I came across the following article on the Security Bytes blog. The article is regarding initiatives aimed at finding “Americans with the skills to fill the ranks of cybersecurity practitioners, researchers, and warriors.” There are three major aspects of this initiative.
First, a competition aimed at High School students (only available in Rhode Island) with an interest in Computer Science. Secondly, the Cyber Foundations 2011 National Competition focuses on three major areas (Networking, Operating Systems, and System Administration) where material is provided by SANs and individuals or teams compete in three events to demonstrate mastery of the above subjects. Lastly, the Department of Defense is also sponsoring a Digital Forensics competition for High School, Undergrads, and Graduate students. You can go to the US Cyber Challenge website for more information on the above subjects and other information such as training camps and treasure hunts.
I think that this is a great initiative that we in the cybersecurity community should support and find ways of expanding its programs to other states. In the past Dale pointed to “Little sense of community, peers, and training” as one reason for why we do not capitalize our security talent’s skills to their fullest. This would be an excellent way to change the current dynamic of spend years taking training, doing grunt work, and then getting more responsibility after that. It gives the students motivation to learn early and should help guide them to focus on cybersecurity in college. We should find ways to promote these events at the local levels in each of our communities because it will pay dividends in the years to come.