Increasing Diversity in the Cybersecurity Talent Pool through Cyber Camps and Competitions
This project addresses the well-documented need for skilled cybersecurity technicians in the Bay Area. Unmet demand for cybersecurity professionals keeps growing in the region and projections indicate that by 2022 there will be over 180,000 jobs for the Cybersecurity/Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector in the Bay Area, many of which will go unfilled. To help meet this demand, this project aims to increase the number of high school and community college students pursuing and completing a certificate of achievement or an associate degree in ICT from a Bay Area community college. To generate and maintain interest, the project team will engage students and teachers in an innovative year-long cybersecurity competition pathway program beginning with summer Cyber Camps and continuing with year-long activities and competitions. Two goals will guide the project team's efforts. First is to use the summer cyber camps and competitions to increase student access to and learning within an ICT program of study with a Bay Area community college. Second is to address the local need for more and better prepared high school and community college teachers in ICT.
The Contra Costa Community College District will leverage this project to increase the number of high school and community college students pursuing post-secondary education and eventually joining the cybersecurity workforce. Community college students will serve as Student Technical Mentors, gaining experience providing problem solving and technical support to the high school and community college competition teams, reinforcing their own understanding of cybersecurity concepts, and preparing them for entry-level technician jobs in ICT/cybersecurity. The project design will be of interest to other institutions and the project's documentation and implementation guide will allow schools to adopt and adapt a cyber camp and competitions program either as a supplemental after-school-program or one that is integral with a schools existing computer career pathways. The formative and summative evaluation of the project will make use of qualitative and quantitative data to ensure that the project remains on track and is meeting the stated goals.