Northrop Grumman Corporation has concluded the first year of CyberTaipan with the 2018-19 National Finals held in Canberra, Australia on March 16. Launched in June 2018, the competition is a fun way to spark youth interest in pursuing further education and careers in cybersecurity and other science, technology, mathematics and engineering (STEM) subjects.
“STEM education is vital to the future of Australia and its national security. Programs such as CyberTaipan play an important role in teaching not only technical skills, but also professional skills such as leadership, communications, collaboration and teamwork,” said Mike Gallagher, strategy director, Northrop Grumman Australia.
CyberTaipan is presented by Northrop Grumman Australia in partnership with AustCyber, the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network. The pilot season was sponsored by BlackBerry, PwC Australia and Woodside Energy. “We are thrilled with the interest this competition has received, as it shows a real appetite for this kind of challenge. Engaging youth and ensuring Australia is a leader in cyber education is what drives our work at AustCyber,” said Michelle Price, CEO, AustCyber.
The competition aims to attract youth from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, as diversity is critical for creating the best solutions to complex cyber challenges. The CyberTaipan pilot included more than 130 high school and community group students from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory. After working hard throughout 2018 to qualify, ten teams made it to the National Finals. Team TSS from The Southport School in Queensland won first place at an awards ceremony held March 16 at Parliament House.
CyberTaipan is modelled on the U.S. Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot program, which has seen more than 130,000 youth participate during the past 11 years. In addition to Australia, Northrop Grumman has expanded the program to the U.K. and Saudi Arabia.
“I am delighted with the success of CyberTaipan to date, and I hope it inspires participants to pursue further study and careers in cybersecurity,” said Diane Miller, director, global cyber education and workforce initiatives, Northrop Grumman. “The enthusiasm I’ve witnessed among the Australian students and educators is inspirational, and I have no doubt the program will continue to grow in future years to help address the shortage of cyber professionals.”