Lydia, 17, from Belfast has attended the CyberFirst Defenders (2018), Futures (2019) and Advanced (2020) courses:
I have always enjoyed IT and I love expanding my knowledge and enhancing my skills in the area. As someone who frequently uses the internet, online platforms, and online games, being safe online is something I have always considered. Taking part in this course has allowed me to consider these areas at a whole new depth.
Going online in 2020
After attending Defenders in 2018, I really looked forward to applications coming out every year so I could apply. Although, the 2020 Advanced course was online due to the ongoing pandemic, I still thoroughly enjoyed the course. We were put into virtual breakout rooms so we could still chat to each other and work in teams, which was fun. It was a great opportunity to learn something new whilst being at home.
Making new friends
In my GCSE ICT class, there were only three girls out of a class of 14 students. This year in my BTEC ICT class of 17 students, I’m the only girl. I think that some girls are put off computing and see it as a ‘boys subject’, and cyber security is definitely a very male-led industry. However, it was nice at the CyberFirst course to see lots of other girls interested in computers, because there is a 50:50 split of boys and girls booked on the course.
Not only did the CyberFirst course allow me to gain new knowledge and skills, but there was also a great opportunity for making new friends with a similar interest of STEM-related subjects.