With recent news reports in Rhode Island highlighting the need to focus education efforts on building the skills necessary to fill high-demand jobs, Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) announced the third edition of the Rhode Island Cyber Foundations Competition. This contest tests the computer networking skills of high school students while introducing them to the growing field of cybersecurity. Participants must register by Monday, October 15, with Rhode Island State Coordinator Erin Flynn from New England Institute of Technology at eflynn AT neit DOT edu, as well as through the Cyber Foundations website, www.cyberfoundations.org. There are registration options for individuals, as well as for schools that want to open the event to an unlimited number of their students.
"Extensive reporting in The Providence Sunday Journal this month noted that the pervasive "mismatch between the skills that workers have and what employers need has held back the Rhode Island economy,' with "computer systems analysts' and "software developers' among the areas in which workers are in high demand," said Langevin, who co-chairs both the Career and Technical Education and Cybersecurity Caucuses in the House of Representatives. "We must take a comprehensive approach to solving this problem that includes not only providing immediate assistance to the unemployed and underemployed, but also strengthening the pipeline for training skilled workers through all levels of education.
"There is a particularly significant shortfall of cybersecurity professionals despite a growing market for their talents as cyber threats increase, and Rhode Island has an opportunity to fill this void. The Cyber Foundations Competition is a centerpiece of an effort to build up an industry that will provide sustainable job creation and growth in our state."
Langevin has brought together New England Institute of Technology, the state's Department of Education, the Rhode Island Science and Technology Advisory Council and Tech Collective to start the Cyber Foundations Competition in Rhode Island as part of his efforts to improve our state's workforce development in emerging industries. In its second edition, Rhode Island's competition had the highest participation rate of any state in the country. The state's top three finalists of the 2012 competition will receive cash prizes.
Administered in states across the country by the National Board of Information Security Examiners (NBISE), the contest features a series of timed quizzes that last about one hour each to test aptitude in the three most important foundational skills of effective cybersecurity: networking, operating systems, and system administration. Preparation is expected to require about two to six hours per segment. Students are provided with tutorials and training materials to review in each of the subject areas and then participate in a series of increasingly challenging quizzes focused on those foundational skills.
This fall's contest is scheduled to take place as follows:
Module 1 on Networking -- November 2
Module 2 on Operating Systems -- November 16
Module 3 on System Administration -- December 7
The business, military, education and nonprofit sectors are also encouraged to get involved by volunteering as mentors, speaking at workshops or taking part in other outreach efforts. These partnerships help connect students to local higher education institutions and businesses to provide them with a year-round connection to the cyber security or technical industries to promote career interest.
Questions on any aspect of the competition should be directed to Erin Flynn of New England Tech at eflynn AT neit DOT edu.
Past State Winners:
Fall 2011: Adam Sowden, Exeter West Greenwich High School Class of 2014
Winter 2010-2011: Luca Spinazzola, Narragansett High School Class of 2011