Grooming the Next Generation of Cyber Security Professionals
The growing number of cyber security threats is becoming a daily occurrence that organizations must prepare for. Hacktivist groups like Anonymous and LulzSec have made it a game to point out, in a very public way, the lack of cyber security efforts in large corporations and within government agencies. These incidents have made it critical for organizations to have a qualified team of experts to plan and be ready to implement information security best practices.
Our leadership team recognizes the need to educate and train the next generation of cybersecurity professionals, and is taking an active role in creating an arsenal of future resources to combat future threats.
Last month, our President and CEO, Rene LaVigne, served as Honorary Chairman of the First Annual Patriots Cybersecurity Competition. The purpose of the competition is to provide middle school students in Prince George’s county with an opportunity to explore career paths in science and technology through research and interactive learning. We believe that by building excitement in the areas of science, math and technology we are offering these students a great advantage.
A total of eight teams competed, each with 8-10 students. Teams had approximately 60 days to develop their final presentations, which consisted of an abstract, a research paper, a three-page fold out brochure, a webpage, a poster exhibit and a PowerPoint of their findings. Each team gave a five-minute presentation to a panel of judges on the night of the awards banquet. Mr. LaVigne acted as head judge and Master of Ceremonies.
As part of our commitment to support these students, Iron Bow sponsored and developed two training sessions for the participating teams. In the first training session, students received a brief introduction to the field of cyber security – how it affects their daily lives, what cyber attacks look like and current legislation and presidential directives surrounding cyber security. During the second training session, students learned about specific career paths within the cyber security field.
Coming in first place was the team from James Madison Middle School in Upper Marlboro, MD. The Patriots Cyber Tronz Team placed second, followed by the team from the Northern VA NSBE Jr. Chapter.
Congratulations to the winners and all of the participating teams. We look forward to next year’s competition!