Nearly a decade ago I was approached by a defense colleague with this crazy idea of creating a high school cybersecurity summer camp program. We knew it would be a lot of work, but we also knew there was a very real need in our industry: we just don’t have enough people to help secure our networks and our organizations. We decided to make it happen.
We didn’t want to do a simple bootcamp, or a class, or even just a lecture (as was common). We wanted to create something of real long-term value for our students. What resulted was the creation of a comprehensive, hands-on, 4-day cybersecurity training camp with real tracked learning objectives. It was important to me that, if we were going to do this, we were going to take the pedagogical approaches I had learned in the defense simulation and training industry and apply them to CyberCamp.
CyberCamp was Born
We created a list of courses, with objectives, slides, hands-on labs, Windows and Linux virtual images to secure, and all the little things that go along with a new curriculum.
|Windows Security||Linux Security|
|Introduction to Linux||Identity & Access Management|
|Intro to Cybersecurity||Advanced Cybersecurity|
|Advanced Networking||Hacking 101|
|Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)||Lockpicking 101|
With the framework in place, we needed teachers! Another really important aspect of CyberCamp is that it’s not taught just by seasoned teachers – it’s taught by security professionals! The people who actually do vulnerability management are teaching it. Not only do we give students a high-level education, our teachers also share their personal stories about how this education actually applies. Our students love it, our volunteer teachers love it, and I wish I had this when I was younger…
A Decade of Success
We have conducted a dozen CyberCamp over the past 10 years and we’ve worked with thousands of K-12 students since we launched our organization. Each year we work with our host school (University of Central Florida) to recruit students and organize the best event we possibly can. Each CyberCamp is a bit different from the last because we believe in continual improvement and, of course, technology keeps changing! While it’s a lot of work to make this happen, we only see more camps and more success to come.
We want to make CyberCamp more available and more repeatable. We plan to build out a sustainable system that allows us to host camps across the state and helps others get their local communities involved. This is a lot of work – but it’s work worth doing.
Want to help? Reach out!