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On July 28, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy brought technology leaders, government officials, educators and the organizers of cybersecurity competitions to Washington to discuss how such competitions can help address workforce shortages in the rapidly growing cybersecurity field.

UMUC Professor Jeff Tjiputra, who coached the university’s cyber competition team—known as the UMUC Cyber Padawans—to the 2013 and 2014 Maryland Cyber Challenge championships and 2014 Global CyberLympics gold medal, was among the invitees who shared their views about opportunities to expand the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) pipeline and promote cybersecurity as a vocation through cybersecurity competitions.

“The meeting was a great opportunity for key players to talk about the role of cybersecurity competitions in helping address the workforce shortage,” said Tjiputra. Representatives from cyber competitions such as the U.S. Cyber Challenge, Cyber Patriot, DefCon and the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition were in attendance.

“From the beginning of his Administration, President Obama has made it clear that cybersecurity is one of the most important challenges we face as a nation,” the meeting invitation noted. It also cited that the “development of a robust and skilled cybersecurity workforce that can meet the needs of the public and private sectors is a critical factor in responding to this challenge.”

The meeting was not intended to produce consensus advice or recommendations, but was a starting point to spur future discussions.

Read a blog post from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy about the gathering.