The need for individuals trained in cybersecurity grows exponentially each year. The growth is so rapid, in fact, that most cybersecurity positions have gone unfilled in the last two years. The National Cybersecurity Institute wrote that cybersecurity is the one of the few field where the demand for employees is greater than the supply. Steven LaFountain, the National Security Administration’s dean of the College of Cyber, hopes to change all that. In partnership with the NSA, LaFountain introduced a new cyber summer camp for teenagers across America.
Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing fields.
What is GenCyber?
LaFountain’s goal in opening the camp, which is called GenCyber, is to generate an interest in the field of cybersecurity among younger kids. His hope is that with the right training and inspiration, these camp-goers will become the next cyberprofessionals and fill the empty positions in the workforce. The camp brings students from around the country together at 18 different universities to learn about digital ethics, how to defend themselves from cyberattacks and the basics of online threats. LaFountain also developed a GenCyber specifically for girls. In a world where men outnumber woman 7-to-3 in the technology industry, LaFountain’s goal was to decrease this dramatic imbalance and get young women interested in the currently male-dominated field.
“The camp teaches digital ethics, cyberattack defenses, and the basics of online threats.”
What purpose does it serve?
The first camp was held in 2014 and was largely successful. This year’s GenCyber saw 1,300 students from middle schools and high schools, as well as a select group of K-12 teachers. LaFountain stated that the main goal of the camp was to generate enough interest in technology and cybersecurity among the younger generations that they pursued these fields in their higher education and career paths. While the camps cost the NSA $4 million, LaFountain believes it will pay off in the end. It is his hope that the kids they train today will fill the empty cybersecurity positions of tomorrow.
To increase the participation and future successes of the GenCyber summer camps, the program is free for students and teachers. LaFountain and the NSA predict that the 43 camps will expand to 200 by the year 2020 and that these camps will inspire an increase in enrollment for technology programs at universities. The National Cybersecurity Institute also offers cybersecurity training for individuals interested in pursuing a degree in this industry. Visit NCI’s website now to learn more.