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How I found my calling with CyberStart

How I found my calling with CyberStart

This is a guest post written by Rohan Nunugonda, who is part of the CyberStart America program.

My first impression of cybersecurity wasn’t great but I now work as a leader of our school’s Computer Science Club to promote CyberStart and cyber security!

We caught up with CyberStart player Rohan to find out how his passion for cybersecurity grew with CyberStart

Wow! I can control a computer just by dragging blocks together? This is the thought that ran through my head while I was on code.org, trying to get Elsa from one side of the screen to the other during our school’s Hour of Code. While it was only 60 minutes, it didn’t take me long to find an awakening interest in computer science.

For the rest of middle school, I decided to participate in Robotics and other programming classes. This is where I learned the basics of programming with the C programming language.

High school started a new epoch of my cyber security journey, where I began to learn Java and Python. By this point, I had heard of cyber security, as I had attempted to participate in Carnegie Mellon’s picoCTF security competition.

While I thought the competition was fun in some areas, I found it a bit frustrating. The challenges got very difficult very fast. I wish I’d had a slower start that built my foundations better.

My impression of cyber security was not that great. Still, it was not something that I was ready to dismiss, as the puzzle-solving concept that heavily comprises the field captivated me.

Then I learnt about CyberStart…

During the middle of my first year at high school, our programming teacher invited a guest speaker from CyberStart to our school. This is when I first heard about CyberStart and its amazing mission to promote cyber education for all students.

I tried CyberStart Game for the first time and felt that I had found my calling.

The game-like approach that CyberStart takes to slowly build their players from the ground up really resonated with me. I found a passion that lay within me for cyber security.

That summer, I continued to explore the field of cyber security. This included joining a cyber security summer camp at a leadership conference and taking a national security course - a practical implementation of cyber security.

Now, as a junior, I’ve rejoined the CyberStart Community through CyberStart America. I’ve enjoyed CyberStart Game, reaching levels that I thought I could never have achieved as a freshman.

I’ve enjoyed CyberStart Game, reaching levels that I thought I could never have achieved as a freshman.

However, I believe that the mission of CyberStart is just as important as the technical lessons. I now work as a leader of our school’s Computer Science Club to promote CyberStart and cyber security.

I have successfully led a CyberStart workshop and got more students involved in this wonderful field. I found it surprising how many students didn’t even know cyber security existed. I’m a firm proponent that in this ever-growing virtual world, we must let people know the importance of cyber security.

I plan to continue playing CyberStart Game and sharing my cyber security knowledge with my school community. In the future, I’d love to be part of a national agency and use cyber security to keep our nation safe in the cyber world.

Have you been inspired by Rohan’s journey? Play CyberStart today to start your journey of discovery and work towards cyber security success!

All of these programmes are entirely free, and feature CyberStart!

CyberStart America

What is it?

A fun programme developed to help you discover your talent, advance your skills and win scholarships in cyber security.

Who's it for?

13-18 year old high school students in the US only.

Awesome! How can I find out more?
www.cyberstartamerica.org

Cyber FastTrack

What is it?

The fastest and most cost-effective route to a career in cyber security via free training and exclusive scholarship opportunities.

Who's it for?

College students in the US only.

Great! How can I find out more?
www.cyber-fasttrack.org