Girls from schools across Scotland have demonstrated their codebreaking skills in the UK’s flagship cybersecurity contest, the 2021 CyberFirst Girls Competition.
Young female pupils from a total of nine Scottish schools saw off competition from UK counterparts to successfully reach the semi-final state of the NCSC-led contest.
More than 6,500 girls from around the UK entered this year’s qualifying round, with teams from 600 schools tackling cybersecurity puzzles for a chance to be named local champions and progress to the UK Grand Final.
Schools that have accepted their place in the virtual semi-final include Hyndland Secondary School in Glasgow and Carluke High School in Carluke.
The highest scoring teams will next take on their rivals in semi-finals in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and English regions.
Chris Ensor, NCSC Deputy Director for Cyber Growth, commented: “On International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we’re pleased to say that thousands of girls came forward to compete in this year’s CyberFirst Girls Competition and we congratulate the top teams which now go forward into the semi-finals.
“These girls have opened the door to what could one day be an exciting and rewarding career, where more female representation is undoubtedly needed.”
The CyberFirst Girls Competition is aimed at girls aged 12 to 13 who may be starting to consider which subjects to take for their initial qualifications.
The competition hopes to inspire schoolgirls to consider a career in cybersecurity, an industry where women are still significantly underrepresented. Since its launch in 2017, more than 37,000 girls have taken part in the CyberFirst Girls Competition.
This year’s semi-final rounds will take place simultaneously on Friday 19 March in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and five English regions: the North of England, Central England, the South West, the South East and London.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney commented: “The CyberFirst Girls Competition is a fantastic opportunity for girls to develop new skills and get a taste of just how rewarding a career in cyber security can be.”
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UK Government Minister for Scotland, Iain Stewart, added: “The UK Government is proud to be working with Scottish schools to support girls into cyber security.
“This competition is a great opportunity for girls right across the UK to learn together and develop digital skills for a 21st century workforce.”