Since January, high school-aged girls from across the U.S. have been participating in a national cybersecurity educational competition. Girls Go CyberStart (GGCS) is designed to educate and inspire teen-aged girls to discover the opportunities and rewards offered by a career in cybersecurity.
Nationally, 269 teams and 240 individual girls participated in this year’s competition; including California’s 29 teams and 102 girls who qualified to compete in the U.S. National Championship. Organizers have tallied the scores and announced the top teams and individual performers… and California did very well, placing no lower than the top third. The state’s top three teams were:
- TOLOGS Tech Team – Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy
Flintridge | National Rank: 19
- Eagles Cyber Club – Vista Del Lago High
Folsom | National Rank: 77
- McCyber Sun Devils – Mt. Carmel High
San Diego | National Rank: 80
The GGCS is an important event to help attract women into the male-dominated cybersecurity field. According to a 2017 industry report, women in the U.S. cybersecurity field account for only 14 percent, compared to 48 percent in the general workforce.
“Every year the gap between the male and female cybersecurity workforce continues to grow,” said Amy Tong, State CIO and California Department of Technology (CDT) director, who sponsored California’s GGCS effort. “This program is an excellent way to get young women into the cybersecurity jobs pipeline.”
Promoting involvement and encouraging participation was a team effort. Apart from Director Tong, CDT’s Deputy Director for Professional Development Brenda Bridges-Cruz and State Chief Information Security Officer Vitaliy Panych were involved every step of the way.
“It was exciting to work with several club advisors and meet the students on some of our local teams,” Bridges-Cruz said. “Showing support for the students and generating interest in technology to help drive more females to the field is a worthy effort. I am so proud of these girls’ accomplishments, especially during a very chaotic and stressful time for them. Next year will be even better for our California students!”
This thought is echoed by all involved. When talking about how California fared in this year’s competition, Director Tong smiles. “I am so proud of the effort made by our teams and individuals,” she said. They worked their hearts out, overcame barriers and did an amazing job! Every one of them turned in an awesome performance, and I’m honored to have been this year’s California sponsor.”