This FBI manhunt is for young talent.
Local high school students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields and academic gifted programs participated this week in a technology camp sponsored by InfraGard, a partnership between the FBI and private companies. The group invited 14 students to the program, which is designed to give them exposure to law enforcement fields.
Gary Gardner, the InfraGard president for North Carolina, said the camp could become a model for similar programs across the country.
He said the camp aims to show talented students how the FBI tackles cybercrimes.
“We want them to become a white hat, be a good guy,” he said.
These students enter the camp as the demand for people with such high-tech experience is growing within the FBI and in private companies.
“We have a shortage of those type of skills in the U.S.,” Gardner said.
The number of positions in cyberforensics is expected to grow from 13 to 22 percent in the next five years, depending on the industry, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics. The demand for cybersecurity professionals, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is estimated to increase by 37 percent in the next eight years.
William Reiney, a rising sophomore at Myers Park High School, said he was drawn to the program because of the stress on computer skills.
“It’s not a thing that a lot of people get to do,” he said. “It was something really interesting that I’ve never really heard of before.”
The camp called in experts from the FBI, local community colleges and the private industry to lead the weeklong camp.
Sarah Gillis, who will be a freshman at Charlotte Catholic High School, said a large part of the camp was a scenario-based activity, where students were split into two teams. One team was assigned to hack into a computer system protected by the other team. Then the teams switched roles.
“We learned we always have to be careful online because you never know who’s watching,” she said.