Summer Camp Aims To Net Future Cyber Security Professionals, As Jobs Go Unfilled

Jul 23, 2019

The field of cyber security needs people.

Across the country, there are more than 300,000 unfilled jobs in the sector. A five-day summer camp at the University of Pittsburgh aims to teach high school students the ropes and get them interested in a cyber security career.

Through Friday, about 250 students enrolled in the Air Force Association Cyber Camp learn different software programs and how to protect them, the ethics of cyber security and about careers in the field. Pitt's director for Cyber Law, Policy and Security — and former U.S. Attorney — David Hickton leads the camp.

He calls the shortage of cyber security professionals in the U.S. a crisis.

"We never really accounted for the fact that we would have all of our communications and all of our critical infrastructure attached to the Internet," Hickton said. "But it's become such an easy way to deal with each other that we've literally connected everything without worrying about security first."

While the camp is in collaboration with the Air Force Association, Hickton said the camp doesn't push students to one specific sector in cyber security. Though, he said there is a greater need for cyber security workers in the government than in the private sector.

Robinson Kastan, 18, recently graduated from Quaker Valley High School in Leetsdale, and is using the camp to help him figure out what we wants to study in college. And, he said it's fun.

"You get to really just dig around and mess with the programs, and just really understand why this works," Kastan said. "And basically make it the way you want to have it work."

Hickton said about 90 percent of the students who take the camp end up studying a STEM subject after high school.

WESA receives funding from the University of Pittsburgh.