Program helps women train for cybersecurity jobs in Maryland
Posted on March 4, 2019
One statewide initiative is training women for cybersecurity jobs in Maryland.
Maryland will once again participate in the GirlsGoCyberStart initiative. This innovative cybersecurity training partnership with the SANS Institute inspires the next generation of cybersecurity professionals and identifies talented youth in Maryland through a series of online challenges and puzzles.
Open to female high school students, GirlsGoCyberStart encourages participants to explore their interests in cyber studies, learn core cybersecurity skills, and build confidence in problem-solving.
“Initiatives like GirlsGoCyberStart help ensure the next generation of Maryland women close the gender gap in science and technology occupations and become leaders in the 21st century workforce,” said Governor Hogan. “I wish the Maryland teams the best of luck and I know they will do a great job representing our state in this year’s competition.”
GirlsGoCyberStart is a free online game open to all female students in grades 9 through 12, regardless of their prior knowledge or experience with cybersecurity and information technology. Playing alone or in teams, participants solve challenges to gain points and advance levels, earning prizes along the way. In addition to individual prizes, such as trips, gift certificates, and computers, the three in-state schools with the most participants will win monetary prizes.
“Competition has been shown to increase motivation and interest in science, technology, engineering, and math,” said Acting Labor Secretary James E. Rzepkowski. “GirlsGoCyberStart is one way we can empower young women to explore their interests in STEM and help ensure a diverse pipeline of talent, ready and able to fill the growing demand for cyber jobs in Maryland.”
Last year, 6,650 high school girls from 17 states and territories participated in the competition. In Maryland, 404 students from 23 high schools participated, and of the top 100 teams overall, Maryland took four of the top five positions – first, second, fourth, and fifth – proving the strength of Maryland’s future cybersecurity workforce.
“GirlsGoCyberStart provided an exciting and engaging platform to learn about cybersecurity and channel our interests and knowledge of computer science,” said Shreeya Khurana, a Montgomery Blair student whose 2018 team took fifth place in the competition. “Working as a team to solve the problems, which progressively increased in complexity as the game advanced, was challenging and satisfying. Even without any prior experience we were able to perform well and earned an award and a trip to Chicago to attend the Women in Cybersecurity conference.”