More than 40 local students spent a recent afternoon foiling computer hackers. On Saturday, November 9th, students from Chatt State and Hamilton County Schools competed against their peers in an international Capture the Flag Cybersecurity challenge, hosted by Magic Inc. The competition asks teams to complete increasingly difficult puzzles; points are awarded for correct answers, and a live leaderboard keeps track of progress across the many host sites. This year, the total of 88 teams hailed from as far away as Estonia, as well as from Ireland and the United States — and one team from Chatt State placed in the top 5 overall!
“We couldn’t be more pleased by the turn-out. MAGIC’s CTF competition is now one of the largest early entry cybersecurity challenges in the world,” said Graham Dodge, the new Executive Director of MAGIC.
EPB made MAGIC history this year, as well, partnering with Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy to host the first ever site powered exclusively by all-women teams. Chattanooga State Community College hosted one of the youngest competitors, from Dalewood Middle School, in addition to teams from East Hamilton High School, the STEM School, the Public Library and Chattanooga State itself.
The bi-annual competition serves as an introduction to both computer science and careers in a rapidly developing field. Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing careers in the United States: The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 32 percent growth in number of jobs over the next ten years, and the current median pay sits at nearly six figures, and in a tech hub like Chattanooga, developing this expertise couldn’t be more relevant.