The Missouri Cybersecurity Center of Excellence and Missouri Research and Education Network (MOREnet) hosted the inaugural Cybersecurity Challenge, beginning last week, in high schools throughout the state.

Students began round one of the competition at SHS by virtual testing cybersecurity skills.

The top 10 teams were announced Friday. Those teams will advance to round two, which will be held at MOREnet’s Annual Conference Oct. 9 at Tan-Tar-A Resort.

Students comprising five teams from Salem High School participated in round one of the Cyber Security Challenge.

"The point was to expose students to the world of cybersecurity and hopefully to pique interest in an underserved career field," said Amber Pryor, SHS Computer Sciences Teacher

"Next year, I am offering a cybersecurity class. We'll be one of only a few schools in the state to have one."

For four days, students met in Pryor's computer science classroom for one hour and solved ten cybersecurity problems. Most students had no prior experience, but were able to use Internet resources to complete the questions.

“On day one the questions were difficult, if you didn't already know something about computer operations. The questions got more difficult each day,” said sophomore participant Justin Arthur.

Cybersecurity skills are in high demand, and that demand is increasing, as it is estimated that there will likely be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021.

SHS student Will Shaffer has plans to pursue a career in cybersecurity in the Air Force upon graduation. After completing the challenge, he said it only solidified his decision to go into that field.

CTE Day is Saturday

Salem High School Career and Technical Education Day will be held 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday at Country Mart in Salem.

Attendees can meet teachers, view programs offered and see demonstrations by students.

Future Farmers of America, Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America, Future Business Leaders of America, and SkillsUSA will be onsite with a variety of activities and displays. Wagon rides, a petting zoo, preschool games, robots, and raffles are planned.