(INDIANAPOLIS) – Governor Eric J. Holcomb today announced the 2020 Girls Go CyberStart challenge, an aptitude and skills-based competition designed to encourage girls to pursue cyber-based learning and career opportunities.
Indiana was one of 27 states to participate in the 2019 competition hosted by the SANS Institute. More than 10,300 girls participated, including more than 800 Hoosier high school students. In 2019, four teams from Indiana scored among the top 50 high schools nationally, with Noblesville High School just surpassing Walker Career Center in the national rankings. This year, the program has expanded to 38 states, and the organization provides free cybersecurity resources to interested schools and teachers.
“Training young Hoosiers in cybersecurity and tech-based skills is essential to improving Indiana’s cyber-resiliency for decades to come,” Gov. Holcomb said. “Indiana is a proven leader in cybersecurity, and our state is committed to providing the skills and opportunities Hoosiers need to pursue fulfilling careers in this high-demand field.”
The country faces a shortage in computer science and cyber trained workers, although experts predict these to be some of the highest paying, in-demand jobs for years to come. Since 2010, cyber jobs have increased by more than 75 percent, outpacing the talent pool and resulting in more than 1 million unfilled cyber positions nationwide. In Indiana, an estimated 2,300 jobs are unfilled, according to the Cyberseek jobs tool.
Girls Go CyberStart centers on a fun and thought-provoking game to inspire young women to test their aptitude in cyber skills. Female students in grades 9-12 can participate for free, either as individuals or as part of a school-based team. As part of the CyberStart challenge, participants will take on the roles of agents in the Cyber Protection Agency, where they will develop forensic and analytical skills and deploy them to sleuth through challenges and tackle various online cybercriminal gangs.
As they work their way through the game, players will be challenged to solve puzzles and be introduced to a broad spectrum of cybersecurity disciplines, including forensics, open-source intelligence, cryptography and web application security.
Teacher information and student practice programs are available now. Registration for Girls Go CyberStart is now open, with the competition commencing on Jan. 13, 2020. Additional details and preregistration can be found at girlsgocyberstart.org. Additional resources on teacher development programs can be found online here.
For a quick look at some of the challenges, visit the CyberStart website.