The website “is a collaborative forum and action site for all those entities to work together,” said Donna Woods, California Cyberhub developer and product specialist.

Ultimately, Woods told EdScoop, the impetus behind the organization and website was the need for collaboration and structure around the topic of cybersecurity within California’s vast systems of K-12 schools and institutions of higher education. Woods also emphasized that other states should feel free to adopt the concept.

Cyberhub officials plan to use the website to offer cybersecurity-based educational resources, event calendars, news and planning resources for individuals or groups who want to explore cybersecurity.

“The California Cyberhub website provides educators at all levels the resources and tools to support students to train for and excel in a cybersecurity career pathway while having fun as they learn,” said Amy Tong, director and state CIO of the California Department of Technology, in an official statement.

California currently has around 45,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs, a study found, and researchers only expect demand for cybersecurity professionals to rise in the coming years.

While the aim of the organization is to increase student engagement in and understanding of the field of cybersecurity, the website will serve a greater purpose, officials said.

“Indirectly, the site is aimed at administrators and facilitators of student-centered cybersecurity training and competitions,” Steve Wright, director of ICT & digital media for California Community Colleges, told EdScoop. “There has been a great deal of interest and many programs initiated for students … so there was a need to establish a centralized support and sharing center. The combined goals are to increase the number of students, institutions and competitions in cybersecurity year over year.”

Last month’s California Cybersecurity Innovation Challenge is one such competition. Hosted by the the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, or GO-BIZ, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, the event included more than 100 students competing in cybersecurity-based challenges.

While students were competing, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, the Department of Technology, the National Guard, the FBI, the Los Angeles Unified School District and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo drafted new training materials, online resources and cybersecurity career-planning infrastructure “so that colleges can hit the ground running with planning and development at the start of the fall semester,” according to the release.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Congratulations to Coast Union High School for winning Best New Team. June 22 23 24 2017. 16 cyber teams traveled to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to compete for the 2017 CCIC, the California State Championship.

The competition was scheduled for a day and a half, and included a forensics challenge as well as a CyberPatriot networking/systems competition. On Sunday morning each team had to compile and deliver a report on a cyber crime to a panel of judges. It was a grueling weekend, and not many of the competitors slept more than two hours on Saturday night preparing their presentation for the next morning. 


“The California Cyberhub website provides educators at all levels the resources and tools to support students to train for and excel in a cybersecurity career pathway while having fun as they learn,” said Amy Tong – Director and State CIO, California Department of Technology. The California Cyberhub concept development was funded by the CA Tech Hire Academy grant, provided by Vice Chancellor Van Ton Quinlivan, under the California Community Colleges Doing What Matters for Jobs and the Economy program.

In addition to providing educational resources, the online tool,, includes a listing of cybersecurity competitions and events, including events like last month’s California Cyber Innovation Challenge which brought more than 100 student competitors from across the state to compete in a series of problem-solving challenges. The overnor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, Hosted at California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo and the affiliated California Cyber Training Complex, this event demonstrated the expertise and ingenuity of California’s future cybersecurity leaders.

“It is inspiring to see this diverse group of leaders from across the state working together to increase opportunities and resources for cybersecurity education,” said Panorea Avdis, Director of the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). “Private and public sector partners working collaboratively to scale up the resources and platforms for training and skills development is the only way we will meet the demands of our future cybersecurity workforce needs.”

California has more than 900 teams in the CyberPatriot program, empowering thousands of students to learn valuable skills in a team setting similar to that of traditional high school sports. In addition to the CyberPatriot program, the California Cyber Training Complex created a first of its kind “Digital Forensics” Challenge at the California Cyber Innovation Challenge. Students collected and analyzed a combination of digital and physical evidence hidden in a car, thus simulating the process of a modern-day criminal investigation. This statewide competition included teams from an entrepreneurship school, a military academy, and two all-female teams.

For more information on the Cyberhub initiative, visit

About GO-Biz

GO-Biz serves as the State of California’s leader in job growth and economic development efforts. GO-Biz offers a range of services to business owners including: attraction, retention and expansion services, site selection, permit streamlining, clearing of regulatory hurdles, small business assistance, international trade development, assistance with state government and more.

About Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Cal Poly is a nationally ranked, four-year, comprehensive public university located in San Luis Obispo, halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles on California’s Central Coast. It is a distinctive learning community offering academically focused students a hands-on educational experience that prepares them for today’s scientific and technical world. Cal Poly is consistently ranked a top university for academics, value and graduates’ salaries.

