Shayna, 17, from Belfast.

Shayna, 17, from Belfast has attended the CyberFirst Defenders (2019) and Futures (2020) courses:

Whilst everyone is busy innovating and keeping up with the latest technologies, so are the cyber attackers. It is important for me to be not only computer literate, but also, to learn at least the basics of cybersecurity; the laws behind it and the agencies who could help us when we are victims of cyber-attacks or fraud. I am also keen to hone my skills as a student and to learn more about cybersecurity.


Lots of people think it can be quite an antisocial or solitary job, but the courses showed me that working in a team is a huge part of it!

The activities were so relevant that sometimes I thought I was working in the field for real. Even during the online courses, it was great to work both independently and as a team for the ‘hackathon’. This challenge really got our adrenaline pumping!

I was able to expand my network and meet a few people of my own age who are critical thinkers, smart and passionate about cracking codes and programming. I enjoyed every bit of the residential (in 2019) and online (2020) courses.


“People think cyber can be solitary, but the courses showed me working in a team is a huge part of it!”


The courses definitely improved my problem-solving ability. I was exposed to several activities and challenges, like the hackathons and the labs, which motivated me to think carefully. Working in a team was an amazing and enjoyable experience. Helping each other towards a common goal was one of the most rewarding and exciting parts of the courses.


A lot of people think that I am a well-rounded person, so it is a bit of a challenge for me to decide right now on what course/degree to take at university to prepare me for the job that I want to do. What I do know now is that studying cybersecurity is one of my choices.


I would recommend these courses because they are enjoyable, diverse, challenging and rewarding. The tutors are also friendly and accommodating. I actually made good friends with other students on the residential course who I’m still in touch with now!


CyberFirst introduces young people with a passion for computing and technology to the fascinating world of cyber security. It is a programme of opportunities inspired and led by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of GCHQ. Join a course to start your CyberFirst journey.

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