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Cybersecurity is increasingly an important issue. From personal computer use to large corporations the threats from cybersecurity are more and more potentially damaging.
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This is especially true for governments managing the infrastructure that provides essential services for large populations.
California is making sure they are tackling the problem by supporting the next generation of cybersecurity professionals through competitions and education. CyberHub is a statewide organization that promotes the best practice of cyber-related education and training.
Children compete for cybersecurity cup
One of their major annual programs is the California Mayor's Cyber Cup. The cup brings together students, parents, teachers, government officials, business leaders, and other stakeholders together to create awareness of cybersecurity issues and reinforce the connection between the community and our educational institutions.
The year-long activities culminate in a statewide competition of students from 12 regions competing for the Cup's perpetual trophy.
Mario Garcia, Commander of the California Cybersecurity Integration Center, will speak at this year's award ceremony on February 23. Garcia believes the event is critical in ensuring young people are educated and excited about the possibility of a career in cybersecurity.
National problem needs to be dealt with collaboratively
"Cybersecurity is the number one threat nationwide: it impacts every government entity, business, educational institution, and each one of us personally. California Cyber Hub is helping to unify California's efforts to fill over 35,000 open cybersecurity jobs by encouraging the development of cyber education and cyber competition opportunities," Garcia said.
Garcia said the events are creating a pipeline for students to move through from junior school to college.
"We are helping to create a recruitment pipeline that starts in K-12 and continues through community college and the university level," Director of the Californian Department of Technology Amy Tong said. "We want to help students see themselves as public servants."
A major supporter of the cup is the California Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development, (GO-Biz). Eileen Sanchez, chief defense industry cybersecurity resilience and innovation program manager for GO-Biz, stressed the need for business support for the cup so they too can share the load encouraging younger generations to understand the urgency of cybersecurity.
Business must build bridges with education
"California businesses need next-generation cybersecurity leaders and entrepreneurs to protect everything from our personal health data to our defense and aerospace innovations, to the development of autonomous vehicles," Sanchez said.
"The California Mayor's Cyber Cup demonstrates California's commitment to educate and encourage young cyber professionals in order to fill 37,000 open cybersecurity positions."
This year the cups programs and competitions will help add 1,000 cyber teams and develop supporting cyber education programs across the state.
In 2019 there will be more of a focus on teams in rural and economically-depressed areas, with many events being held at community colleges. The United States spent 66 billion dollars on Cybersecurity in 2018, up from 60.4 in 2017.