Growing numbers of student cybersecurity experts

By Anne Collier

Here’s a great trend: cybersecurity training and competitions at all levels of education, nationwide. Not only is it creating jobs, it’ll increasingly send kids the message that it’s cool to beat data thieves, phishers, and scammers at their own games “The federal government, education officials and giant military contractors are collaborating to recruit a new class of tech professional specifically trained to battle data thieves, online scammers and cyberspies,” USATODAY reports. Eighty-three colleges and universities compete in the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (“up from five in 2005”), USATODAY says. There’s a consortium of mid-Atlantic colleges called CyberWatch which is focusing on cybersecurity training. At the high school level, the US Cyber Challenge “has a goal of finding 10,000 ‘cybersecurity top guns’.” But it makes sense to start much younger! This is great: “Two Maryland school districts, Baltimore County and Howard County, just launched a pilot program offering ‘information assurance’ as a career track,” some cybersecurity lessons are being worked into the K-12 curriculum. This is a great way to teach digital citizenship (civic engagement), media literacy (critical thinking about phishing and other types of social engineering), and cybersecurity.

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