Learning how to better protect our nation's infrastructure.
That's why over 2,000 people are in Huntsville this week at the Von Braun Center taking part in the National Cyber Summit.
One of those thousands, is a local teenager, who just graduated from high school.
Marcus Jefferson has attended the summit as a student in years past, but this year, the recent graduate is at the summit as an employee for a local Cyber Security company.
"The field of Cyber Security had peaked my interest for several years now, it's something I have worked towards," said Jefferson.
Just two weeks ago, Jefferson graduated from New Century Technology High School. That's the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math magnet school and is the only one of its kind in Huntsville.
"New Century Technology High School had a wide variety of computer programming and Cyber Security related courses that prepared me for various certification exams that I took. I was able to add those to my resume and I would say those specifically led me to apply for a job in this field," explained Jefferson.
Jefferson now works as a Cyber Security programmer for Brockwell Technologies Incorporated in Cummings Research Park.
For 20 years, the company has provided Cyber Security, Systems Engineering and Software Engineering services to the Department of Defense and other clients.
Jefferson is helping the company further develop what's called a "Cyber-Range-in-the-box," which allows companies to fight cyber threats.
"The technology they're developing solves a problem myself and my school had, so I find it cool that I am able to help develop a solution," explained Jefferson.
Brockwell leaders say the demand for qualified Cyber employees is high.
"It is extremely difficult to find qualified Cyber employees with the certifications required. It is very helpful that we have these magnet schools, STEM programs because we find kids like Marcus," said Tim Brockwell, President of the company.
This is just the start for Jefferson. He encourages students to take advantage of education opportunities.
"The computer science classes, Cyber security classes, they actually have leads to a career and there's a lot of companies in Huntsville, if you reach out, they'll give you a chance, much like me," added Jefferson.
Marcus says he plans to continue his education majoring in Computer Engineering at the University of Alabama in Huntsville this fall.
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