About Doing What Matters for Jobs and the Economy

Doing What Matters for jobs and the economy is a four-pronged framework to respond to the call of our nation, state, and regions to close the skills gap. The goals of Doing What Matters for Jobs and the Economy are to supply in-demand skills for employers, create relevant career pathways and stackable credentials, promote student success and get Californians into open jobs.


Left to right: Donna Woods (Cybehub Developer), Richard Grotegut (ICT DSN-Bay Region), Bruce Burton (CCTC Mgr Cal Poly), Sid Voorakkara (GoBiz), Paula Hodge (ICT DSN South Coast), Scott Young (Pres LTS), Oliver Rosenbloom (GoBiz)

cyberhub 2

Donna Woods leads California Cyberhub working group at the California Cyber Innovation Challenge weekend at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Scott Young
California Cyberhub
[email protected]


c. Year 1 Priorities (my view):

i. Getting access to a reliable network.
ii.Setting up a regular practice schedule. 1-2 times per week is sufficient.
iii. Understanding how to download, validate and unzip the images.
iv. Understanding how to download, validate and unzip the images.
v. For High Schools/All Service – Encourage freshmen and sophomores to join so you can build for the future.
vi. For Middle Schools – Encourage 6th and 7th graders to join so you can build for the future.

d. Recruiting tools:

1. This represents 1-2% of the actual live cyber attacks. This graphic works at ALL grade levels and is especially effective with school officials.

iii. CyberPatriot official videos.

2. CP IX

e. Pick 1 Operating System for your students to focus on

i. Windows – recommended unless you/your students/your mentor have a background in either Linux or CISCO
iii. Linux
iii. CISCO (not an OS, but a major part of CyberPatriot)

f. Team composition: 4-5 to a team, but I recommend 5 so you have enough on the team to cover multiple systems in the later rounds.

g. Training tips

i. CyberPatriot website
ii. YouTube is your friend
iii. Mentor

2. Starting the Year

a. Gather interested students and get them excited.

b. Hold tryouts (even if you are going to keep all of them). Give the students the impression that CyberPatriot is some special. Their attitude and dedication counts.

c. Establish a regular practice time. My teams practice for 3 hours weekly (1.5 hours x 2 days).

3. How to approach the Competitions

a. Use practice and exhibition rounds as a chance to practice like you play.

b. Emphasize using a checklist. Your students have to put their together so they understand what needs to happen at each point of the checklist.

c. Insist they use logs to track what they have accomplished. This REALLY comes in handy if they need to restart mid-game and also for the last hour of the game when they are brain dead and need to review what they have already tried.

4. Putting together teams

a. Balance – if you have the talent, balance your team(s) so that there are two students covering Windows, two on Linux and one for CISCO/networking.

b. If you are a new team/cyber program, recommend picking one OS and practice on that this year and go for a 2nd OS next year.

c. If you are going to have more than one team, don’t establish your official CP roster until October in case you have some students who lose motivation or their teamwork skills are lacking.

5. Determining Success

a. YOU, the coach, determine success.

b. Certainly, making it to nationals and winning it all is everyone’s goal. However, with an expected 5,000 teams this year for CP IX, picking something more reasonable may help keep your team up for the challenge.

c. Success can be:

i. Scoring better than last year.
ii. Scoring better than last round.
iii. Scoring better than your other team(s).
iv. Scoring better than a local team.
v. Finishing your checklist the 1st time through faster than last round.
vi. (you get the picture)

6. Building for the Future (High School)

a. Find bright 9th and 10th graders to learn and get better over the next few years.

b. Host a summer cyber camp and invite middle school/incoming 9th graders.

c. Visit your local junior/middle schools with your 9th and 10th graders. Allow them to sell cyber defense.

d. Invite the middle/junior school teams to practice with your high school teams.

7. Personal Lessons

a. GOOD Mentors are worth gold. We have gone through 3 and currently don’t have one.

b. Students learn best when THEY teach others. Lean on your experienced players to teach others.

c. The school network is good enough to win on. BUT you need to have the district/school IT personnel’s cell phone just in case things go south.

i. Network filters may have to be adjusted so that your teams can talk with the scoring engine.
ii. Network filters also need to allow your teams to go to anti-virus and anti-malware program websites. Use the practice rounds to make sure that it works.
iii. Invite your school IT, principal, district IT, superintendent to come watch a practice or competition round.

d. Integrity is a MUST. Teach them what it is, hold them to it and if your students can’t be trusted, boot them off of your team.

e. Insist that all returning players learn a new area each year. After 3 years, they should be able to handle any computer on the network and CISCO.

f. Friday is a tough day to compete – your students have had a long week at school. They need to be FRESH for a 6 hour competition.


1. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

We spend so much time teaching students how to answer questions that we often neglect to teach them how to ask them. Asking questions—and asking good ones—is a foundation of critical thinking. Before you can solve a problem, you must be able to critically analyze and question what is causing it. This is why critical thinking and problem solving are coupled together.

Wagner notes the workforce today is organized very differently than it was a few years ago. What we are seeing are diverse teams working on specific problems, as opposed to specific specialties. Your manager doesn’t have all the answers and solutions—you have to work to find them.

Above all, this skill set builds the very foundation of innovation. We have to have the ability to question the status quo and criticize it before we can innovate and prescribe an alternative.

2. Collaboration Across Networks and Leading by Influence

One of the major trends today is the rise of the contingent workforce. In the next five years, non-permanent and remote workers are expected to make up 40 percent of the average company’s total workforce. We are even seeing a greater percentage of full-time employees working on the cloud. Multinational corporations are having their teams of employees collaborate at different offices across the planet.

Technology has allowed work and collaboration to transcend geographical boundaries, and that’s truly exciting. However, collaboration across digital networks and with individuals from radically different backgrounds is something our youth needs to be prepared for. According to a New Horizons report on education, we should see an increasing focus on global online collaboration, where “digital tools are used to support interactions around curricular objectives and promote intercultural understanding.”

Within these contexts, leadership among a team is no longer about commanding with top-down authority, but rather about leading by influence. Ultimately, as Wagner points out, “It’s about how citizens make change today in their local communities—by trying to influence diverse groups and then creating alliances of groups who work together toward a common goal.”

3. Agility and Adaptability

We live in a VUCA (Volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world. Hence, It’s important to be able to adapt and re-define one’s strategy.

In their book, “Critical Thinking: How to Prepare Students for a Rapidly Changing World,” Richard Paul & Dillion Beach note how traditionally our education and work mindset has been designed for routine and fixed procedure. “We learned how to do something once, and then we did it over and over. Learning meant becoming habituated,” they write. “But what is it to learn to continually re-learn? To be comfortable with perpetual re-learning?”

In the post-industrial era, the impact of technology has meant we have to be agile and adaptive to unpredictable consequences of disruption. We may have to learn skills and mindsets on demand and set aside ones that are no longer required.

4. Initiative and Entrepreneurship

Traditionally, initiative has been something students show in spite of or in addition to their schoolwork. For most students, developing a sense of initiative and entrepreneurial skills has often been part of their extracurricular activities. With an emphasis on short-term tests and knowledge, most curricula have not been designed to inspire doers and innovators.

Are we teaching our youth to lead? Are we encouraging them to take initiative? Are we empowering them to solve global challenges? Throughout his research, Wagner has found that even in corporate settings, business leaders are struggling to find employees who consistently “seek out new opportunities, ideas and strategies for improvement.”

5. Effective Oral and Written Communication

A study by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills showed that about 89 percent of employer respondents report high school graduate entrants as “deficient” in communication.

Clear communication isn’t just a matter of proper use of language and grammar. In many ways, communicating clearly is an extension of thinking clearly. Can you present your argument persuasively? Can you inspire others with passion? Can you concisely capture the highlights of what you are trying to say? Can you promote yourself or a product?

Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson has famously said “Communication is the most important skill any leader can possess.” Like many, he has noted it is a skill that can be learned and consequently used to open many opportunities.

6. Assessing and Analyzing Information

We now live in the information age. Every day we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. As this infographic shows, this would fill 10 million Blu-ray disks.

While our access to information has dramatically increased, so has our access to misinformation. While navigating the digital world, very few students have been taught how to assess the source and evaluate the content of the information they access. Moreover, this information is continuously evolving as we update our knowledge base faster than ever before.

Furthermore, in the age of fake news, an active and informed citizen will have to be able to assess information from many different sources through a critical lens.

7. Curiosity and Imagination

Curiosity is a powerful driver of new knowledge and innovation. It is by channeling a child-like sense of awe and wonder about the world that we can truly imagine something even better. It takes powerful imagination to envision breakthroughs and then go about executing them. It is the reason Albert Einstein famously said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

We consistently spoon-feed students with information instead of empowering them to ask questions and seek answers. Inquisitiveness and thinking outside the box need to be treated with the same level of importance the school system gives to physics or math.

Transforming the Future of Education

There is a stark contrast between these seven survival skills of the future and the focus of education today. Instead of teaching students to answer questions, we should teach them to ask them. Instead of preparing them for college, we should prepare them for life.

Beyond creating better employees, we must aim to create better leaders and innovators. Doing so will not only radically transform the future of education and the workforce, it will also transform the world we live in.

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