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28 July 2009, 17:05

US Government uses talent competition to find IT experts

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The US Government is using a competition to find young talent for "cool jobs". (cover of a SANS brochure)
The US Government is using a competition to find young talent for "cool jobs". (cover of a SANS brochure)
The US Government wants to improve the security of its IT infrastructure and is holding a competition to find 10,000 suitable young talents. The US Cyber Challenge is divided into three internet challenges, namely the Air Force Association's "CyberPatriot High School Cyber Defense Competition", the Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center's "DC3 Digital Forensics Challenge" and the "NetWars" challenge of IT security specialist the SANS Institute. The top scorers are to be sent into a round of further selections next year. Those that are chosen will be eligible for a job with the NSA, the FBI, the Department of Defense, the Computer Emergency Response Team and the Department of Energy.

High school students can apply individually or as teams. The young talents need the skills to recognise software and network weaknesses and to investigate and prevent attacks. The US Center for Strategic International Studies, which is involved in the talent competition, writes that the challenges are designed to fill the ranks of "cyber security practitioners, researchers, and warriors". The challenges are to be accompanied by advanced education programmes.

The US Government comparesPDF the current cyberspace challenge with the conquest of space in the 1950s and 1960s, which reportedly inspired many young people to pursue careers in science and engineering. According to the government document, the average age of NASA’s Mission Control during the Apollo 17 Mission was 26. The document continues – cyber security is a similarly important challenge today, and young people are needed to ensure that the US doesn't fall behind other countries like China.


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