In early 2009, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates noted that the Defense Department would need to more than double the number of its cyber security experts. Across nearly every agency and department of the U.S. government, including energy and defense, IT security is a skill that is very much in demand. By some estimates, the U.S. government will need to find and train 10,000 IT security experts. In order to meet its hiring goals and attract the best and brightest, the U.S. government has been sponsoring a growing number of talent competitions and challenges, such as the Digital Forensics Challenge.
Last year, the Digital Forensics Challenge had 199 participants, 19 of which submitted solutions. This year, 389 teams have already registered, and more teams are expected to register ahead of the November 2 deadline for submitting solutions. Participants hail from 46 states, as well as a number of international locations. The winning team receives a trip to the Cyber Crime Conference 2010 in St. Louis, as well as the opportunity to present their solutions to the group. The SANS Institute and members of CyberWATCH, a group of schools located in Maryland and Virginia, sponsor separate awards for teams.
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