Five dozen teenagers hunched over computers in a hotel conference room near Washington, decrypting codes, cleaning malware and fending off network intrusions to score points in the finals of a national cybersecurity contest.
Just hours later, the high-school students got a glimpse of the labor market’s appetite for their skills as sponsors such as network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc. described career opportunities. Internships start as young as 16 at Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC)., which reserves 20 spots for participants in the Air Force Association’s contest.
“We’re the largest provider of cybersecurity solutions to the federal government, so we know that we’ve got to help build that talent pipeline,” said Diane Miller, Northrop’s program director for the CyberPatriot contest, on the sidelines of the March event. “We just have a shortage of people applying” for the 700 positions currently open.