For half a decade now, ICTC has hosted the CyberTitan National Finals, the only Canadian cybersecurity competition for middle and high school students. Here, Canada’s top 11 cybersecurity student teams battle it out to become the best cyber defensive youth force in the country.
The CyberTitan Competition and Summit is the culmination of the CyberTitan/CyberPatriot school program, which runs from October to February each year. About 130 CyberTitan teams (consisting of 700 Canadian students) compete with almost 5,000 teams consisting of about 25,000 students around the world through the CyberPatriot program (the U.S. parent cybersecurity program).
On the way to this grand finale, CyberTitan program participants build an arsenal of critical digital skills for today’s increasingly digital world, skills that will serve them well in pursuing a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) post-secondary education.
CyberTitan V is fast approaching this May 16-18, 2022 and even after all these years, people still have a lot of questions about CyberTitan and the competition.
So here are the answers to the top 10 questions people ask:
How do you become a finalist in CyberTitan National Competition and Summit?
After many fun and challenging rounds of competition during the school year, 10 Canadian school teams are chosen based on CyberPatriot results as finalists for the CyberTitan Competition and Summit (only 2 teams per school).
Four of the top teams hail from western Canada (British Columbia to Manitoba); four come from eastern Canada (Ontario to Newfoundland); the top middle school team; and a wildcard team, which for the last four years has been an all-female team.
Do I need to have any previous knowledge to compete?
All skill levels are welcome! CyberTitan is a learning opportunity for valuable skills. The goal is to improve individual and team skills with the hope of become champion, but it’s not only about winning; it’s about the experience and the memories you make.
What are the eligibility requirements?
All Canadian middle or high school students can join the CyberTitan program. A team consists of 4-6 participants from a school or community group (a structured youth group/program like Cadets) and a team coach. The team couch registers your team and pays the registration fee (some teams choose to fundraise, some receive funding from school boards of ministries of education, etc.—ask your Coach about your options!)
What does the CyberTitan program look like?
All the CyberTitan program competition rounds—with the exception of the National Finals—are held online once a month from October until February as CyberTitans within the U.S. CyberPatriot program.
These weekend competitions take place from Friday at 9am ET and 6pm ET on Sunday each month. Teams have choose any of the three days in which to compete, but once the team opens the round, they have to complete all their work in a six consecutive-hour period.
If the team qualifies, you may be invited to both the CyberPatriot finals (in March) AND the CyberTitan finals (in May).
How can I register? What are the fees?
Your team coach will need to register through the CyberPatriot program (here). Registration for the next season opens in April and runs until October, every year.
The fee is $205 USD per team, however, the fee is waived for all-female teams.
Also, a 20% discount is available if you register between April and end of July, so you will want to register as soon as possible to save your spot! (Payment isn’t needed until November.)
Do I need to have a finalized team in order to register?
No. Coaches will not need to have a final team roster or a list of the students’ names until October, so you are encouraged to apply as soon as students express an interest.
Who needs to be on a team?
Teams consist of and 4-6 students. A team needs a coach. (This is generally a teacher—who doesn’t need to have a tech background) and a team Mentor (ICTC has mentors who can help; these are industry representatives or former participants).
How can I become a Coach?
The majority of CyberTitan coaches are teachers/educators approved by the school or participating organization to act as the administrative lead. One coach can coach up to 5 teams. You can sign up through the CyberPatriot program (here).
I’m a first-time coach, is there any mentorship available?
ICTC can help connect you with alumni coaches to help onboard you and answer any questions you may have. Reach out to us for more information at [email protected]!
I’m a student! How can I join a CyberTitan team?
You will need to find a coach (it could be one of your teachers) to create a club or class dedicated to the CyberTitan program. Ask one of your teachers to contact ICTC, and we will be happy to help them get set up a meeting with a school/educator/school board to introduce the CyberTitan program.
I just registered a team, what happens now?
Once you’re registered a team, you have access to learning resources to prep for the competition and three practice rounds in August/September/October. CyberPatriot competitions start in October. Semi-finals take place in January but are available only to eligible advancing teams.
Do I get any free stuff? Are there prizes?
Yes! All teams receive promotional materials from CyberPatriot. If your team makes it to the CyberTitan national finals, you will each receive another bag of goodies for finalists (T-shirts, a themed rubber duck, competition coins, and other fun items). Prizes have varied from Beats headphones, to Chromebooks, to Amazon gift cards, and of course bragging rights! All finalists are sent badges for their achievements.
Are the competitions available in French?
The CyberPatriot competition is only available in English, which is the international language of cybersecurity. However, the CyberTitan competition is working to have French capability in the coming years to reflect Canadian bilingualism. The CyberTitan program aims to be as inclusive as possible and welcomes teams from across Canada, as such, every effort will be made to communicate with you in French if that is your preference.
What are the key takeaways for students who compete in CyberTitan?
The CyberTitan competition tries to be as hands-on and real-world as possible. The skills you develop are directly transferrable to industry (future jobs). These skills are largely technical but also include soft skills because competition requires effective teamwork.
Competitions are based on real-world scenarios, so students learn practical skills that Canada’s digital economy needs (such as completing support tickets while addressing a critical cybersecurity threat).
What kinds of simulation scenarios can teams expect in CyberTitan?
Past scenarios are rooted in real cybersecurity threats that Canadian businesses have faced (in the first year, the CyberTitan simulation involved protecting small/medium sized business against cyber infiltration; in year two, protecting the computer system on a cruise ship; in year three, protecting against a stock market cyberattack; in year four, protecting a Canadian Rail system). But the scenarios also include imaginative environments to help students to think outside the box (CyberTitan V, for example, defends a human presence on the moon).
Thanks for asking!
“Cybersecurity is part of basically everything that we touch. If you are using technology today, you should be aware of cybersecurity best practices. This competition brings a focus to something that is and will continue to be a key priority for all Canadians.”
— Sheena Bolton, Program Manager, ICTC’s CyberTitan