AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – CyberPatriot is a nationwide program fueling the workforce pipeline for the cybersecurity career field.
The Georgia Cyber Center just held its second Cyber Patriot Camp of the Summer. Last month, 76 students went through the standard camp. The advance camp saw the top 25 middle school and high school students completing cyber tasks and learning from instructors.
NewsChannel 6 sat down with some of the instructors to see what the program was all about.
“We have the advance camp for cyber patriot and today is the competition. There are about 26 people here today and we’ll award some trophies to some great young cyber warriors,” said Dr. Tom Clark, Executive Director for the Alliance of Fort Gordon.
What’s the importance of having this kind of event?
“We are short cyber professionals in the workforce, not only in the CSRA or the Fort Gordon cyber district, also across the nation. So, these young middle schoolers and high schoolers will train to replace the cyber warriors that currently work all over the place. So, it is a workforce development initiative,” said Clark.
Now, what exactly are they doing in there?
“Today we took a quiz of about one-hundred questions going over some of the knowledge points we taught them and then they move in to round two, which is the windows system. So, they’re going in, fixing user accounts, changing passwords, making sure they are secure, going in and setting policies, and getting rid of malware, and other unwanted programs and things like that,” said lead instructor, Dave Besel.
Why would you say the kind of stuff you are doing is important?
“We’re definitely moving towards a more technical world where there’s more computers and technology. So, these people are being more prepared for that and they know to help others, along with themselves,” said Emma Anderson, a high school senior.
If you were to say something to someone who is interested in this kind of stuff, what would you say to them?
“A lot of people think it’s just sitting at a computer and doing computer work all day, but it’s really not. It’s a very brain involved thing. It’s a lot of thinking skills and critical skills that you would use in problem solving. So, it’s not as boring as some would think,” said Anderson.
“The importance is to get these kids exposed to cybersecurity work roles, different types of jobs they can do…and that kind of exposure gives them that interest and gives them a pathway forward to an occupation in the future in what we love to do, which is cybersecurity,” said Besel.
“I’ve experienced firsthand the lack of promotion and push for students to be in the cyber pathway at school and I think it’s a great pathway that has a lot of promise in the future. So, I want more students to be exposed to the jobs that are available to them outside of high school,” said Anderson.