry.”