Cyber First Girls Competition – there’s still time to sign up!
The NCSC are working hard to get more girls interested in a career in cyber security. The CyberFirst Girls Competition provides a fun but challenging environment to inspire the next generation of young women to consider a career in cyber security.
Hyndland Secondary School’s Mr Mullin and three students explain their enthusiasm for the CyberFirst competition
Mr Mullin writes:
The CyberFirst Girls competition is a great way to spark pupils’ imaginations and foster an interest in Cyber Security and Computing Science – the challenges are excellent, and some of them are very difficult, but they are constructed in such a way as to encourage teamwork and resilience. Above all, it requires pupils to find things out for themselves! The regex crossword questions are a good example – pupils were presented with a strange looking puzzle, something they have never seen before – so their thinking process follows the general pattern:
1) We need to find out what this is
2) Now we need to find out how you solve these types of puzzles (find relevant websites etc)
3) Apply what we’ve learned to solve it together!
The questions are well constructed and the only way to be successful is for pupils to look things up and investigate the various technologies and techniques for themselves – so it encourages independent learning – through this process, the pupils are learning valuable skills which are highly relevant to a huge number of careers, but particularly Computer Science and Cyber Security.
At our school, we undertake a number of initiatives to try to address the gender imbalance in Computer Science classes – this competition was one such initiative, and was hugely successful – through taking part in the competition, the girls discovered the importance of Cyber Security, that Computing is really about people and it presented a number of opportunities for me to engage with them in a positive way about these subjects. Every girl who took part in the competition elected to study Computing Science as one of their N5 subjects.
I am proud to say that last year our team managed to get in the top 20 list, and we were the best in Scotland – so I am really proud of the girls’ achievements. I hope for another strong performance this year. I also hope that more schools are able to take part in the competition as a way of promoting Cyber Security and Computing Science to pupils who otherwise may not have seen it as an option for themselves.
Student Mairi writes:
I really enjoyed the CyberFirst experience and would definitely recommend it to anyone. It really challenged me to use previous and new knowledge. My team and I developed very good teamwork skills and we really improved our ability to problem solve. I learnt so much over the week that I took part in the CyberFirst competition. It introduced me to cyber security and since then I would say I have developed a real interest in this field. My team did really well and achieved a great place in the final rankings.
Student Cara writes:
I found the CyberFirst competition to be a very positive experience. It gave me the opportunity to learn more about cyber security and I learnt that it was something that I was really interested in. It also allowed me to improve my teamwork skills and to look at problems from different perspectives that I never would have previously considered. I enjoyed challenging myself to solve different problems and improve my skills in this area. It was both fun and interesting, I recommend it to anyone who can take part.
Student Kirsty writes:
I took part in the CyberFirst competition last year along with some of my friends. I went in knowing nothing about cyber security, and came out with a good knowledge of what it was, what it involved and I actually found it very interesting. The questions were challenging and they really made me think, but throughout the competition I definitely improved my problem solving skills. Whilst taking part in the competition, not only did we really enjoy ourselves, but I would say that it was also a really good teambuilding experience and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again!
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