by Gloria Welton
The PEI IT Alliance is proud to offer a Cybersecurity Program for middle and high school students that creates and enters teams into the CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Defense Competition.
The competition is the largest cybersecurity contest in the world, with over 3,000 teams participating. It takes place in a virtual environment, where teams take on the role of newly hired IT professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company.
The top teams earn all-expenses-paid trips to the National Finals Competition, where they can network with sponsor representatives and earn national recognition and scholarship money. The competition rounds start in October 2023 and finish by the end of the year, with the possibility of progressing to semifinals and eventually nationals in 2024.
“The CyberPatriot program provides a unique opportunity for students all across PEI to explore the cybersecurity field and build their computer skills,” says Priya Jain, Cybersecurity Program Coach.
“We are currently accepting students to join our Cybersecurity Program for the upcoming competitions. Throughout the spring and summer of 2023, we will provide training to introduce students to cybersecurity and prepare them to participate in the competition. Training starts in May and June.
“The competition rounds begin in October 2023, and students will have the opportunity to gain points and advance to the semifinals and Nationals. Team formation will take place at the beginning of the school year in September and October, depending on the number of students in the program. Nationals will take place in May 2024.”
How many students are you looking for? “As many students as possible can join the league, from any school or area on PEI,” says Priya. “There is no limit to the number. We can form middle and high school teams, so the students can be in grades 6 to 12.
“No experience is required but students should have an interest in computers and cybersecurity. The program is hybrid, so a lot of the work happens online but they can also meet in-person.”
Mentors work with the students
“CyberPatriot teams get support from industry mentors who work in cybersecurity on PEI, giving students a chance to learn from experienced professionals in the field.
“Our program aims to provide students with exciting opportunities to explore their interests in computers and IT. We believe that by giving students the chance to learn and improve their skills, we can create a group of like-minded peers who can support each other and have fun in an after-school club.
“Our mission is to give students practical experience in the IT field, even in rural areas, and provide them with a clear pathway to a great career.”
PEI IT Alliance is a member-based organization made up of IT companies, startups, organizations, professionals, remote workers, and students. The members are from the IT and Tech community on PEI.
“We understand the importance of equipping students with the skills necessary to thrive in a rapidly growing industry like cybersecurity,” says Priya, “By introducing them to the industry and building industry connections, we hope to increase IT education and help set them up for a successful future in this field.
“Our program not only provides an exciting opportunity for students to explore their interests in cybersecurity, but it also helps build the talent and skills needed to support the cybersecurity industry in PEI.”