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Cyber Security: Training the Protectors

Did you know that Cleveland Community College offers an associate degree in cyber security? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why. With technology evolving quickly and hackers getting smarter, businesses, healthcare centers, educational institutions and others need people who know how to keep the bad guys out of their data. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 32% job growth rate in cyber security jobs over the next 10 years.

Part of the training for students in CCC’s cyber security degree program is to compete in the National Cyber League. Students participate in individual games and team games. In the competitions, students test their skills against others who are pursuing cyber security as a career. They work to solve challenges such as identifying hackers from forensic data, auditing vulnerable websites and recovering from ransomware attacks.

For the first time, three CCC students competed in the National Cyber League during the 2023 fall semester. Two of them became eligible to apply for scholarships because they competed and the team scored above a certain level. “There is an expectation in the industry that students who are pursuing cyber as a career compete in various cyber competitions,” said Susan Randall, instructor and department chair of computer information technology.

To prepare for the competitions, the students met with an adjunct and a fulltime instructor to study and prepare for this event. The instructors answered questions and showed them how to use various types of software. In addition, students worked in the cyber gym, where they practiced and prepared for competitions. The College plans to continue this process for future competitions.

“The feedback from the students who participated was positive, and students who did not participate this time plan to do so in the spring,” said Randall.

The National Cyber League is a virtual training ground that allows students to test themselves against cybersecurity challenges that they are likely to see during their professional career.