Code Club teams clean up at CyberCenturion National Finals
Recently, three teams of Manx students from the Isle of Man Code Club, all with a passion for cybersecurity, participated in the CyberCenturion National Finals at the STEM Centre in York. These teams made up twenty percent of all the teams at the finals; only fifteen teams qualified out of over four hundred and fifty who registered to take part over the UK, Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories.
CyberCenturion is a national cyber education initiative for 12- to 18-year-olds across the British Isles. The program is designed to excite, educate, and motivate students to pursue further education and careers in STEM and cybersecurity, which in turn helps to grow our local talent pool on-island, and introduces the students to a highly sought-after career path.
At the National Finals, the teams were split into two categories: Junior (five teams) and Senior (ten teams). The club’s ‘CyberAces’ and ‘Cyber Dragons’ teams were in the Senior bracket and the ‘I Am Root’ team was in the Junior bracket. This year, for the first time ever, the club fielded an all-girls team who successfully made it to the finals – on their first year together! All teams performed exceptionally well at the finals given the high difficulty in comparison to the three qualifying rounds.
The effort and determination that the teams put towards this final hurdle did not go to waste. Both ‘CyberAces’ and ‘I Am Root’ came out victorious, earning First Place in the Senior and Junior categories respectively! Given the high level of skill required and the stiff competition they were up against – the best of the best teams – this is a prestigious accolade for the Isle of Man teams.
Code Club has been taking part in CyberCenturion for eight years now, starting in CyberCenturion II (2015-16) with just one team huddled around a single PC, and only a dream of making it to the National Finals. The contrast between then and now is enormous, with the club hosting a record-breaking seven teams in this year’s CyberCenturion IX, and three of those teams progressing to the final. An outstanding cohort of twenty-six students took part in the programme at the club this year and for thirteen of those it was their first time competing at this level. The club is grateful to the Manx Lottery Trust for providing sponsorship earlier in the academic year which enabled them to purchase a number of new laptops for use in the competition.
This year’s finals were held at the National STEM Learning Centre, which is based on the University of York’s campus. This was a great experience for the competitors and volunteers alike as not only could the competitors experience university-style accommodation for the night ahead of the competition, but they also had some free time to explore the university campus on a wonderfully sunny day. There was also time for the volunteers to explore some of the resources provided by STEM Learning, such as the Resource Centre, a library of all things STEM.
This is the latest in a line of successes that Code Club has had at previous national finals, both in-person and virtually:
- 2019: CyberAces (a Junior team at this point) attended, and won, the National Finals held at Plexal in London,
- 2021: CyberAces (now a Senior team) placed Second in the Virtual Finals
- 2022: The Toast Mine of Cookies (a Junior team) placed Second in the Junior category, and CyberAces won the National Finals at RAF Hendon.
These accolades help showcase local Manx talent and is an example of the Isle of Man’s top talent. Achieving these successes truly is a testament to both the volunteers, the club and individuals’ dedication towards both CyberCenturion and digital enrichment outside of traditional education.
Each team is composed of four Manx students as follows:
- CyberAces: Aaron R; Arthur O; Luka W; Siddharth Shakthivel M-P.
- I Am Root: Alexander O; Brodie M; Flynt O; Liam C.
- Cyber Dragons: Aristea O; Arwen H; Clare F; Era C.
Adam Drummond, one of the Team Leaders at Code Club and the trip leader said “When we learned of the result from the final, we were all ecstatic. It is the best result we’ve ever had, and we can’t wait to see what the teams get up to next year. They should all be extremely proud of themselves – I know that I am! The soft skills they learn through competing in this competition are extremely transferrable and should set them all in good stead for their future education and careers.”
“We would like to extend our thanks to Digital Isle of Man who sponsored the team’s CyberCenturion attendance.” He continued, “The support from the Government to run these initiatives to promote lifelong digital learning on the Island is something we are very grateful for every year.”
Aaron from CyberAces, the Senior winning team, gave his view on the competition; “The event was such a friendly and supportive environment, from the organisers getting involved talking to teams, and conversations I had with other teams after the event about how they found the competition and what they thought was difficult. As always the experience that the event provides is unforgettable, covering work placement and career path advice from Northrop Grumman to the competition itself.”
Every week, Code Club hosts sessions to provide a space for students to learn about STEM topics. For more information about the club or CyberCenturion at Code Club, contact email@example.com, visit their Facebook page (Isle of Man Code Club) or drop-in to any of their Saturday sessions at Barclays Eagle Lab in Douglas, from 4-6pm.
Code Club is a Manx educational charity (number 1322) focussed on empowering individuals in the technological space. They aim to provide a focal point for people of all ages to develop digital skills, share their knowledge and experience, and to teach others how to leverage the technology that surrounds them. If you are interested in helping with sponsorship, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
CyberCenturion is a cyber defence competition. It was established by the Air Force Association. The Northrop Grumman Foundation is the Presenting Sponsor for CyberCenturion.