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Cody Williams
Cody Williams | Image: Texas A&M Engineering

Cody Williams, a senior computer science and engineering student at Texas A&M University, participated in the latest U.S. Cyber FastTrack competition where he made it to the finals and was awarded a $22,000 scholarship to attend the SANS Technology Institute’s undergraduate certificate program in applied cybersecurity.

U.S. Cyber FastTrack is an innovative nationwide competition that provides high-aptitude students with the practical cybersecurity training that employers demand. From April 5 to September 16, more than 13,000 students from across the United States competed to solve more than 250 cybersecurity challenges. The 100 finalists represented undergraduate and graduate students from 63 schools in 23 states.

“The Cyber FastTrack competition was one of the greatest challenges and learning experiences that I’ve had in my career as a student of computer science,” said Williams. “The knowledge and skills that I gained through the five-month program have greatly increased my literacy in cybersecurity and various networking topics. I was very fortunate to be selected as one of the 100 scholarship recipients from such a large pool of candidates. It is an awesome honor and opportunity to be able to continue my cybersecurity journey through the scholarship provided by the SANS institute.”

With his scholarship, Williams will attend the SANS applied cybersecurity program, where students will complete three advanced immersion courses accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and will earn a professional Global Information Assurance Certification at the end of each, which employers recognize as validation of their skill set. Upon completion of the program, they will be introduced to various cyber employers for internships and employment.

The aim of the program is to prepare students with the knowledge, tools and techniques needed to launch a rewarding career in cybersecurity. The program is designed to produce graduates who are among the top 1% of all students in the United States in reliably measured cybersecurity aptitude, embody a high level of tenacity, curiosity, and rapid learning capabilities, and have fully mastered the skills critical to success as cybersecurity professionals, ranging from networking to operating systems and programming.  

“Cybersecurity is a fast-growing field where the demand for skilled workers surpasses the current supply,” said Alan Paller, president of the SANS Technology Institute, which sponsors the competition. “These winners will set a new, high bar for candidates for entry-level positions and demonstrate to employers that Cyber FastTrack graduates are the among the best prepared and most effective new cybersecurity employees they have ever hired.”

 Registration for the next Cyber FastTrack competition opens in March 2020. 

See the full list of Cyber FastTrack competition finalists.