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NDSU students advance to National Cybersecurity Competition quarterfinal

A pair of NDSU students participating in the Cyber FastTrack program have advanced to the quarterfinals. NDSU and Williston State University tied with the highest student advancement percentage for schools from North Dakota. Six NDSU students participated.The overall rate of advancement to the quarterfinals for North Dakota colleges and universities is under 15 percent.

The competition, sponsored by the SANS Institute, pits students against competitors from hundreds of schools in 25 eligible states. In North Dakota, nine schools participated. Students competing in the Cyber Fast Track program can win prizes from a $2.5 million prize pool, including scholarships and access to professional certifications and specialized instructional materials. Advancement to the quarterfinals places the NDSU students one step closer to earning an award.

“NDSU students participate in numerous cybersecurity competitions,” said NDSU assistant professor Jeremy Straub, who is the coordinator of cybersecurity programs in the Department of Computer Science. “Each of these competitions allows students to develop and demonstrate real-world skills. This both prepares them for employment in the cybersecurity field and demonstrates their capabilities to prospective employers.”

Cybersecurity is an area of acute skill shortage, with more than 300,000 positions open nationally and just under 500 needing to be filled in North Dakota, according to CyberSeek.org. In both cases, the open positions are approximately one-third of total positions.

Competitions, such as Cyber Fast Track, allow students to augment their learning in the classroom with fun challenges in a competitive environment. The competitions are designed to encourage students to pursue cybersecurity careers and identify start students to potential employers.

NDSU offers both undergraduate and graduate credentials in cybersecurity. These include a graduate certificate in cybersecurity and cybersecurity options as part of its well-established master’s and doctoral degree programs in computer science and software engineering.

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North Dakota State University
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