Palo Alto Networks Cybersecurity Academy Supports Future Cyber Leaders

Jun 27, 2024
3 minutes
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Engaging Students Through Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition

Growing the Workforce of Tomorrow at NCCDC

Palo Alto Networks recently returned from its eighth consecutive year as a sponsor of the 2024 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (NCCDC) in San Antonio, Texas, where the University of Central Florida took back the title from reigning champs, Stanford University. As a sponsor of NCCDC, Palo Alto Networks supports students with free access to our Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) products, as well as in-depth curriculum resources and on-site technical support throughout the competition.

Palo Alto Networks provides NCCDC competitors a unique opportunity to develop their cybersecurity skills with the same world-class education and technologies used by the largest companies around the globe. Using actual Palo Alto Networks hardware and education from our Cybersecurity Academy, students learn to set up fortified defenses, respond to customers, and maintain vital services in the face of unrelenting cyberthreats. In the process, they gain practical experience that can help jumpstart their careers in cybersecurity.

University of Central Florida
Winners of the 2024 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, University of Central Florida

Learning from the Best

Palo Alto Networks Cybersecurity Academy education is based on our extensive experience protecting thousands of customers around the world. Developed in partnership with our Unit 42 Threat Intelligence and product experts, our curriculum reflects the state of the art in cyber defense. By the end of the competition, students are ready to defend and secure a typical commercial network from live opponents.

Austin Tran, a junior from the University of Virginia, shared:

“The Palo Alto Networks Academy taught me important network security principles and how to apply them in a live network. It gave me hands-on experience without needing to purchase licenses or build my own network infrastructure to practice on. While the courses did prepare me for NCCDC, they, more importantly, gave me the skills to be confident in my ability to configure enterprise-level firewalls out in the field."

Educating the Workforce of Tomorrow

At the Palo Alto Networks Cybersecurity Academy, we believe that a hands-on, practical approach to cybersecurity education is essential in today’s fast-moving, digital world. As the global leader in cybersecurity, our curriculum is unmatched, providing students with the most up to date, hands-on education, tools and information anywhere.

With the dramatic increase in the frequency and sophistication of cyberattacks, there has never been a greater need for skilled cybersecurity professionals. At this moment, there are more than half a million cybersecurity job openings in the United States alone, and more than 3 million worldwide. The opportunities are limitless for motivated students. Yet, there can be a disconnect between academic curricula and the practical skills required by employers.

The Palo Alto Networks Cybersecurity Academy bridges the gap by providing the industry’s most comprehensive cybersecurity curriculum free of charge to educators around the world, making it easy for them to provide education that is informative, relevant and always at the forefront of innovation.

NCCDC and programs like it are crucial for developing future cybersecurity professionals, and we are honored to have the opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to education and enhancing cybersecurity readiness nationwide through our partnership.

Your Career in Cybersecurity

Are you interested in learning more about a career in cybersecurity? Visit the Palo Alto Networks Cybersecurity Academy to access a free curriculum and learn how we can help you launch your career in cybersecurity.

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