Spurred by successes, NCSC launches new CyberFirst Girls Competition

The NCSC today opened registrations for its latest CyberFirst Girls Competition that will allow young girls across the UK to participate in a series of online cyber security-focused challenges and take their first steps towards a career in cyber security.

Registrations for the CyberFirst Girls Competition 2020 began today and will remain open until 21st January. Girls who are in year 8 in England and Wales, S2 in Scotland, and year 9 in Northern Ireland are eligible to participate in the competition.

"The new nationwide semi-finals we have introduced for this year’s CyberFirst Girl’s Competition allow us to unearth cyber talent from all over the UK. The thousands of girls who have previously taken part have found the experience both challenging and fun, and I would again strongly encourage girls up and down the country to get involved to make 2020 our biggest competition yet," said Chris Ensor, NCSC Deputy Director for Skills and Growth.

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Unlike previous competitions, the latest iteration will feature a new semi-final round in order to allow participants to have a greater chance of finishing at the top. It will also ensure that the top 10 finalists will come from all over the UK, with representation from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

47% rise in the number of female applicants in CyberFirst Girls Competition 2019

The announcement comes not long after the National Cyber Security Centre said that the number of girls applying for its CyberFirst summer courses rose by 47% in 2019 even though there was only a 29% increase in the overall number of applications for the courses compared to 2018.

"Nearly 12,000 girls took part in the prestigious CyberFirst Girls Competition 2019 and 705 of these enjoyed places on CyberFirst Defenders courses. Defenders, for 14 to 15-year-olds, is an introduction to how to build and protect small networks and personal devices," it said.

"We’re delighted to see so many young people interested in finding out more about cyber security. The significant rise in female applications is especially pleasing, and something we want to see continue into the future," said Ensor.

The first CyberFirst Girls Competition was launched in January 2018 with NCSC stating that the competition will provide "a fun but challenging environment to encourage and inspire the next generation of young women to consider computer science as an option with a view to a future career in cyber security".

"We need the best and brightest people – girls and boys – with a passion for technology, who can deliver the nation’s cyber security. Too often, society limits girls in what they aspire to achieve. Our CyberFirst Girls Competition will give teams the opportunity to develop new skills, meet new people and gain an exciting insight into the world of national security," said Jeremy Fleming, director of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

IMAGE SOURCE: NCSC

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