CyberPatriot: Going from energy to energy with Cisco Networking Academy



For practically 20 years, the President of america and the U.S. Congress have declared October to be Cybersecurity Consciousness Month. The 2022 theme “See Your self in Cyber” is especially acceptable for Cisco Networking Academy, as cybersecurity is an important element of the training and digital expertise curriculum.

As Cisco Networking Academy celebrates 25 years of influence, we’re celebrating the folks whose lives have been impacted — 17.5 million lives in 190 international locations — as our college students develop careers which can be prepared for a digitally-transformed future.

Educating learners who join the world has been a studying journey of our personal, as we’ve grown an unmatched ecosystem of private and non-private partnerships world wide. We do that with ardour, function, and innovation by offering in-kind contributions in instruments, coaching, and assets to assist instructing and studying, as a part of Cisco’s function to Energy an Inclusive Future for All.

In July 2022, Cisco EVP and Chief Folks, Coverage & Function Officer, Fran Katsoudas, represented Cisco on the White Home Cyber Workforce and Training Summit in Washington, DC. Because the U.S. faces an estimated 700,000 vacancies in cyber-enabled jobs, Fran introduced that Cisco has dedicated to coaching a further 200,000 college students within the U.S. over the subsequent three years.

A really balanced partnership

A part of the problem of filling this cybersecurity expertise hole is attracting college students to pursue training and careers in cybersecurity. And the Air Drive Affiliation’s (AFA) CyberPatriot Program is a incredible method of doing simply that.

The CyberPatriot Program was created to encourage college students towards careers in cybersecurity or different disciplines in science, know-how, engineering, and arithmetic.

“CyberPatriot received its begin again in 2008, when a congressional research got here out that stated American college students have been doing terribly in science and arithmetic,” says Frank Zaborowski, Senior Director, CyberPatriot Operations on the Air Drive Affiliation. “The Air Drive Affiliation began coping with the junior Reserve Officers’ Coaching Corps as a result of we had the Air Drive affiliation. After which we took it out to public colleges. And [since then], we’ve grown to effectively over 144,000 college students in our alumni.”

Enjoyable and centered competitors

The Nationwide Youth Cyber Protection Competitors is on the core of the initiative, with a collection of on-line competitions by which groups of scholars, from grades six to 12, are put within the digital place of IT professionals managing the community of a small firm. The groups are given a set of digital working methods and are tasked with discovering and fixing cybersecurity vulnerabilities whereas sustaining vital providers.

The competitors makes STEM training enjoyable and centered — college students can see real-world implications and real-world profession pathways by means of a enjoyable, gamified, exercise that provides them a style of what a profession in cybersecurity might seem like. The highest groups within the nation win all-expenses-paid journeys to Maryland for the Nationwide Finals Competitors, the place they’ll earn nationwide recognition and scholarship cash.

Student looking at a table
Welcoming college students to the AFA CyberPatriot Nationwide Finals Competitors

Cindy DeCarlo, Director, International Authorities and Nationwide Safety at Cisco, says “one of the simplest ways to get somebody taken with CyberPatriot is to deliver them to the CyberPatriot Nationwide Finals Competitors. The variety throughout the groups, the camaraderie inside the groups — it’s extraordinary. It units the bar for what trade is on the lookout for. They’re not solely on the lookout for technical competency, however they’re additionally on the lookout for the teamwork, they’re on the lookout for management expertise. And this program provides college students the chance to follow all these issues.”

“We’ve watched a few of the college students who’ve began their very own firms, who’re tremendous profitable within the trade as we speak. There’s simply instance after instance of how CyberPatriot and the expertise of CyberPatriot units these college students up for achievement sooner or later,” says Cindy.

Pleasing volunteering

“CyberPatriot not solely works to handle the rising demand for brand spanking new cybersecurity professionals, but in addition supplies a method for the Public Sector groups to present again to their prospects, through mentoring help to the coed groups. This 12 months, we’re instituting scholarships for the Cisco Networking Academy Problem winners, within the order of US$54,000 to again up that dedication to this system’s efforts.”

However Cisco goes additional than awarding scholarships. Cisco has a CyberPatriot Academy inside the Cisco Networking Academy, together with an teacher course, coaching modules for coaches and mentors, quizzes, and actions utilizing our highly effective community simulation software, Cisco Packet Tracer.

And thru Cisco’s worker Time2Give volunteer program, greater than 70 Cisco staff have volunteered as mentor and/or coach for the competing groups, as a part of our Giving Again program. One shining instance of Time2Give is Roy Vestal, a Cisco worker with ardour and function, who helped set up the partnership between the organizations. Roy additionally volunteers as a CyberPatriot Coach.


You don’t should be a cybersecurity professional to assist a workforce within the CyberPatriot competitors. The Crew Coach is usually a instructor or grownup workforce chief of a team-sponsoring faculty or youth group. You don’t want any particular IT expertise, because the AFA can present volunteer Technical Mentors to assist Coaches with on-line coaching or particular subjects.

Frank relays the story of one of many competing groups whose Crew Coach was a French instructor with no tech expertise. Her college students had reformatted all of the laborious drives in her French lab! With the assistance of a mentor, her workforce made it to the Nationwide Finals Competitors.

Celebrating partnership and competitors

Cybersecurity begins with the community, and it’s a elementary element of the Cisco Networking Academy curriculum. Our curriculum begins with entry-level direct-to-learner programs on Expertise for All, by means of to Affiliate Degree CyberOps, delivered by means of our Academies, resembling excessive colleges right here within the U.S., group faculties, and universities. Our curriculum provides cybersecurity necessities, end-point safety, and cloud safety, to call only a few.

Congratulations to the AFA CyberPatriot Program getting into its XV (15th) 12 months of the competitors in October 2022. We’re proud to be your associate.

Tune-in to our podcast to study extra concerning the CyberPatriot Program.

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