May 4, 2018
In late April, several Texas A&M cybersecurity students competed in the National Cyber League’s (NCL) annual postseason team competition. The NCL postseason event provides a safe and challenging environment for individual players from the Regular Season to apply their knowledge and skills in a team setting. As real-world cybersecurity work is often done in teams, this event requires players to work together to solve real problems, with real deadlines, under time (and in some cases) technical and resource constraints.
The NCL is a defensive and offensive puzzle-based, capture-the-flag style cybersecurity competition. Its virtual training ground helps students prepare and test themselves against cybersecurity challenges that they will likely face in the workforce. One of the distinguishing factors of the NCL is the integration of learning objectives in each of its activities. This is accomplished by aligning customized content available in NCL Gymnasiums with simulations and games available in the NCL Stadium. This allows players to use the Gym environment to develop knowledge and skills, then demonstrate their newly acquired skills in competitive individual and team play. It also allows the NCL to measure players’ game performance and produce individualized reports (NCL Scouting Report) on strengths and weaknesses among various learning objectives and industry-recognized competencies. More information about the competition can be found on the NCL’s website.
Each of the participants in this postseason team challenge demonstrated their skills in the regular season, determining rankings for each individual based on performance. The top 15% of students in the regular season were placed in the Gold Bracket in the postseason, the next 35% in the Silver Bracket, and the remaining participants in the Bronze Bracket. Top participants from Texas A&M in the postseason challenge were:
Andrew Meserole: 11th in Gold Bracket and 12th overall out of 2453 students
Nicholas March: 5th in Silver Bracket and 79th overall
Justin Cameron: 21st in Silver Bracket and 159th overall
The Texas A&M postseason competition team consisted of five students: Andrew Meserole, Nicholas March, Justin Cameron, Justin Metzinger and Mitchell Mutz. Each team’s bracket in the postseason is determined by average of each team member’s scores. Texas A&M’s team competed in the Gold Bracket, placing 5th in the bracket and 6th overall out of 264 total teams. This performance demonstrated by Texas A&M cyber students is a direct representation of the Center’s dedication to building a better cybersecurity workforce. Great job, guys!