TechNet brings cyber experts to Augusta, guides youths

Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 6:37 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Some of the world’s top cyber experts are in Augusta this week for TechNet.

It’s a chance for our military leaders to talk about ideas on how to strengthen our cyber defense systems.

The events come just days after congress passed the CHIPS Act, committing $280 billion to the cyber and chip manufacturing industries.

TechNet is just one example of how Augusta is the cyber capital of Georgia.

It runs all this week here at the convention center, but that’s not all Augusta has to offer.

The Georgia Cyber Center and a local nonprofit are working to bring more kids into the field.

After years of working in marketing and human resources, Ebony Brown, founder and CEO of Brown Girls Code, decided it was time for a change.

“I decided to pursue what I always been passionate about which was technology,” said Brown.

Growing up, she didn’t know much about getting into the industry.

“We didn’t have a lot of computers at the school, but I was interested once we got them in. I was trying to figure out what was going on,” she said.

The United States Labor Department says African Americans make up only three percent of the cyber tech workforce in the US.

Senator Jon Ossoff’s new bill creates an education grant, giving half of its funding to historically black colleges and universities and other schools that help minorities in the cyber field.

Executive Director of the Alliance for Fort Gordon, Dr. Tom Clark, said: “So the senator’s efforts may even help fund our programs but programs across our entire state will benefit our youth for cyber education.”

Clark works with the Boys and Girls Club of Augusta, hosting camps to get kids more involved in the tech world.

“Across two states, 150 kids attended these camps for free. 65% of the attendees were minorities and 40% were women,” said Clark.

Brown Girls Code is a non-profit that teaches girls ages seven to 18 about cyber technology and gives them opportunities they normally wouldn’t get in school.

Brown said: “One great thing about computer programming, it actually teaches you how to problem solve.”

Clark also says that cyber tech is in almost every career field.

Brown Girls Code will have a mixer this Friday at the cyber center for members celebrating four years and back in-person teaching.

Tuesday’s big event is the annual capture the flag competition.

Teams from across the globe use their cyber skills to see who gets the top spot.

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