How collegiate cyber competitions are inspiring tomorrow’s workforce

Cybersecurity roles involve critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and handling fallout that could potentially cripple a business. While students may read about and discuss the foundation of this career in in the classroom, they need real-world experiences. Collegiate cyber competitions play a critical role in today’s modern-day curriculum, allowing students to understand the pressure, consequences, teamwork, and rewards for a career in cyber.

The benefits of competing in a collegiate cyber competition

As team captain for the University of Virginia at the National Collegiate Cybersecurity Defense Competition (NCCDC), I’ve seen firsthand how collegiate competitions help build a foundation for a career in cyber. More than 235 colleges and universities from across the country tested their cybersecurity skills in real-world business scenarios while industry professionals launched attacks against their networks. Participating in NCCDC taught me four lessons I couldn’t have learned exclusively in a standard college curriculum.

4 lessons students learn in cyber competitions

1. Technical skills: In a classroom, professors tell us how a network works, but it’s not until you’re defending a live network in a cyber competition that you can fully understand the technical skills you need to be successful. Hands-on experience is key to successfully learning new skills. The networks we defended during the competition were similar to the infrastructure found in a real-world business—something students don’t get exposed to in the curriculum. It was exciting to see how a business network actually operates and how to best defend it when we were under attack.…Read More