The Cyber Security Club is not just another hangout opportunity, this club focuses on education and hands-on experience for those looking for a career in the field. The Cyber Security Club is about creating opportunities and experiences for club members looking to get involved.
“You can’t get a job in cyber unless you have experience and you can’t get experience unless you have a job,” co-president Trevor Robertson said. “It’s like a classic Catch-22, where an entry-level position wants five years of experience.”
The club isn’t only about holding meetings in a classroom, it also involves members attending different workshops to further their knowledge and participate in cybersecurity competitions.
“When there is an event, we sign up members and they get to go to different events, network with employers and get some type of theoretical experience in a closed environment to make it more appealing for employers to hire them and show their interest in the field of cybersecurity and willingness to learn,” Robertson explained.
Mohawk student Kiet Ahn Chau explained why he joined.
“I joined the Cyber Security Club about a year ago because I’m interested in security and computers,” Chau said. “I already studied cybersecurity before, so it made me curious to see what the Cyber club has to offer. I also wanted to build connections around the industry.”
The Cyber Security Club had its first meeting of the semester on Jan.16. Students sat with their computers while Robertson showed them how to operate different programs like capture-the-flag (CTF).
“Capture-the-flag is a portal that has different categories and different challenges and is all weighted with different points,” Robertson said.
“It’s also a way of gamifying learning, so people find it more fun if they have a challenge,” co-president Coty Garden added. “If that challenge results in earning points, beyond like a leaderboard or winning a prize they get an interview with a popular employer.”
Chau says he’s looking forward to more CTF challenges and events like the ones he has attended in the past.
“I learned how the CTF game works last year, and I attended two CTF competitions in Toronto,” Chau said. “This is a new experience for me, it’s very exciting to be able to compete with many other students and make connections with them.’
Robertson and Garden make sure all students learn something during each meeting by walking them through different portals. Students who can’t be there in person can join through Discord, a social media platform where club members communicate with each other.
“Students see different walkthroughs on how to perform different types of exploits,” Robertson said. “These exploits could include finding different places in memory that we shouldn’t have access to.”
Robertson added students can watch videos online, but it’s different to have a source who knows what they’re doing, and who students can question in real time.
Garden says what motivated him to join the club was his love for cybersecurity and the ways it’s always changing.
“You’re learning how to protect yourself and others,” Garden said. “It feels different than just setting up computers or setting up the servers. You’re using all the knowledge to make the world a better place.”
The Cyber Security Club will be holding capture-the-flag events throughout the year. Guest speakers will let the club members see their career paths and ask questions about their area of expertise.
Robertson said they’ve had former members of the club who are now in the industry come out with free tickets to conferences for the club members to attend.
With the experience gained from the club, students can choose from different career paths like software engineer, network analyst, malware penetration tester, malware analytics and much more.
Garden says their biggest challenge so far is advertising the club.
“A lot of people don’t know the club exists unless they do their research,” Garden said. “We are planning on doing some advertising by putting up posters around the school. The most important thing is keeping the club going and hopefully following the alumni’s footsteps when we graduate.”
The club is planning a joint operation between the Cyber Security Club and the New Developers Club. The New Developers Club focuses on software-based learning and the event will be a social gathering where the clubs get together and network.
Students can join the club by contacting the presidents via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting the club’s website at mohawkcsc.github.io. Students from any program can join.