10 Cyber Security Summer Programs for High School Students

By now, you must have observed that while signing up on any website, the password recommendation asks you to use a complicated mix of numeric, alphabetic, and special characters. This is all because it then becomes difficult for hackers to hack the account and steal your important information. 

Well, this is a mere small preventive measure to protect yourself in this cyber world. We’re unknowingly being tracked by digital bots every single time we spent online leaving us vulnerable to activities like phishing and data breaches. As the digital world is expanding day by day, so does the need for cybersecurity experts who can stand as the guardians of this online world.

Considering this, do you want to be the guardian and protect your nation from cyber attacks and crimes? Are you interested in learning about the tools and techniques that can track these hackers and enhance cybersecurity?

As a kickstart of your journey toward your passion, Summer programs in cybersecurity offer an unforgettable opportunity to learn and innovate. These short yet comprehensive programs aim to equip students with the required and essential information about cybersecurity. So, if you’re thinking about your holiday activities, then enrolling in these summer programs can be the ideal choice for you. 

To know more about the same, keep reading this post as it brings you the curated list of cybersecurity summer programs for high school students. 

High school summer programs for cyber security enthusiasts

Summer vacation is the perfect time to explore more and learn about the subjects you’re passionate about. Summer programs can help you achieve this objective. These not only introduce you to the subject matter but also acquaint you with the college experience. Considering the same, the following is a list of some summer programs in the field of cybersecurity.

1. National Student Leadership Conference

This week-long program focuses on how to prevent and protect the nation from cyberterrorism which explains how industry experts track, mitigate, and prevent online threats. It involves interdisciplinary learning, workshops, field trips, hands-on simulations, and more. Participants will also get a chance to meet & learn from the professionals. 

Another advantage of enrolling in this program is that NSLC and American University (AU) have a unique partnership that will get you one credit if you enroll in a supplemental online course related to the NSLC’s study area.

2. Computer Science for Cyber Security (CS4CS)

If you have little to no background in cybersecurity or computer programming, then this program is for you. This is a three-week-long summer program for high school students focusing on cybersecurity and computer science. The program is free of cost and aims to equip students with the fundamentals as well as tools and techniques used to detect and investigate cyber threats.

The program will cover topics such as “white-hat” hacking, cryptography, steganography, digital forensics, privacy, and more related to the cyber world. In addition to this, the course will also introduce “behavioral science” which helps in understanding and mitigating phishing scams, identity thefts, etc.

3. Cyber Defense Training Camp

Cyber Defence is an advanced-level training camp for which applicants are required to have a basic knowledge of programming and hacking. This is a one-week residential summer program where you not only expand your knowledge about the subject matter but also learn from industry experts. The program aims to introduce rising 11th and 12th-grade students to various career options in cybersecurity and is also offered by the University of Maryland.

Along with networking and programming, the program includes a campus tour, a field trip to the NSA Cryptologic Museum, Cyber defense exercises, Team-Building exercises, and special workshops from guest speakers. So, this one week is going to be full-fledged learning and exploring experience.

4. USF High School Cyber Camp

The University of South Florida organizes this week-long summer camp with the aim to familiarize students with the ethical practices of hacking. The comprehensive curriculum is supported by Florida CyberHub and Florida Center for Instructional Technology. 

Not being your usual camp, it provides a conference-like experience where students can select from the series of sessions provided by experts and teachers. Through this camp, students will get a chance to connect & network with like-minded peers, industry experts, and professionals. This will help them explore more about careers in cybersecurity.

5. GenCyber

This program is not only for students but also for teachers. In an effort to protect the future of the country’s national and economic security, GenCyber strives to equip teachers and students with the knowledge of cybersecurity. It aims to build cyber security professionals by encouraging young people to utilize their talents towards it. 

GenCyber hosts a number of programs in different states. You can locate a camp in your state as well as in your neighboring state, whichever seems convenient to you. Moreover, the program is open to all at no cost, so what better opportunity than this to learn and be a part of such a program that is partnered with the National Security Agency, The National Science Foundation, and other federal partners?

6. AFA Cyber Camp

Air Force Associations CyberPatriot Program provides this opportunity to approved organizations and institutions to host a cyber camp for high school and middle school students interested in learning or advancing their knowledge about cyber security. CyberPatriot provides a curriculum kit to these organizations which includes instructor guides, student workbooks, PowerPoint modules, and demonstration software which will be followed along throughout the camp. 

The camp is organized for 20 hours covered in the span of 5 days. If you’re interested in registering for the same then you need to check with the location as every year different organizations register to host the camp. By attending this camp, you may also get an opportunity to participate in Cyber Patriot’s National Youth Cyber Defense Competition which can help you explore more and discover your true potential for the same.

