Today’s classrooms are buzzing as teachers use new technologies and hands-on activities to help students break down complex science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and cybersecurity concepts. But how can teachers empower students to engage in cybersecurity outside of the classroom? One way is to coach or mentor a cybersecurity competition team and bring students together to solve real-world cybersecurity challenges! 

Interested in getting involved?

Cyber competitions are hosted by CyberPatriot which provides opportunities to find upcoming competitions. It is a virtual community of educators, organizations, and associations dedicated to improving America’s cybersecurity posture. It is an open forum to ask questions, learn more about cybersecurity, find ways to interact with students, and mentor others.

One unique feature of CyberPatriot is the wealth of cybersecurity competition information available. Through CyberPatriot, you can:

Find out how competitions align to the National Cybersecurity Workforce Framework.

The Framework provides a national lexicon for describing cybersecurity work and the categories within cybersecurity. Competitions on CyberPatriot are aligned to the Framework categories to ensure teachers and students are using the same language to describe cyber work as cybersecurity professionals. This alignment also helps teachers and students learn more about the required knowledge, skills, and abilities to forge a career path in cybersecurity.

Search for active competitions to join or follow.

CyberPatriot lists information about, and links to, numerous active cybersecurity competitions with a variety of competition formats and time commitments. Within this list, users can browse or sort by the most active competitions.

Review archived competitions.

Not only can users discover current competitions and events, but they can also view past competitions to learn about the format or level of effort for these competitions. Coaches can even get a head start on their upcoming competition by reading about past competitions in the same category.

Wondering what a competition looks like?

CyberPatriot is an online competition, aligned to the Operate & Maintain and Protect & Defend categories, that allows teams of students to assume the role of system administrator in a real-world simulation. Throughout the competition, coaches (teachers) work with students to develop and refine the team’s cybersecurity skills. Then, once a month, the team meets to tackle challenges to secure a network. With real-time scoring, students know right away how well they did mitigating the challenge. This gives them a chance to self-assess and meet with technical mentors to further develop key skills as they prepare for the next activity.

After four rounds, the competition is refined from over 4,000 teams to just 28 finalists. The final teams are brought together for an in-person event, where the finalists face a new challenge: live hackers. Adult volunteers from sponsoring organizations work to disrupt the security of each team’s network, and the teams fight off the intrusions to keep the network safe. In the end, the top three teams from each high school division walk away with scholarships, and all teams leave with incomparable experience. (Check out the finals in Baltimore, MD April 3-7)

Discover the joy of encouraging students to put their skills to the test, and grow your career by networking with like-minded teachers and professionals. Visit the twitter feed.