The National Cyber League had Record High Participation Numbers for 2014

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Validating cybersecurity skills is critical not only for companies looking for talent, but for educators looking to improve their programs and the National Cyber League (NCL) is helping. Reaching a record high of 1,368 participants from 145 schools in 35 states in 2014 means that there is confidence the NCL is doing things correctly.

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We are big proponents of hands-on learning and really like the interactive and dynamic nature of the NCL, and feel that just by participating in the competition, our students gained in their quest of becoming cybersecurity professionals.

Validating cybersecurity skills is critical not only for companies looking for talent, but for educators looking to improve their programs and the National Cyber League (NCL) is helping. Reaching a record high of 1,368 participants from 145 schools in 35 states in 2014 means that there is confidence the NCL is doing things correctly. By engaging students and faculty in ongoing virtual games aligned to customized content, the NCL legitimizes participant’s cybersecurity skills.

One unique aspect of the NCL is that there is no cost for faculty at two and four-year schools to integrate the NCL performance-based curriculum into the classroom. Instructor syllabi, recommended textbooks, lab exercises, video tutorials, etc. are included with suggested course progressions from NCL preparatory lab exercises to professional certifications.

“This semester we are offering a Special Topics course on Ethical Hacking and used the National Cyber League as the main resource for running this course,” states Aaron Tanaka, Professor at Honolulu Community College. “A few of our students performed very well in the competition (one student won the Western Conference) but we were most pleased with the overall performance of all of our students. We are big proponents of hands-on learning and really like the interactive and dynamic nature of the NCL, and feel that just by participating in the competition, our students gained in their quest of becoming cybersecurity professionals.”

One of the distinguishing factors of the NCL is the integration of learning objectives in all activities. This is achieved by aligning preparatory lab exercises in the NCL Gymnasiums with games. Players use the Gym environment to develop knowledge and skills and then demonstrate these newly acquired skills in competitive individual and team play.

This integration also allows the NCL to measure player’s game performance and produce individualized reports (AKA NCL Scouting Reports) on strengths and weakness amongst various learning objectives (e.g., Open Source Intelligence, Network Traffic Analysis, Log Analysis, Web Application Exploitation, etc.), Enumeration and Exploitation. The scouting report benefits the participant as it lets them know their strengths and weaknesses, as well as companies looking for qualified talent.

The NCL is taking cybersecurity education to a whole new level. In 2015, the NCL will be offering a Season Pass that allows students and faculty to participate in NCL events year round. To learn more, visit http://www.nationalcyberleague.org.

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