The Internet is evolving, and its next phase – the Internet of Everything – brings together people, process, data and things to create opportunities that benefit people, communities, and the environment. Cisco estimates that 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020, making cybersecurity more vital than ever before. Cisco is engaged in several efforts to prepare young people for careers in the field.

First, Cisco has partnered with CyberPatriot, the national youth cyber education program. Bernie Skoch, CyberPatriot National Commissioner, emphasizes the need for cybersecurity training as breaches and threats become more common on the Internet.

“There are 15,000 attacks per second in the United States by people who would do ill to our systems,” Skoch said. “We have a dire need for cybersecurity professionals in the United States, but we frankly aren’t drawing enough young men and young women to be the designers, to be the planners, to be the operators of these very technical systems.”

The CyberPatriot competition for high school students was created by the Air Force Association to inspire high school students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

Two years ago, Cisco engineers volunteered to develop a networking security component and Corporate Affairs provided the Cisco Networking Academy curriculum and Packet Tracer network simulation tool for students to use in preparation for the CyberPatriot competition.

During this year’s competition, Cisco employees mentored semi-finalist teams in person and through Cisco WebEx and TelePresence sessions to help prepare them to compete for a chance to participate as one of the top 28 teams in person at the National Finals Competition in Washington D.C.

Josh Grenier, a past CyberPatriot participant, believes the competition exposes students to an abundance of opportunities.

“I didn’t know what else you could do with computers,” he said. “CyberPatriot’s really opened my mind and my eyes so I could see that there’s a huge career field.”

As more devices are connected to the network during the next five years, risks and threats to information will increase. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, cybersecurity jobs are expected to grow 37% by 2022, much faster than the average of 11% in other fields.

Chris Sutton, a coach from last year’s competition, has seen firsthand CyberPatriot’s positive impact on her students and the growing demand for cybersecurity skills.

“I’ve got two students that have internships this summer and they’re going to be seniors next year,” Sutton said. “They haven’t even graduated and they’re working professionally in the field.”

Cisco is also giving young people the tools and knowledge to protect the Internet from growing threats and breaches.

On July 16, Cisco’s Asia Pacific Social Innovation group is offering a free Webinar: Protecting the Internet of Everything from Smarter, Shadier and Stealthier Attacks. The Webinar is part of a series on the Internet of Everything.

Registration for the Webinar is free and open to anyone. The Webinar will be led by Cisco’s Cyber Expert, Joshua McCloud, who will teach participants how to secure the Internet of Everything and protect networks from cyber-attacks.

Attendees will learn how to create security infrastructures that provide deep visibility into networks, devices, data, and applications; threat-focused defenses driven by real-time, contextualized analytics; and a common platform of security services in any environment, physical or virtual.

Cisco’s support of the CyberPatriot competition and introduction of Internet of Everything webinars put it at the forefront of security skills training while preparing young people for essential careers in cybersecurity.


Austin Belisle

No Longer with Cisco