For a regional competition last spring, eight students from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, spent six months of Saturdays practicing how to defend a typical business computer network from attacks. Then, over two grueling days, they outscored teams from five other schools at blocking worms and other efforts to disrupt their e-mail and Internet systems.
For the six seniors in the group, all in computer information systems, the victory was even sweeter. Boeing, the giant aerospace and military company, offered them jobs.
One of the Cal Poly cyber security kids described his job as "kind of like the fighter pilot of the information technology industry." It also pays $80,000. That noise you're hearing is the collective groan of every non-skilled worker who ever slept through Algebra.