In high school and sixth form, I had some great opportunities and resources that helped me build my skills and knowledge in both Computer Science and Cyber Security. These resources are mainly aimed at younger people in high school and sixth form, but some may apply to older folk. A lot of these can also look great on your CV when applying for apprenticeships or a job, or your personal statement for university.
These resources I got the most out of and would highly recommend them to anyone that is able to take advantage of them.
- CyberStart - Cyber puzzles and challenges purpose-built for young beginners to cyber security
- CyberFirst Courses - A summer school for introducing young people to cyber security with great lessons and hands-on labs. Looks great on your CV or university application and the possibility for a grade reduction at university. They often run as residential courses at universities around the UK, giving you a great taste of university for a week. There may also be locally run courses available run by companies.
- CyberFirst Bursary/Apprenticeship - CyberFirst offer something for both the apprenticeship and university route. The bursary gives you £4,000/yr while you are at university, plus paid summer work placements at top cyber companies. The apprenticeship gets you a full university degree while you're getting paid - no student debt! Companies other than the one linked also run the apprenticeship - take a look here.
- CodeAcademy - Learn to code a new programming language with fun, hands-on lessons
These are great ways to apply knowledge with a group of friends or classmates.
- Cyber Centurion - A competition aimed at 12-18 year olds focussing on securing multiple virtual machines against the clock! This requires a team of people and some help from your school or a teacher.
- Reply Cyber Security Challenge - I haven't personally done this one, but Reply's coding competitions are excellent. Bear in mind this is not aimed at young people and might be difficult!
- Reply Teen Code Challenge - A competition aimed at 14-19 year olds focussing on writing algorithms to solve puzzles in a set time. You can use any programming language and there are free practice rounds you can do at any time.
- Reply Code Challenge - A competition the same as above aimed at 16+ year olds. This isn't aimed at young people but confident coders and problem-solvers shouldn't have much trouble.
These training platforms are often aimed at cyber professionals or people trying to upskill in cyber security. These range in complexity but are great for getting real-world cyber skills.
- Hack The Box - Good quality cyber labs. It's difficult coming in from scratch as there isn't much help available.
- Immersive Labs - Starts from basics with lots of different aspects of cyber. There is some free content with a school or university email address.
- VulnHub - Cyber labs that you need to set up yourself in a virtual machine. These can vary in quality so perhaps search around for some recommended ones.
- Try Hack Me - A wide range of cyber labs covering lots of different aspects of cyber.
- Free Code Camp - A wide range of good quality programming tutorials, usually in video form. They have a good platform where you can get certificates for anything you've learnt by completing projects.