Organization hoping to attract high school students in a career in cybersecurity

DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) -- Given all the security breaches lately, there's no surprise there is a need for cybersecurity professionals, but the industry is seeing a shortage. A Davenport non-profit organization called Quad Cities Cybersecurity Alliance is trying to get more people interested in a career in cybersecurity and it's starting with the younger kids.

Around 100 local high student from surrounding area districts will meet at St. Ambrose University to learn and meet professionals in the cybersecurity industry.

The high school students will arrive around 9 a.m.at the university. They will work through different hacking scenarios. One of that includes election hacking and how they can detect issues and protect the information of the public.

John Johnson, President of the Quad Cities Cybersecurity Alliance says in the next two years the industry is going to have a shortage of two million cybersecurity professionals. He says his goal is to change the stigma of hacking being a bad thing and show the students if they love technology, if they like making a difference in the world cybersecurity is one way to do that.

“We need students to go to college to learn about cybersecurity. To come back into the community and then help us to protect our businesses, to help protect our families. This is becoming more and more relevant, the more interconnected we are,” said Johnson.

TV6 spoke with students at the conference about their thoughts on the recent security breaches and many say they are excited to learn at this workshop and be a contributor in the industry.

“There's a whole new level to it, when you start looking into the cybersecurity world on how vulnerable things can be,” said Kane Greenwalt, West High School Student. “Not trying to make myself sound like the noble white knight, but I'd like to help protect people in the future because it's definitely a vulnerable thing,”

“It's a completely different experience than I have ever been a part of and it's actually rewarding, said Hannah Andrews, West High Student. “I've learned quite a bit already and I have been here not too long, so it's actually really cool,”

Johnson says statics show by 2021, cybersecurity is going to be a six trillion dollar industry and there will be a demand for employees. This Saturday, the organization is hosting a conference geared towards adults and children. There will be hacking villages, expos, contests, and prizes.

Tickets for adults is $50 and $25 for children to participate in a kid’s hacker camp. Doors open at 8:00 a.m. If you would like to attend the conference but have a financial burden, the organization is giving out grants to attend the event. To sign up, visit their website: Corncon IV