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USF's Cybersecurity Summer Camp gets kids ready for jobs fighting hackers

300,000 cybersecurity jobs now open in U.S.
Posted: 3:39 AM, Jul 10, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-10 10:28:53Z

TAMPA, Fla. -- Marek Cicello’s parents made him go to cybersecurity summer camp.

"I’m from a tech family," said Cicello.

Marek is at SecureSet in Ybor City along with dozens of other kids his age. The Strawberry Crest High School junior is not sure if fighting online hackers is the gig for him.

The teens are learning how cybersecurity specialists help keep private information online private.

This unique CyberCamp is being hosted by USF’s College of Education , the Florida Center for Cybersecurity and the Florida Center for Instructional Technology .

“The demand for cybersecurity professionals is absolutely booming,” says USF’s Dr. Nathan Fisk. “There’s only one rule, and that’s that they should leave this camp thinking cybersecurity is cool.”

Fisk says right now there are 300,000 open cybersecurity jobs in the United States. In just a few years, tech insiders predict that number will jump to two million.

During the camp the students learn the basics of cybersecurity. They also tap into the minds of hackers and online pirates.

Understanding both sides is key.

One “treasure hunt” had them searching for clues to find out passwords. Marek’s team was the first one to crack the mystery.

“It was pretty fun, pretty fun,” Cicello says. “A little confusing at first, be were the first ones to get it which was nice.”

Marek's parents will be happy to know he had a huge smile on his face the whole time.