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College Students Have Chance To Improve Cybersecurity Skills With Competition

The National Cyber League (NCL) is now offering its lab exercises and online games to improve students' cybersecurity skills to colleges and universities.

The nonprofit NCL will allow college faculty to sign up and permit their students to participate in its hosted lab exercises, game play and video tutorials at no charge. It will also provide instructors with syllabi to help their students and, on completion of certain milestones in its programs and exams, it offers a Certified Ethical Hacker and Security + certification.

The NCL was founded in 2011 with funding from the National Science Foundation and five other organizations concerned by the dearth of students developing the necessary cybersecurity skills to eventually fill a workforce that will be needed in coming years to combat the criminal activity, fraud and data breaches becoming prevalent in the global economy.

The intention of its founders three years ago was to provide an ongoing virtual training ground for college students designed around industry-recognized performance-based exam objectives and aligned with individual and team games. The NCL uses next-generation simulation environments to help students develop, practice and validate their cybersecurity skills.

"Often in class, we cover only details of one topic at a time," said Ross Bagurdes, a professor at Madison Area Technical College in Madison, WI. "In the NCL setting, students have to apply multiple concepts at the same time. For the students to have exposure to a lab that pushes them to make connections between new concepts is fantastic!"

NCL Co-founder and Commissioner Casey O'Brien said, "The NCL has worked hard the past three years to differentiate itself from the myriad cybersecurity competitions by aligning customized content available in virtual learning environments to industry-defined competencies and skills."

For more information on NCL's programs, go to

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.

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