Cody Marley, a Damascus High School student, placed second in the nation in the recent U.S. Cyber Challenge (USCC) fall Cyber Foundations competition. The online competition featured a series of quizzes in the most important foundational fields of cyber security: networking, operating systems, and system administration. Nearly 1,200 high school students from 32 states, 3 U.S. territories and 169 schools registered for the competition, which took place during October and November.
The top five students will receive a MacBook Pro. The top scoring students in each school and state will also earn recognition and awards for their achievements. Those with an interest and aptitude may go on to pursue a career in cyber security and help fill the critical gap in the nation’s cyber workforce.
Marley is a 12th grade Career & Technical Education student at Damascus Senior High School, enrolled in the NAF Academy of Information Technology. The program is a partnership between the Maryland State Department of Education, National Academy Foundation, local school districts, and local business partners. Students enrolled in the NAF IT academy complete courses such as: Computer Networking, Database Design, Programming, Computer Systems, and Web Design. As part of a CTE program, NAF IT Academy students gain academic & technical skills to ensure they are college and career ready.
The three topical areas in the Cyber Foundations competition are representative of the foundation skills needed by individuals interested in becoming a skilled cyber security professional. In addition, these three skill areas are in high demand throughout industry and government. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ranked jobs requiring these skills as the second fastest growing in the United States, with 155,000 new jobs opening up, and Maryland is the national epicenter of federal cyber security. This partnership has created an infrastructure in Maryland that will better prepare students for careers and advanced studies in cyber security.
"Our country is in great need of cyber security professionals, and we are proud to be a facilitator of the growth and development of this field," stated Karen Evans, National Director of US Cyber Challenge. "We strive to find talented individuals, develop their skills in cyber security, and help them find jobs with companies who are looking for highly skilled cyber security professionals. The Cyber Foundations Competition is the first step for these talented students."
The mission of the USCC, a division of the Center for Internet Security, is to significantly reduce the shortage in the cyber workforce by identifying, recruiting and placing the next generation of cyber security professionals. USCC is a national coalition of public-private sector entities collaborating to enhance the workforce with the next generation of cyber security professionals through skill development activities, mentoring, and resources, and the facilitation of scholarship, internship and employment opportunities. USCC's goal is to find 10,000 of America's best and brightest to fill the ranks of cyber security professionals where their skills can be of the greatest value to the nation.