Secure Your Cyber Skills with Online Training, Camps, and Competitions
by Robin Hegg
The world needs more well trained cybersecurity experts and there are plenty of resources and programs available to help you to become one of them.
Hacker Highschool is a collection of lessons designed to teach teens the art of ethical hacking and how to defend themselves against fraud, identity theft, privacy leaks, and other attacks they can become vulnerable to online. The lesson workbooks, which can be downloaded for free from the website and are designed to be self-guided, were researched and designed by ISECOM (the Institute for Security and Open Methodologies). You can also try to get a Hacker Highschool class or club set up in your school or community.
There are also a number of summer camps throughout the United States that can help to teach you cybersecurity skills. GenCyber is a summer camp developed by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Security Agency (NSA) to introduce middle and high school students to cybersecurity basics. The camp was developed in the hopes that it will nurture a new generation of skilled cybersecurity professionals and fill America’s need for more highly trained cybersecurity experts. GenCyber began with a pilot program in 2014 that included six camps with a total of about 265 students. The following year, 29 universities in 19 states hosted a total of 43 camps. The camps are free and teach students how to monitor networks and detect vulnerabilities that might lead to cyberattacks.
Other cybersecurity camps include Bulldog Bytes, a GenCyber camp run by Mississippi State University’s Bagley College of Engineering, a camp for high school students run by the Community College of Baltimore County in Maryland, Cyber Discovery run by the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center in Louisiana, and Cybercamp run by the Lowcountry Tech Academy in Charleston, South Carolina.
Cybersecurity competitions designed for high school students are another way to develop and test out your skills. The CyberCenturion competition in the United Kingdom and the CyberPatriot competition in the United States were designed to inspire students toward careers in cybersecurity.
The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) has a number of resources for students, including a list of cybersecurity degree programs, scholarships, and internship opportunities.