Blog post

Announcing the CyberFirst Girls Competition

Created:  18 Jan 2017
Updated:  18 Jan 2017
Author:  Ian E
Part of:  New talent
CyberFirst competitor


The NCSC - as part of GCHQ - are working hard to get more people interested in a career in cyber security.  If you think it’s not for you, I reckon you’d be surprised. Cyber security now has fantastic opportunities matching a wide range of different skills, and not always the ones you'd expect.

We’re now really pleased to launch a CyberFirst Girls Competition, which provides a fun but challenging environment to inspire the next generation of young women to consider a career in cyber security.

The competition is a team event, with each one made up of 4 female students aged 13 to 15 years (as of 27 March 2017). It consists of two distinct phases:

  • the first phase is an online qualifying round to identify the top ten teams
  • the second phase is the 'Grand Final’ - where the top ten teams will battle it out at a high-profile location in London 

Whatever your ability - from beginner to expert - you’ll definitely learn something new about cyber security.

You can pre-register at the competition website, so tell your friends and start building your team today.

Good luck!

Ian E.

National Cyber Skills Lead.



Rebecca - 20 Jan 2017
Do you have a similar competition for boys? I would like to offer this to our students, but we are a mixed school and I know the boys will want to have a go at something too!
Patrick B - 25 Jan 2017
GCHQ supports many mixed cyber security competitions. For example, we are platinum sponsors of the Cyber Security Challenge (CSC) (, and the competitions they run, both nationally and regionally to school children and adults alike. We also support, through the CSC, another competition, called Cyber Centurion (

One thing you quickly notice, even with these great events, is that very few females make the finals. If we wish to influence girls and young women to enter and succeed in those events, then we need to take specific action to prepare and promote cyber security amongst them.

We would also like more female applicants for our other recruitment related schemes, such as for our higher apprentice and technical graduate programmes. However, if less than 5% of girls study computer science at GCSE, and less than 1% at A Level, then many are deselecting themselves from the most obvious study path, at ages 13/14.

That is the main driver for seeing if a single gender competition can help the underlying problem facing the industry, that girls (and sometimes teachers, and parents for that matter) are not aware of the options available in computing and cyber security. So it’s an exercise in raising awareness and also a fun intro into the world of cyber security.

I'm aware we need more boys too, but currently we are prioritising the problem of the majority of girls not studying computer science or related courses, even when their talents are much in demand.

On a more positive note we will be running other courses over the summer which are open to both boys and girls that your students can apply to. Please keep an eye on the NCSC website for more details mid-February onwards.

Patrick B
NCSC CyberFirst team
Catherine Walker - 12 Feb 2017
I'm currently doing some research for my MA and also volunteer at Bletchley Park. When I take A level computer science groups around on their tours they are always boys, so I am really interested in this competition you have started and would really like to get in contact with you to find out more.
Ian E - 13 Feb 2017
Hi Catherine, thank you for your comment. If you send us a message via the 'Contact Us' form ( we will make sure your details are passed onto the team.
NCSC Communications Team - 14 Aug 2018
This blog is now closed to comments.

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