CyberUp was excited to launch the PowerUp Cyber Games in a pilot season at the beginning of 2020 with 75 participants from middle and high schools and nonprofit organizations in Missouri and Illinois. All of our student participants noted significant improvements in their understanding of cybersecurity and the tools that cybersecurity professionals use on a daily basis. Due to the success of the pilot season, we decided to launch the program nationwide in the fall of 2020. Over the course of the inaugural season, about 375 students participated, and we have had similar successes with the expanded group of students. From information collected in monthly surveys, we know that the program not only teaches students cybersecurity basics, but that they are actually learning the material, making the possibility of a career in cybersecurity in the future a likely reality for our participants.
Cybersecurity is an extremely fast-growing industry, with hundreds of thousands of open jobs, most of which pay a very good salary, even as an entry-level worker. When the students participate in PowerUp, they are taught the same skills, tools, and knowledge that real cybersecurity professionals use in the real world. This experience directly helps our mission to “cultivate the cybersecurity talent pipeline” by preparing students to take these open jobs, thus protecting our country and organizations from the threat of hacks and breaches.
To celebrate the end of our inaugural season, we have set up a virtual party on May 12th from 6 pm – 7 pm CST that will be broadcast via YouTube Live. Our guest speaker will be Chris Roberts, Chief Security Strategist at Cynet Security, who is fun, dynamic, and likes to wear tutus and tights. There’s no telling what he’ll have to say, but we can be sure it will be entertaining and compelling. After he speaks, Executive Director Tony Bryan will announce the first, second and third placed winners for both middle and high school teams and individuals. We will also announce some interesting statistics and factoids from the season, and the gaming platform Cyber Skyline CEO, Franz Payer, will be going over a series of the hardest questions from the season. To encourage participation from our teams and individuals, we will be giving away some door prizes, including CyberUp T-shirts, aluminum water bottles, and notebooks — so make sure to sign up on our Eventbrite event here.