This April, a group of 24 students from the University of Nevada, Reno Cyber Club took part in the National Cyber League Spring competition and posted impressive scores. Club members took three of the top 11 spots and seven members finished in the top 10% of 3,350 competitors nationally. In the team competition, a group of five club members captured second place out of 264 teams.
"In just their second year of the competition the club has established themselves as one of the top competition groups in the country," said Bill Doherty, a professor of computer technologies at Truckee Meadows Community College and coach for the Nevada Cyber Club. "I'm very impressed with the initiative shown by the club in preparing for these competitions. They've done an exceptional job of organizing themselves and mentoring new club members for the competitions."
The National Cyber League, or NCL, is a defensive and offensive puzzle-based, capture-the-flag style cybersecurity competition. Its virtual training ground helps college students prepare and test themselves against cybersecurity challenges that they will likely face in the workforce. All participants play the games simultaneously during the competition.
"NCL has been an immensely valuable experience for my professional and personal growth," said club member Timothy Muller. "I've been able to develop skills in different disciplines of cyber security, and show off those skills on my resume as well as my placements in the games. I especially enjoyed cooperating with my teammates and friends in the post game, even if I felt like ripping my hair out at certain points, since solving that one stubborn problem with the help of my team made it all the more satisfying."
Cyber club, competitions provide real-world skills for students
Collegiate students benefit because the NCL competition simulates a workplace experience where students use the tools of the cybersecurity profession to apply their classroom learning. Each competitor receives a "scouting report" at the conclusion of the competitions which details the challenges completed successfully and unsuccessfully. These reports help students identify areas for future study and often prove to be a valuable part of a job skills portfolio to submit to prospective employers.
"By participating in these activities, the students are gaining tremendous experience from real-world scenarios, which will make them excellent next-generation cybersecurity professionals in various domains," said Shamik Sengupta, executive director of the University's Cybersecurity Center.
The Nevada Cyber Club educates students on the importance cyber security and career opportunities in the cyber field while also giving them the opportunity to improve their cyber defense skills. Students participate in competitions like the the National Cyber League, hear from professionals in the field, tour tech hubs in Reno, discuss cyber security events in the news and improve their cyber skills in workshops. The Nevada Cyber Club welcomes all students interested in learning about this increasingly growing and important field. The Nevada Cyber Club can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.