One of the things I appreciate most about Circadence® is the company’s dedication to training the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. Not only do we have a superior internship program, but also Circadence is involved in a number of ongoing efforts to address the critical cybersecurity skills gap.
This summer Circadence is partnering with the University of San Diego (USD) to facilitate the week-long Advanced GenCyber Rising Cyber Stars Program. Funded by the National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation, the program aims to address the critical cybersecurity skills gap, which information security advocacy group ISACA predicts will grow to 2 million unfilled jobs by 2019.
During this program, which will run from July 31-August 4, 25 STEM-interested rising 10th-12th grade students will receive formal instruction from USD faculty, gain hands-on experience with cyber defense tools and work in teams to solve real-world cybersecurity problems. They will also tour local cybersecurity organizations. By the end of the week, they will be able to demonstrate intermediate knowledge of foundational elements of cybersecurity in the context of application to a career field.
In addition to my role as Chief Technology Officer for Circadence, I also serve as an instructor for USD and will be a lead instructor during this program. Many of these Advanced GenCyber students attended the Cyber Bootcamp run by Securing our eCity® (sponsored by ESET® and hosted at General Atomics) last month. I had the pleasure of speaking at that event as well as meeting many of the students in advance. These students shared with me their passion for technology and excitement to learn both offensive and defensive tools and tactics, so I have incorporated a number of valuable tool development exercises into the curriculum. Students will enjoy sessions on penetration testing and target exploitation using Python, as well as capture the flag style exercises.
In addition to instructor-led courses, students will have the opportunity – both individually and in teams – to solve actual cybersecurity challenges in realistic environments within the Circadence Project Ares® platform. During their efforts, they are assisted by an artificial intelligence (AI) powered guide named Athena, who will help them build skills that will transfer to real-world career opportunities. This immersive, gamified approach to cyber skills training enables better retention and understanding for the next generation of cyber professionals.
My colleague Laura Lee, Executive Vice President of Cyber Training and Assessments for Circadence, will join us the final day as the closing speaker. Her discussion will focus on the exciting benefits of cybersecurity as a career path and how gamification is changing the cyber landscape.
Circadence’s partnership with USD for the GenCyber camp is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to address the critical cybersecurity skills gap through innovative, effective cybersecurity training. I’m thrilled to be a part of the GenCyber initiative and look forward to mentoring these 25 students as they learn more about this industry and consider future careers in cybersecurity.