GenCyber Camp. PHOTO: Cybercrime Magazine.

GenCyber Is Calling All K-12 Students And Their Parents

The NSA’s Diane Janosek on turning girls into cyber defenders

Amanda Glassner

Northport, N.Y. – Mar. 5, 2021

Meet Generation Cyber.

Their minds are bright, and their futures are even brighter. These young cybercrime fighters are a force to be reckoned with, and there’s always room for new recruits.

How can your kids get in on the action? Keep reading.

Sponsored by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the National Science Foundation, GenCyber is a network of summer camp experiences designed to foster a love for cybersecurity in students grades K-12.

“If kids can’t see it, they don’t want to be it,” Diane M. Janosek, NSA training director and commandant at the National Cryptologic School, told Cybercrime Magazine. “[We’re] trying to establish a pipeline of students [who] want to go into cybersecurity.”

By the end of 2021, Cybersecurity Ventures predicts there will be 3.5 million unfilled jobs globally in our field. Organizations of all sizes and types everywhere need talented newcomers more than ever before.

Since GenCyber was started in 2014, schools have reported a 67 percent increase in cybersecurity program enrollment, proving the next generation wants in on cyberstardom.

Cybercrime Radio: Our Future Cyber Fighters

Diane Janosek, NSA Training Director, National Cryptologic School

Cybercrime Radio

“Once [kids] get on [cybersecurity], they’re hooked,” said Janosek. “[We’re] stronger together by being as creative as we can and providing as many opportunities as possible.”

With 154 camps in 44 states, plus D.C. and Puerto Rico, there’s a place for everyone. For example, in Alabama, hearing-impaired students are invited to learn via American Sign Language, and in South Dakota, “Cybher” is all about girl power in cyberspace.

Janosek is among the 20 percent of women who make up cybersecurity, which is why she is especially passionate about getting little girls interested.

“If young girls can’t see a woman role model, they just don’t see themselves,” she said. “The more we can communicate that this is a welcoming, diverse, and encouraging field, the more they will [consider getting involved].”

After being the only woman in the room for much of her career, Janosek found a sense of belonging through her involvement in WiCyS (Women in Cybersecurity). Today, she is the legal advisor and first 1st president of the Mid-Atlantic Affiliate.

“Every human being has an innate need to be a part of something,” Janosek told us. “If I can help people feel like [they are], it’s tremendously rewarding.”

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, 10.1 million Americans have been left unemployed. Job security is few and far between for most professions right now, but not for cybersecurity. The field continues to grow, as does its need for dedicated workers.

Do your kids a favor and encourage them to explore this exciting industry. With most GenCyber programs going virtual this summer, you don’t even have to worry about carpooling.

To see every GenCyber location, visit their website here. If there isn’t one in your area, the application to host a camp is open until April 2, 2021.

For more information about GenCyber, the National Cryptologic School, and Janosek’s fascinating career, listen to the full podcast episode here.

Amanda Glassner is a staff writer and reporter at Cybercrime Magazine.

Go here to read all of my blogs and articles covering cybersecurity. Go here to send me story tips, feedback and suggestions.