A cybersecurity team made up of LFCC students ranked in the top 50 among the more than 950 teams competing in the Fall 2020 National Cyber League (NCL) Competition.
Team captain D.J. Joachim likened the competition to a marathon, but with hacking. Each season has four rounds. Some rounds are just for individuals, and others for the team as a whole. Assistance can be sought from coaches in some portions, but not in others.
The individual and team games were each three days long, or “72 hours of straight hacking,” according to Joachim, who graduated in December with a degree in cybersecurity.
“LFCC’s team did phenomenally well,” he said. “There’s been so much development and growth through all of these extra-curricular activities. It’s amazing what you can learn.”
IT Professor Henry Coffman, who is the cybersecurity program manager, said the NCL provides scouting reports for each player. This scouting report is available to employees, who can refer to it when assessing prospective job candidates, Professor Coffman said.
“Students can use the scouting report to get a job,” he said. “It gives them great experience and knowledge of different realms within the cybersecurity industry. The competitions demonstrate a candidate’s thought processes, analysis, and the ability to figure things out. It shows that they’re willing to continue against the odds, and to analyze and try to find a solution to a problem.”
Professor Coffman also finds the reports helpful in showing him areas in which students may need additional help.
Joachim said the scouting report helped him get hired as cybersecurity threat analyst at Navy Federal Credit Union. He plans to continue his cybersecurity education at a German university once the pandemic allows for more travel. In the meantime, Joachim will prepare for the Offensive Security Certified Professional exam.
“I really can’t thank Dr. Coffman enough for pushing me to try harder,” Joachim said. “He’s the one who introduced me to the competitions and encouraged me to take this leap of faith. Also, Computer Science Professor Melissa Stange has been so incredible with her outside-the-box teaching style.”
Learn more about LFCC’s cybersecurity program at lfcc.edu/cybersecurity.