This is a guest post written by Helen, who is part of the CyberStart America programme.
Thanks to CyberStart, my life has improved - I have found new ways to learn and a way to make friends in a digital world!
We caught up with CyberStart player Helen to find out how she learnt new skills and made friends by playing CyberStart.
Last summer, I found a new interest in learning the coding program Python, and I decided to follow some free resources online. I had always dreamed of being a coder, but I could not get myself to read through textbooks to learn about it.
When I found out about CyberStart, that I could learn Python AND do it in a fun, entertaining way, I knew it was the perfect resource for me!
Before long, CyberStart had me engaged and hooked in learning cyber security.
I have learned countless things through this program, and I am only about 30% complete
CyberStart has taught me loads of different skills. One of these is to think outside of the box.
Sometimes you have to think from different perspectives and viewpoints to find the flag and solve the challenge.
Puzzles like these entertain me so much, challenge me to improve my thinking skills and also reflects into other aspects of life, such as seeing arguments from different perspectives - an important life skill!
The way that CyberStart teaches through games and building off topics gives me motivation to continue.
In addition to expanding my thinking skills, I have also learned about cool topics like cryptography.
I had first learned about cryptography in a presentation delivered at my school when I was in fourth grade. It went in one ear and out the other!
When I joined CyberStart, the memories came back, and I was interested in decoding (or encoding) messages. It is a creative and ever-evolving way of secretly (or not so secretly) getting messages across to others.
Those are just some of the many things I have learned, and I know I will learn a ton more!
The CyberStart community is awesome!
During the pandemic, I found it challenging to maintain or gain friendships. Due to being fully remote all the time, it is hard to keep up socially with others, and truthfully, it has taken a big mental toll on me.
I found myself always working on schoolwork without any interactions with others, and my life was really boring. It was the same routine every single day. I did not know what the CyberStart community was like, but it was such a positive environment when I first checked it out!
To know you are side-by-side (virtually) and all have the same/similar interests really helps each other understand one another. I am surrounded by much-needed positivity and people who are similar to me.
I did not know what the CyberStart community was like, but when I first checked it out, it was such a positive environment!
The people in the community are great and can always cheer you up! I had replied to a message chain, and I typically am fearful if I had replied correctly, but someone else replied to my message, and it made my day!
I was so happy, and I told my family all about it!
Now I can see myself in the cyber security field
As a sophomore in high school, there is still time to decide on a major for college but, I know I am definitely interested in technology.
This program has taught me so much, so I have greatly envisioned my future in the cyber security field. It is an always evolving field, and no two situations are ever the same, which I love about cyber security.
Using what I have learned and what I will learn more about, I want to give that knowledge to others and even introduce them to CyberStart.
Joining CyberStart, along with the community, really made a positive impact on my life. I have found new ways to learn and a way to make friends in a digital world!
I am so grateful for learning about this program and the people within it! I can’t wait to do it for the rest of my high school time and participate in the field of cyber security in the not-so-far future!
Want to learn new skills like Helen and find a community of friends with similar interests? Join CyberStart today!