March 17, 2021
Moreno Valley College and Landmark Middle School Teams
Place at the Mayors Cyber Cup 2021
Moreno Valley College's cybersecurity team place third at the California Mayors Cyber Cup 2021, held on March 13. The annual event brought together 200 students from middle schools, high schools, and colleges across the region to compete in a single-day cybersecurity competition event.
MVC's In IT to win IT placed third in the College Division, behind Riverside City College and Crafton Hills College. Teams from Landmark Middle School (Moreno Valley) swept the top two positions in the Middle School Division, led by Landmark Cyber Knights 1, edging the Landmark Cyber Knights 3 team. The Mayors Cup, given to the top high school team, was awarded to the Fures Ethicam team from Summit High School in Fontana.
This year's California Mayors Cyber Cup was held virtually due to the pandemic. The Inland Empire/Desert Regional Consortium – Strong Workforce program and Moreno Valley Unified School District hosted the event. MVC has been a supporter of the event since its conception. This year, SynED, a national non-profit, organized the event.
"Cybersecurity competitions, and your participation in events like these, are extremely important to filling the nation's enormous gap in cybersecurity workforce needs," Michele Robinson, director of the Office of Information Security in the California Department of Technology, told the students. "There's a great need, but an even greater opportunity for today's youth to prepare for and pursue fulfilling careers in cybersecurity."
The week leading up to the competition featured daily Live@5 events with speakers from academia, businesses, the cybersecurity industry, the community, and state and local government. The College's Carlos Lopez, vice president of Academic Affairs, was one of the officials who offered remarks. Speakers stressed the importance of cybersecurity occupations and how to use the region's cybersecurity career technical education pathway to have a rewarding livelihood.
"Students who are in this [California Mayors Cyber Cup] are very motivated, very interested, very engaged," Martinrex Kedziora, Ed.D., Moreno Valley Unified School District superintendent, said. "It helps them feel like they're contributing to the world because technology and cyber issues are all around them. They feel a greater connection and purpose and they feel a great sense of ownership and pride in their work, and their families do, too."
The California Mayors Cyber Cup serves the purpose of elevating the importance of cybersecurity education in today's increasingly tech-heavy world.
"The competition provides the pressure they will go through in a real-life experience," Jennifer McDaniel, director of Apprenticeships at MVC, said. "The cool thing is they can use it on their resume; it helps them show some experience and build a portfolio for when they're applying for jobs."
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of individuals employed within the cybersecurity sector is slated to grow by 31 percent between 2019 and 2029. That rate far exceeds the average for all occupations. Individuals can expect to earn a median annual salary of up to $100,000 or $50 per hour.
"I tell my students that they'll never have to look for work. Work will always find us because there is always work to be done," Kasey Nguyen, Ph.D., MVC professor and coach for In IT to win IT, said. "For the younger students, starting now [with cybersecurity education] is a good way for them to find their path. Having the opportunity for the students to really be guided in their path is essential, and eventually I hope to close the gap in employment for cybersecurity."