BEND, OR -- A small group of local high school students will take part in a special summer camp, next week, at Central Oregon Community College. Campers don't take part in campfires or canoeing, instead focusing on keeping computer networks safe from hackers.
Charlie Kawasaki, with the Portland-based tech company PacStar, created NW Cyber Camp three years ago because of the growing need for cyber-security experts, "They’re very, very difficult to find. Right now, there are 3,000 unfilled cyber-security jobs in Oregon. So, we’re doing this, in part, to help us meet our needs for trained cyber-security professionals." He tells KBND News the program is completely volunteer run, "We actually started in my basement with my daughter and I. It was a community service project that we ran at Lincoln High School in Portland. It’s really grown because of the level of excitement from industry."
Ten local kids will take part in the Bend day camp, "Learning all about best practices for building the most secure computer systems. So, this isn’t hacking school. This is a broad survey of techniques and tools that professionals would use in a typical enterprise environment to secure networks and keep them secure from attack." Kawasaki says they'll also learn from Bend-based Redhawk Network security, "We have guest speakers coming in from organizations like Facebook and Intel, and some of the major cyber-security companies."
Five NW Cyber Camps take place, simultaneously, in Portland, Gresham, Wilsonville, OSU-Corvallis and Bend. It's the first year the program has been offered outside the Portland area, and the camp at Portland's Franklin High is for girls only. Kawasaki says, "It’s giving them in insight into careers that they may not know about; not only because they are in high demand, but also, they are – frankly – high paying jobs."