Blog post

CyberFirst Girls Competition: Could 2018 be your year?

Created:  15 Jun 2017
Updated:  15 Jun 2017
Author:  David C
CyberFirst girls competition finalists

The popularity of the 2017 CyberFirst Girls competition, and the outstanding abilities demonstrated by all of the participants, proved to us that the UK has a huge pool of talent, ready and willing to take on the challenges of our digital future.

So, in 2018 we’ll be offering the young women of the United Kingdom another chance to explore the world of cyber security. It is our hope that this competition will help to ensure women are better represented in the cyber workforce of tomorrow.

A look at CyberFirst Girls 2017

The 2017 competition attracted an amazing 2,171 teams of girls aged between 13 and 15. These 8,000 participants, from schools all across the UK, were whittled down to just 10 elite teams, through a series of online challenges and puzzles. The top 100 rankings for the online competition can be found here.

The competition finale saw the 37 girls who made up the top teams meet at a central London location, where they faced a final cyber challenge. In 2017, Lancaster Girls Grammar eventually held the number one slot. But, in 2018, it could be your school that's victorious.

Registration for the 2018 competition will be open in the Autumn.

The ten percent

The maps below show the national spread of initial applicants (left), and finalist teams (right), for CyberFirst Girls Competition 2017. These maps make it clear that talent is present throughout the country. But this wealth of ability and enthusiasm is not reflected in the cyber workforce, only 10% of which is female. We would like to see that change for the better.

The event clearly demonstrated that the shortage of female cyber security professionals is not due to a lack of interest. We hope that the CyberFirst Girls Competition 2018 will be even bigger and better, and that in years to come we’ll see many of the participants enjoying challenging and rewarding roles within the industry.

More details on how to take part will be posted on the NCSC website in the Autumn.

CyberFirst Girls competition 2017

David C

Cyber Skills & Growth

10 comments

Dave Gwilt - 13 Nov 2017
When will this year's competition be announced, please?
David C - 14 Nov 2017
Hi Dave. Preliminary details of the CyberFirst Girls competition will be available before Christmas and teams will be able to register from mid-January 2018. Please keep checking https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/new-talent for further details.
Elissa - 04 Dec 2017
As a small technology business if we wanted to get involved/ or support this event how can we go about this?
David C - 05 Dec 2017
Elissa,

Many thanks for the kind offer to help support the CyberFirst Girls competition. Due to the complexity of running a competition like this we have decided to keep this as a NCSC/GCHQ supported event. However, as an SME, you can get involved with some of the wider CyberFirst activities we run. These include speaking at our CyberFirst summer courses for 15 – 17yr olds or hosting a CyberFirst bursary student for 8 weeks over the summer (all paid for by the NCSC).

If you would like to get involved, please drop us a line at enquiries@ncsc.gov.uk .

Thanks again for offering to help – we really do appreciate your support.

David C
CyberFirst team
Emily - 12 Dec 2017
Is it for year 8 only for 2018 since it was for girls aged 11-15 last year?
David C - 14 Dec 2017
Hi Emily. We have deliberately limited the competition to girls in year 8 as this is the optimum time when students make their GCSE choices – and we want more girls to take STEM subjects, particularly computer science. So for 2018, the competition will be strictly limited to year 8 students – sorry!

However, there is an exciting new initiative called Cyber Discovery which is a part of CyberFirst and may be of interest to your year 10 students https://www.joincyberdiscovery.com/ . It’s a really great initiative and I would thoroughly recommend your girls having a look.
Anais R - 11 Jan 2018
Can a group of 14 year old's take part in Cyber First this year? Even if they are in S3?
David C - 15 Jan 2018
The competition is only open to Yr 8 in Eng & Wales; S2 in Scotland and Yr 9 in Northern Ireland.

We appreciate that this change will disappoint some girls (and teachers) outside of this age range but we have made the change in order to encourage young girls of 12/13yrs to try the challenges and if they enjoy them, then consider taking Computer Science and other Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths based subjects at GCSE.

I appreciate this is little comfort for enthusiastic older students but there are other competitions available, most notably those run by the Cyber Security Challenge https://www.cybersecuritychallenge.org.uk/competitions and additionally for students in England, there is the new Cyber Discovery programme. This is aimed at 14 – 18yr olds https://www.joincyberdiscovery.com/ and is a mixture of learning and challenges.

It is hoped that the Cyber Discovery programme will be expanded to the rest of the UK in 2018/19.
Sinead H - 11 Jan 2018
Last year, a group including myself and 3 others in my class took part in the CyberFirst Girls Competition. This year we have checked the new terms of the competition and have seen that it has been aimed at S2 pupils (as we are from Scotland). Is it still possible for us to take part now that we have moved up to S3 classes or is there a restriction that means we cannot take part? We have also checked with the S2 girls in our school and it seems that none of them are willing to take part. We have two groups hoping to possibly take part this year, all in within the age restrictions set last year.
David C - 15 Jan 2018
Hi Sinead. Please refer to my response to the comment above for an answer to your query. And thank you for posting!

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