At a summer camp for future cybersecurity experts, 20 high school students will build computers at Norwich University in Vermont that they’ll be able to take home. 200 students in South Dakota will learn programming at Dakota State University. And in Southern California, 250 Girl Scouts will earn patches flying drones. They’ll also be given small computers.
These summer camps are part of GenCyber, an expanding but small program funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Security Agency. In government and private industry, there is a growing and unstoppable demand for cybersecurity experts. The agencies are planning for the future, teaching children about online threats, as well as the basics of information collecting and defense.
“In order to be really cyber aware, or be ready for the next wave of the cybersecurity workforce, a student, high school, college or new grad entering the workforce really needs to be fundamentally strong in those principles and programming,” said associate professor Josh Pauli of Dakota State. He will oversee the program this summer, which is expected to bring 2oo students to the Madison South Dakota campus. “We’re trying to bake it in early when these kids are 15, 16, 17 years old.”