Cybersecurity Training Program for High School Girls

Hawai‘i Gov. David Y. Ige is encouraging high school girls to participate in the first major cybersecurity training program specifically for young women, grades 9 – 12, who may be interested in pursuing a career in cybersecurity. The state is partnering with the SANS Institute to bring the GirlsGoCyberStart program to Hawaiʻi.

The first 10,000 eligible registrants will be invited to play an online game that runs Tuesday through Sunday, Feb. 20 to 25, 2018, in which participants play cyber protection agents protecting an important operation base. Entrants who excel will be recognized and eligible to win computers and other prizes, as well as a trip (with a parent) to the 2018 Women in CyberSecurity Conference in Chicago in March.

“I encourage young women to sign up and to become more familiar with what it takes to work in this high-demand field,” said Gov. Ige. “Women are sorely underrepresented in this industry, and this program aims to change that. Our students have the talent and drive to succeed in cybersecurity and other high-tech fields, and we will help guide them to exciting and high-wage careers.”

“This is a wonderful educational opportunity for young women to learn about the various careers in cybersecurity. Right now, only 11 percent globally and 14 percent nationally of the cybersecurity workforce are women, and this program provides an outlet to inspire and empower high school girls who have a desire to enter the cybersecurity field,” said Office of Enterprise Technology Services Chief Information Security Officer Vincent Hoang.

“The nation desperately needs more highly-skilled cyber professionals, and we have evidence that CyberStart improves the quality of individuals entering the cybersecurity field,” said SANS Director of Research Alan Paller. Further, the two best cyber intrusion analysts I have ever met were named Vicki and Judy, yet women are woefully underrepresented in the technical side of cybersecurity. By opening CyberStart to thousands of high school girls we hope to help the nation identify the next generation of talented people who will excel in this critical field.”

The GirlsGoCyberStart program builds on last summer’s successful CyberStart pilot, in which 300 Hawaiʻi students joined 3,500 youths from seven states in game simulations and activities that taught them basic cybersecurity skills and tested their cyber aptitude.

Last year, 22 top performing Hawaiʻi students each received a SANS cybersecurity scholarship of $1,500. SANS reported that Hawaiʻi had a far larger number of high scorers and scholarship winners on a per capita basis than any other state.

Registration for GirlsGoCyberStart starts on Monday, Jan. 29, and ends on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. Participating students do not need prior cybersecurity knowledge or programming experience. All that is required is a computer and an internet connection.

Register online.

For more information on Hawaiʻi’s GirlsGoCyberStart program, including exclusive prizes for Hawaiʻi participants and orientation opportunities, click here.

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