CyberPatriot: An extracurricular activity for IT-minded students

December 15, 2014

CyberPatriot is perhaps one of the lesser known activities that schools usually provide, but it is one of the more unique ones as well. When one thinks of after school activities, most things that immediately come to mind are sports activities, perhaps even some clubs. CyberPatriot, however, is in its own category.

CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Education Program. It is a competition which puts teams of high school and middle school students in the position of IT professionals, where the teams are tasked with managing the networks of small companies. Teams are given a set of virtual images which represent operating systems and are tasked with finding cyber security vulnerabilities within the images and hardening the system while maintaining critical services. In short, the series of competitions given to students trains people in the younger levels of schooling to get into the IT job field in the future, which is a well sought after job in the world of businesses.

As a participant of this competition, the definition of the CyberPatroit program is pretty accurate. Most of the concepts that they have you work with requires a deep intellectual understanding of how machines work. While you may be scored on how well you did, in reality, the program does more for you than just potential prizes. The activity indirectly teaches students how computers work and how to fix issues which prop up in the logical processors that each system runs on. As someone who does not play sports, this has been a very good alternative instead to stay involved in the school community, while doing something more in my interest zone.

This program is actually a pretty big deal. Top teams within the nation actually earn an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. for the National Finals Competition, where they can earn national recognition and scholarship money for competing and coming out top. It’s all a matter of if you can find all the security breaches and patch them up. With enough practice, almost anyone can come out on top, although something like this is always a dedication. The Cyber Security field offers a lot of jobs out there, so many students who do well in CyberPatriot go out and do well in the real world due to the practice they have had in the past.

Competitions happen each year, officials are happy to see bright students each year, and hopefully each year offer recognition to some of the best.

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