7. Hacker High School: Introduction to Cybersecurity

This program is for high school students who either want to pursue a career in computer science, cyber security, or IT or just want to learn about the digital world and how to be safe and protect themselves from cybercrime. This is a 2-week program that aims to equip students with the fundamentals as well as skills to safely thrive in the digital world protecting their identity and personal information from hackers.

Moreover, the program familiarizes students with ethical hacking practices, and also whoever wants to appear for the “Certified Analyst Hacker” exam by the Institute for Security and Open Methodologies, this program has got your back. Upon completion of the program, participants will be eligible for the certificate of completion along with a  Quinnipiac University (QU) instructor written review and assessment. 

8. Summer Pre-College: CyberSecurity

At the Marist cybersecurity program, you will learn the tools and techniques required to be safe and secure in the digital world. From viruses, and encryption to wireless network security, this program will familiarize participants with all the required and essential knowledge for high school sophomores and juniors.

In addition to this, you’ll also get a chance to safely practice your skills on a fake “online banking’ system and other related environments in the cloud computing lab as well as work with real-world data in the state-of-the-art security operations center. Upon completion, participants will be eligible for three transferable college credits for the Marist College cybersecurity course.

9. Cybersecurity Bootcamp

Being an advanced comprehensive program, it requires students to have basic computing and scripting skills. To also prepare for the same, once you’ve registered for the program, the Elevate College Prep team will send some preparation material and resources a few weeks before the program’s start, so that you can familiarize yourself with the topics beforehand.

It offers both residential and non-residential facilities. So, the students who are not able to commute from their place daily can avail of the residential facilities by paying some extra fees. But, the extra weekend activities like game night, visit the Millenium Park, and more along with downtime with Illinois summer interns is worth all the extra bucks. 

10. Cybersecurity: Hackathon Experience

This unique program will equip you with the cybersecurity essentials with the help of real-world problems. After learning the nits and grits of cybersecurity, as the name suggests, there will be a “hackathon” in which students have to protect their systems from hackers by applying their gathered knowledge. Participants need to fix all the challenges, they will encounter while defending the systems from the red team.

However, to enroll in this program, the participants need to have their own laptops with mandatory certain specifications so that the programs can run smoothly. Along with normal classes, students can enjoy on-campus weekend activities along with field trips. Upon successfully completing the program, participants will be eligible for the certificate of completion and a noncredit transcript from Syracuse University.

How to prepare for a career in cybersecurity in your high school?

High school is the time when you have to prepare yourself for your future. No matter if you’ve discovered your interest and passion or not, it is good to keep exploring and trying new things. Besides summer programs, the following are some other options available as well to start learning and preparing for a career in cybersecurity. 

  1. Subjects: Cybersecurity is a discipline that deals greatly with math, computer science, and technology. Studying these subjects in high school can start building your fundamentals to help you further advance your learning in college. Apart from the main subjects, do check with the electives option available like technology or graphic design, and try to make the most of them too. 
  1. Competitions: While learning and honing your skills, competitions challenge the real potential within you, helping you know your strengths and weaknesses. High school students can participate in competitions like Cyber Patriot and Capture The Flag (CTF) to showcase their skills and connect with like-minded peers. Also, these competitions can help them know more about the field of cybersecurity and network with experts and professionals.
  1. Clubs: Most of the high schools have their own different clubs and departments which are open to students to volunteer and become a member. Check with your teachers or school administration if any such option of cyber security or any tech club is available to join. Also, there are many such organizations outside of the school campus open for students to join such as the National Cybersecurity Student Association, for which the membership is free for at least one year.
  1. Mentorship: The mentor paves and directs you the right way to go. Seek mentorship from your subject faculty. Talk to your technology department head or your school’s career counselor. These are the persons and mentoring activities can help you know the available resources and use them effectively.
  1. Online short courses: There are lots of options available for online courses to help you learn and know more about them from the comfort of your home. Platforms like Udemy and Coursera are the ideal options to kick start your learning in your free time and explore its fundamentals and technicalities. Also, by enrolling in such short courses, you can identify if you really want to pursue a specific profession in the future.

Wrapping up

In a nutshell, building a career in the field of cybersecurity requires a systematic plan which can be started from the high school itself. Just like architecture or chemical engineering summer programs, by participating in cybersecurity summer programs, students can take their first step toward their passion and build a strong foundation that will benefit them both personally and professionally. Also, these summer programs or camps tend to increase awareness about online threats and encourage young minds to become responsible and informed digital citizens.

Leave a Comment