Scads of 'em. Competitions, that is.
Computer Tech and Cybersecurity students have an opportunity to compete in a variety of technical competitions that involve programming (coding, for those of you in the know), and cybersecurity.
Here are the ones that are currently in play:
U.S. Air Force Association CyberPatriot
CyberPatriot is a competition that is supported by Northrup Grumman, a large U.S. defense contractor, the U.S. Air Force Association and other supporters who have a vested concern in helping young people understand the ramifications of working in a cybersecurity position.
You do not have to be a student to participate in CyberPatriot. Here are some of the pertinent details:
- The competition starts usually around September with a practice round designed to help yo understand how the competition runs, complete with answers to the problems.
- You will work in teams of 3-5 students.
- You will likely have a mentor. In times past our mentors have come from the Red Rocks Community College cybersecurity program.
- You will start by working with Microsoft Windows and Ubuntu Linux. At first you will work with just the workstation-level software (i.e. your PC's operating system), but then you will graduate to the server versions of each.
- You will use a well-known virtualization product called VMWare in which you'll run your competition operating system problem images.
- You will be looking at/for services (e.g. daemons in Linux), file and user permissions, rogue executables, registry hacks and other things like this.
- While you are working on the operating system environments, another person on your team will be going through Cisco Academy's Packet Tracer program, trying to solve a networking problem.
- Of course, as you move through the year, you will be downloading increasingly difficult images to solve. Some of them can be pretty daunting!
- If you are interested in training ahead of time, you can get free training right from the CyberPatriot website.
- There several different divisions. You will compete in the open division. There are divisions for middle school, and ROTC students as well.
- For each division, there will be a silver, gold, and platinum winner. Silver and gold divisions cannot proceed past the state-level competitions. Platinum winners have the ability to go on to national finals. National finalists go to Washington D.C. for the final competition of the year.
- Depending on how well you score, you may wind up going through several different competition rounds, culminating in late winter of the following year (e.g. 2018 - 2019).
- CyberPatriot uses a scoring engine to score the competitors as they go through their image looking for issues.
- The competition is open for three days. Typically we run our competition segment at Warren Tech on the first day (usually Friday) from 8:00 AM - 2:00 PM. You will likely be in your regular classroom for all competitions, though there is a possibility that at least some of the competitions will be held at Red Rocks instead.
- One of the biggest advantages of competing in CyberPatriot is that you get to meet the students in the Red Rocks Community College cybersecurity program, including their instructors. Red Rock's cybersecurity program is one of just a handful of colleges in the nation that have been awarded a Center of Excellence status by the National Security Agency (NSA). If you are interested in a cybersecurity position, Red Rocks would be the ideal place to start.
- In the 2017-2018 school year, the Warren Tech PM team took 2nd (gold) in the State open division semifinals. The AM team got a high platinum score, but did not advance past semifinals.
CodeQuest is programming competition hosted by Lockheed Martin, another large space organization with divisions in many different parts of the country and Europe. Here is some relevant information you will need if you will be considering to participate in CodeQuest:
- There are two divisions: Novice, and Advanced
- CodeQuest typically occurs on the last Saturday of April. However, om 2018, it occurred on the next to last Saturday in April (the 21st). In all previous competitions, it has snowed on the day of the competition.
- The current competition supports five languages: Visual Basic (VB.net), C, C++, Python, and Java.
- You will be participating on a team of three people, with one more designated as an emergency substitute.
- You can bring only one laptop to the competition, and, if you like, you can bring an extra monitor.
- Your laptop will have to have the scoring engine - PC2 - loaded on it.
- You will be given a packet with 20 problems. The problems range in point value.
- There is a large team of judges who sit in a separate room and watch the competitors' work. Judges can disallow certain entries.
- The event lasts from 7:30 AM - 2:00 PM. Lockheed Martin serves breakfast, and lunch. There is free cola, water, coffee, and other drinks.
- There are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes for the Novice teams, and also for the Advanced teams.
- Every competitor goes home with a bag of Lockheed Martin goodies.
- The location of the Colorado competition - Lockheed's Deer Creek facility - is an absolutely beautiful, stunning place.
- The biggest advantage to competing in CodeQuest is that you get to meet some really, really engineers and technicians who work at Lockheed Martin. Lockheed has a high school intern plan, and they are the kind of company you might want to target if you are interested in a technological position.
- Warren Tech students have been successful at CodeQuest, having taking 2nd and 3rd in novice divisions in previous years, and 3rd in advanced in 2018.
Colorado School of Mines (CSM) Computer Science (CS) Department Programming Competition
In 2018 CSM's CS department held its first programming competition. The Warren Tech AM team - called the Crummies - actually took 1st place among 16 teams! The photo in the heading above is a picture of the winning team. First place winners had their choice of an Amazon Alexa, or a Raspberry Pi kit.
Here's the relevant info:
- The competition is planned to occur on each CSM E-Days celebration. This year it was the last Friday in March. E-Days is a time of celebration for the students.
- CSM's CS department uses Kattis for their practice problems, for their competition problem set, and for their competition engine.
- There is an open Kattis site that you can go to so you can start practicing for the competition.
- The allowed programming languages are: Ruby, C++, Java and Python.
- CSM CS provided lunch.
- CSM CS had some great competition mentors, and judges (in the form of seniors or graduate students).
- The biggest benefit of competing in the CSM CS programming competition is that you get to network with the people that make decisions about who actually gets admitted to Mines. Dr. Tracy Camp is the head of the CS department there, and she is truly a wonderful person who is interested in seeing young people earn a technical college degree and work in the industry.
Lockheed Martin Cyber Code Quest Competition
Lockheed Martin has had such great success with their CodeQuest competitions that they have now decided to host a cybersecurity competition. There is very little detail as of this writing, but here is the relevant information we know right now:
- The inaugural event will be held in the "Fall/Winter" of 2018.