LA PLATA, Md. – The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) CyberHawks, the college’s competitive cybersecurity team, took third place at the second annual Maryland Community College Cyber Competition held at the Montgomery Community College Germantown Campus. 

It is the second consecutive year that the team has demonstrated its competitive edge after coming in first in last year’s inaugural competition.

The Cyberhawks competed this year against more than 20 teams from 10 different community colleges from across the state. The CSM team is made up of three students, D. Price, C. Craft and J. Graves, who due to the nature of their future careers prefer to not include their full names.

“The team works well together and is very competitive,” said Professor D. Powell, networking course manager, office technology program coordinator and CyberHawks cybersecurity club advisor. “This is the second year of this competition, and we finished first in 2017 and third in 2018. That is a great accomplishment.”

The competition tested the students’ ability to solve cyber puzzles in five categories: computer forensics, cryptography, binary coding, networking communications and a miscellaneous mystery topic.

Cybersecurity Ventures, in its Cybersecurity Jobs Report for 2018-2012, predicted there being 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings by 2021. “In 2017 the U.S. employs nearly 780,000 people in cybersecurity positions, with approximately 350,000 current cybersecurity openings, according to CyberSeek, a project supported by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), a program of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the U.S. Department of Commerce. The current number of U.S. cybersecurity job openings is up from 209,000 in 2015. At that time, job postings were already up 74 percent over the previous five years, according to a Peninsula Press analysis of numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

In addition to the team’s win at the state competition, the CyberHawks competed in the National Cyber League Spring Competition. One player, Craft, competed in the Gold field and also finished in the top 10 percent out of more than 3,000 players. “We also had another post in the top 10 percent of their field and another had 96 percent accuracy,” Powell said. “The CyberHawks are interested in growing, Powell said. “We want any student who wants to learn cybersecurity,” she said.

CSM is a Center of Academic Excellence in CyberSecurity. This program has been designated as a Center of Academic Excellence for two-year schools (CAE-2Y) by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). For information about the CyberHawks, email For information about CSM’s cybersecurity program, visit