Cyber Start America in Georgia is a game designed to help high school student discover their potential talent in and passion for cyber-security. This is a considerable effort toward improving cyber-security considering the current lack of cyber-security professionals in the sector.  

 

“CyberStart America is the most enjoyable way to discover your talent, advance your skills and win scholarships in cybersecurity!” (CyberStart America). “Cybersecurity is a complex topic that can be difficult to learn and hard to know where to start - not any more with CyberStart. CyberStart was founded by James Lyne, a world leader in cybersecurity education. Built by an expert team of cybersecurity professionals, CyberStart gives you hands-on experience of real-world cybersecurity tasks and simulations that help you learn the skills you need to succeed!” 

 

The game was created to potentially create more cyber-security professionals by exposing high school students to cyber-security early. After playing the game, students could discover an interest in a career in cyber-security.  

 

“The program features a free, learn-as-you-go, online game designed to help students explore cybersecurity and compete for college scholarships in cyber studies. The event, which starts Oct. 27, continues through April 27 and seeks to reach students in more than 800 high schools across Georgia. Gov. Brian Kemp and the Georgia Department of Education are supporting the initiative.” (University of North Georgia).  

 

Multiple institutions in Georgia are spearheading the initiative.  

 

“Produced by the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation and the SANS Institute, CyberStart America helps identify students with the potential to help meet our nation’s critical need for cybersecurity professionals. Five state leaders in cyber education - University of North Georgia, Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Tech Research Institute, Georgia Cyber Center and Gwinnett County Public Schools - guide the CyberStart Georgia Task Force with the aim of helping students learn about cybersecurity using an easy-to-follow game-based online platform.” (University of North Georgia). 

 

Students who score 15,000 points in the game will have a remarkable opportunity to participate in the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation competition.  

 

“The Georgia Cyber Center and UNG will host a certification event in early May to verify that each individual selected as a Georgia winner has developed the cyber skills indicated by their score in the CyberStart America game, confirming their ability to compete in similar challenges and in future workforce roles. The program is flexible and can be implemented in numerous ways: after-school or lunchtime club; pathway program; in-class or homework assignment; extra credit; introductory cyber class; or an in-class activity for students who have already finished their other assignments.” 

 

This initiative is especially important for the state considering the ongoing lack of technology workers in the field.  

 

“CyberStart America helps identify high school students with the potential to meet the nation's critical need for cybersecurity professionals. Future employment opportunities abound, with 464,000 cyber jobs open nationally, including more than 17,000 in Georgia, according to CyberSeek.” (University of North Georgia).  

 

In addition to Gov. Brian Kemp and the Georgia Department of Education supporting the initiative, individuals are excited for what the program will bring to the state. 

 

"We are excited to provide cybersecurity learning experiences to students through CyberStart. Cybersecurity jobs are in-demand, high-wage, and high-skill opportunities," Sallie Holloway, director of artificial intelligence and computer science for Gwinnett County Public Schools, said. "We hope that this program engages interested students to develop their cyber skillsets and learn more about the career prospects available to them." (University of North Georgia).  

 

Other professionals also hope that the program will encourage students to learn more about cyberspace and careers in the industry.  

 

Dr. Bryson Payne, professor of computer science and coordinator of student cybersecurity programs at UNG, hopes CyberStart America in Georgia will get students excited about the field and encourage them to learn more about it. ‘This competition opens doors for lucrative cybersecurity careers students may not have previously considered, access to scholarships and a high-growth job market,’ Payne said.” (University of North Georgia).  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources: 

 The University of North Georgia. https://ung.edu/news/articles/2021/10/event-brings-cyber-to-high-schools.php 

CyberStart America. https://www.cyberstartamerica.org/