White Bear Lake, Minn. (April 24, 2013) — A Century College team of eight students and three alternates took first place in the Minnesota State Collegiate Cyber Defense competition recently at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.
The Century team advised by instructor Dave Keller of the Microcomputer Support Technology Program defeated two teams from four-year universities. It was the third time a Century team has competed in the Cyber Defense competition, and the first time that Century came in first.
Following their state triumph, Century students competed in the Midwest Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense competition in Chicago and finished ahead of every other two-year college there.
The Minnesota Cyber Defense competition requires students to spend eight hours demonstrating their depth of understanding and operational competency in protecting a computer network infrastructure. Student team members, each with their own computer, have to work together to protect their simulated network from repeated hacker attacks. In addition to keeping the network secure, students also have to accomplish various information technology tasks such as creating new users and installing printers. All 30 tasks are timed.
Team members were thrilled with their state victory, and more than a little surprised partly because two team members were not able to compete at the last minute, and less experienced students had to step into those roles.
“Employers like to hire students who have experienced this competition,” said Keller. “They use it to gauge how a potential employee can handle stressful situations.”
Students said the competition is fun, but intense. It requires creative problem solving and the ability to work together as a team. For example, team members have to decide who does what task based on individual skill sets. Students are exposed to real-world situations and are expected to come up with creative solutions.
“I am so proud of our team,” said Keller. “They overcame some last-minute adversity, and it showed them what they are able to achieve in the face of that adversity. It was a great learning opportunity.”