Business student

Ready for a cybersecurity future

Students in Potomac High School’s Cyber ​​Security Specialty Program learn skills and certifications to prepare them for a prosperous future in this high-demand field.

Cyber ​​security is a rapidly changing industry, and careers in the field are in high demand. Potomac High School’s four-year Cybersecurity Career and Technical Education Specialty Program prepares students to embark on a career in cybersecurity after high school or enroll in a variety of post-secondary education or training programs. college studies. Students are prepared for and may choose to take the Microsoft Technology Associates (MTA) industry exams to earn certifications in the field. Thanks to Natalie Walden, cybersecurity trainer at Potomac High, who uses real-world scenarios to make her lessons interesting and engaging, a number of students are taking advantage of this opportunity.

“The need for personal and professional cybersecurity skills has never been greater,” said Walden. “Our Cybersecurity Systems Technology courses explore cybersecurity careers, human weaknesses, cyber hygiene, threats and vulnerabilities in real-life situations, as well as a variety of technologies, including virtual machines such as those provided. by Virginia Cyber ​​Range via Virginia Tech. Advanced cybersecurity students are candidates for the MTA industry exam for certification. This exam serves to test fundamental security knowledge and assess skills, while serving as a stepping stone to securing entry-level employment as well as furthering the path to a cybersecurity degree in a higher education setting. .

Shayan Khan, who started the program in first year and is now a junior currently in Walden’s advanced cybersecurity class, is one of the students who took the initiative to get certifications. In the spring, he took the CompTIA A + 1001 and took the 1002 level exam during the summer. He said he used all the resources at his disposal to prepare and train and literally jumped for joy when he passed the first test. He took longer to study for the second level knowing it would be a little more difficult, but he also passed it. He is expected to take the remaining exams this academic year to complete the series.

“I am Comp TIA A + certified now,” Khan said proudly. “In fact, I’m thankful that we have this class. Without it, I don’t know if I would be getting into cybersecurity the way I am. It really piqued my interest, as did previous lessons. I really networked with my classmates; some of whom I have known for two or three years. [In class] we all have roles to play in a business environment, because it’s also technically a business class. Through our experiences in the classroom, we learn to improve and talk to each other if we don’t understand things.

CompTIA A + is known as the desired qualification for technical support individuals and an industry standard for careers in information technology. Upon graduation, Khan looks forward to furthering his education in this field. For now, he’s keeping his options open and exploring all possibilities, from local universities like Virginia Tech to more ambitious, distant choices like CalTech or Harvard, just in case they want him.

The Cyber ​​Security Specialty Program is one of the school division’s high school transfer programs. Students in Grades 9-11 can apply for CTE programs at their base school or as a full-time transfer student.