Cambridge first year student beats thousands to become UK’s new cyber superhero.
Cyber Security Challenge UK announces new programme - open for registrations today at www.cybersecuritychallenge.org.uk
Challenge website content on careers and education advice grows
A new UK Cyber Security Champion was announced today at the Cyber Security Challenge UK Awards in Bristol. Jonathan Millican, a first year university student originally from North Yorkshire currently studying at Cambridge University, and one of thousands of registered candidates, was awarded the accolade having successfully navigated his way through a series of online and face to face competitions over the past six months. To reach the winner’s podium he had to demonstrate a range of technical, communication and leadership skills at this weekend’s Challenge Masterclass grand final, designed by HPLabs and Cassidian, where his performance was judged to be the best of more than 30 finalists.
Jonathan now receives his choice of reward from a collection of career-enhancing prizes which has grown in value three-fold since last year to over £100,000 and includes bursaries for university places; internships at private companies; industry training courses; access to industry conferences, and membership to professional bodies such as the National Skills Academy for IT.
Russ Taylor, a technician in the RAF, was the runner up.
Speaking at the ceremony Millican said “I’ve never really thought about cyber security. The degree I’m currently undertaking in computer science was largely out of general interest in the subject. This award has acted as validation that I might have the skills to become a cyber security professional. What’s important is that what I have learned through this process has not just come from undertaking the competitions but from the people I have met, both candidates and professionals that together have offered a fantastic insight into an industry within which I am now seriously considering a career.”
Keynote speaker at the ceremony, Jonathan Hoyle, Director General for Cyber Security at GCHQ said, "GCHQ are proud to be sponsoring the Challenge and are keen to assist in developing the cyber security talent pool for the benefit of the whole of the UK. It is through initiatives such as this that organisations, be they in the public or private sector, can continue to develop and maintain our leading edge in cyberspace by being able to recruit the right people with the right skills."
Jonathan is the Challenge’s second champion. Last year’s winner – Dan Summers, a postman from Leeds – found his award a catalyst for a change and quickly moved from delivering the post to keeping it safe when he was asked to become part of Royal Mail’s own cyber security team.
The Masterclass Final
The team from HP and Cassidian that put together the Masterclass – a simulation of a company experiencing security challenges within which finalists have to identify the problem, identify the solution, and sell it to the company’s decision makers – felt the test they put in front of the Challenge’s 30 finalists was representative of the real world.
“The Masterclass is designed to be a true representation of what cyber security professionals are up against, explains Roy Matthews, Cassidian’s Cyber Defence Lead. “So it’s hard work, varied, intensive and hugely rewarding. Everyone who took part now understands the reality of working in this industry.”
“HP and The Cyber Security Challenge are inspiring people to develop the skills needed for successful careers in cyber security, by highlighting the real cyber threats facing organisations today,” explained Richard Brown, HP Labs, Senior Research Manager. “This is the second Masterclass HP has been proud to host, and is a demonstration of our commitment to improving the UK’s IT cyber security skills and boosting employment in our dynamic IT sector generally.”
2012/13 Challenge Competitions Programme Launched
At the same event Judy Baker, director of the Cyber Security Challenge UK gave an overview of the Challenge’s programme for 2012/13. Jay Abbott, Director Threat and Vulnerability from PwC, who chairs the Challenge Competitions Board described the competitions which begin in April and represent a bigger, more varied challenge for budding professionals. (ISC)2, BT and Get Safe Online have all joined the Challenge as competition writers.
Baker also announced the release of a raft of new guidance, advice and information through the Challenge website www.cybersecuritychallenge.org.uk including sponsors’ answers to candidate questions on careers and courses. The Challenge will be continuing to develop this resource, building up the information available to help inform those interested in learning opportunities or careers in cyber security.
Existing key sponsors such as PwC, Sophos, SANS Institute, QinetiQ, The Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance, GCHQ, HP, Cassidian and BT have all signed up again for another year of support. New elements to the incoming programme include:
“Every new Challenge programme is designed to expand the opportunities on offer for non-professionals to build a career in cyber security,” explains Baker. “This is our most ambitious programme yet. It combines competitions, education opportunities, career enhancing experiences, a wealth of online guidance, and networking events to make the Challenge a valued source of information and learning about how to become a cyber security professional. We are gearing up for new candidates to register with us today and be kept informed as each new competition comes on line.”
How to register
Anyone interested in registering for the new Challenge programme should visit the website - www.cybersecuritychallenge.org.uk for more information.
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James Romero - Proof Communication