Undergrads built real-world cyber solutions at the latest InNOVAtion Hackathon - Technical.ly DC


May 21, 2019 12:41 pm

Undergrads built real-world cyber solutions at the latest InNOVAtion Hackathon

Northern Virginia Community College hosted more than 100 students for the 24-hour event where they created cyber solutions for regional tech employers.
Students at NOVA’s fourth annual inNOVAtion Hackathon.

Students at NOVA's fourth annual inNOVAtion Hackathon.

(Courtesy photo)

Earlier this year, we wrote about how cybersecurity is still the number-one sought-after skill in immediate demand at local tech companies. The latest case in point: A local college just hosted a hackathon to give students real-life experience building cybersecurity solutions.

Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) hosted more than 100 undergraduate students this past weekend at its fourth annual InNOVAtion Hackathon. The hackathon attracted college students from regional and national institutions, Melanie Stover, NOVA’s director of business engagement, told Technical.ly.

Attendees formed teams and spent 24 hours working on unique challenges provided by these tech employers:

  • Amazon Web Services
  • General Dynamics Information Technology
  • AllCyber
  • Rigil Corporation
  • VG Systems
  • Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association Belvoir Chapter

For the hackathon, running from the morning of May 18 to the morning of May 19, students spent the night at the Workforce Regional Center, creating solutions that they then presented to participating employers. NOVA said in a press release that student competed for prizes and networking opportunities with top tech and cybersecurity executives. (The college didn’t share specifics about the final projects.)

“Hackathons are a unique opportunity for undergraduate students to work with regional employers on real-life projects, providing a chance to network with business leaders while also having access to professional development,” Stover said. “It is critical to provide these types of opportunities for students, as the northern Virginia economy includes more than 6.5 times the number of information security analysts as the national average, and the Washington, D.C. region was the number one location in the country for job opportunities in cybersecurity in 2018.


This hackathon is just the latest effort NOVA is making to prepare people for cybersecurity professions: Earlier this year the institution announced the the creation of its NOVA Cybersecurity Center to help local students secure jobs in cybersecurity.


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