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Attracting the Next Generation of Cyber Warriors

This week on the 
DorobekINSIDER, Chris spoke with Karen Evans, the national director of the
 US Cyber Challenge. Evans discussed her organization and its mission and unique approach to improving U.S. cybersecurity efforts.

The US Cyber Challenge is an online talent competition, developed to help move 10,000 people into the cybersecurity profession.
 In short: it’s about getting the right people into the right jobs to improve U.S. cybersecurity efforts.

The challenge consists of a series of competitions, beginning with
an online “Cyber Quest” that included over 500 participants this year. Winners of the online competition are invited to attend a summer “boot camp,” where they receive four days of training before taking part in a team competition on the final day. The winning team can receive scholarships toward an associate degree certification in cybersecurity.
 Not a techie? Not a problem. Since the U.S. is already experiencing shortages in science, technology, engineering, and math professionals, US Cyber Challenge seeks to reach beyond this group to include a much wider pool of participants. Case in point: the winning team of last year’s boot camp competition included a lawyer and a communications major—not your stereotypical cyber demographic.

Evans also stressed that the 
US Cyber Challenge is a great opportunity for returning veterans. The summer boot camp includes a job fair, as well as a CEO roundtable, where participants can hear directly from CEOs on their needs regarding cybersecurity professionals. And, to quell any fears that the boot camps are simply producing a new class of hackers, the camp covers a lot of ethics, including an ethics roundtable sponsored by the FBI and Secret Service.

Moving forward, the US Cyber Challenge also seeks to
 strengthen cybersecurity curricula in schools. There are already training modules and quizzes available online that have been incorporated into high school and university courses; Evans hopes that this will soon expand into Middle School, too.

For more information (or to get your gamer kids or neighbors involved in one of the upcoming high school challenges!), visit

To hear more, check out the full interview, here:

Also don’t miss part one of Chris’s interview with Karen Evans, when they talk about retiring Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt: Changing of the Guard: White House Cybersecurity Coordinator

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Chris Cairns

That’s a pretty cool program. I am really surprised to hear that non-techie folks won last year’s competition. I think programs like this are a great way to expose talent.