You Go, Girls!

There is a new movement that has been attracting a lot of attention lately, especially from high school-aged girls. In fact, nationwide more than 10,000 girls were involved in 2018 and that number is expected to triple in 2019. What is this movement that’s taking the country’s young women by storm? It’s a relatively new initiative called, Girls Go CyberStart.

Girls Go CyberStart is designed for girls enrolled in grades 9 through 12 to educate and inspire them to discover the opportunities and rewards offered by a career in cybersecurity. The program features a series of cyber challenges divided into three stages:

  1. Assess: Students will solve five or more challenges to qualify for the next stage;
  2. Game: As ‘cyber agents’ students solve digital crimes with the top-performing teams moving into the final stage;
  3. Compete: Teams from across the country compete in ‘capture the flag’ to win a national title. Top scoring teams will win cash prizes for their schools.

“The need to fill cybersecurity jobs has never been greater,” said Amy Tong, California’s Chief Information Officer and director of the California Department of Technology, who is also sponsoring the state’s initiative on behalf of the California Cybersecurity Integration Center. “Every year the gap between jobs and a trained cybersecurity workforce grows a little wider. We need to get young people into the pipeline as soon as possible and Girls Go CyberStart is an excellent way to do just that.”

Backing up Tong’s statement is a 2018 report in the New York Times that showed nationally an estimated 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs will be available and unfilled by 2021. According to the Center for Cyber Safety and Education, just 11 percent of cybersecurity professionals today are female.

Currently, California is looking to attract high schools to participate in Girls Go CyberStart. No prior experience is required to become a school Advisor and the process to sign up is free and takes less than 60 seconds to complete.

Registration closes February 14. For more information or to sign up a school, visit Girls Go Cyberstart.