Branch County students compete in national cyber security competition

Branch County students compete in national cyber security competition

Students in Branch County are learning to become experts in cyber security.

Classes at the Branch County Career Center are not only preparing students for the real world, but a new program could get them national exposure.

“We prepare them to be employable," Joe Sobeske, the cyber security teacher, said. "We want to make sure that they can go into the job market right away.”

The demand for cyber security knowledge is exploding across the country and the high-tech, high-wage jobs offer graduates of both high school and college immediate employment.

Sobeske said his focus on cyber security is part of the state of Michigan’s push.

“Their goal is to make Michigan the leader in cyber security education, and I want to be a part of it, and I want my students to be part of it,” he said.

To that end, five teams of four students will compete in November in a national cyber security competition called Cyber Patriot.

Teams across the country are given virtual operating systems with vulnerabilities. Students must find those vulnerabilities, plug them, and if they qualify, Sobeske said, “The top teams get to go to Baltimore on an all-expenses paid trip and compete against teams all over the nation.”

Coldwater High School junior Dylan Purchis said at the competition, “You’re going to meet a lot of people in the same field as you, and make a lot of connections.”

It’s an incredible opportunity not only for the students, but this next generation of cyber warriors will soon protect us all. The Cyber Patriot competition starts for the students Nov. 4, and they complete the challenge at the Branch County Career Center.

If they qualify, the national finals are in April.

Contact Christine VanTimmeren on Facebook and on Twitter.

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