On Monday 26th April, a team of pupils from St Margaret’s School for Girls in Aberdeen represented Scotland in the UK Grand Final of the National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) CyberFirst Girls code-breaking competition.
After beating 6,500 girls in the qualifying stages, the second year pupils secured third place in the Grand Final, placing them as the top aspiring codebreakers of their age group in the country.
Pupils Ellie Ong, Rachel Murray, Celine Muir, and Iris Emembolu, were among nine other teams who put their cyber security know-how to the test in the CyberFirst Girls final, a competition run by the NCSC to inspire the next generation of young women to consider a career in cyber security.
Anna Tomlinson, Head of St Margaret’s School for Girls, said: "We’re so proud of Ellie, Rachel, Celine, and Iris who finished third place at the UK Grand Finals having proved themselves champions in Scotland in the semi-final qualifying round.
"Competitions like this are very important as they inspire girls to pursue their interests in technology and consider careers in under-represented fields such as cyber security."
Celine Muir, second year CyberFirst finalist at St Margaret’s School said: "The qualifying round of the CyberFirst competition was really exciting as we had to work through security puzzles, cryptography, logic, and networking.
"We’re really pleased our hard work paid off and we’re so pleased to have been placed third in the UK."
She continued: "Going into the competition, I didn’t know much about cyber security, but representing St Margaret’s in this competition has made me consider potential career paths and opportunities in the field."
The final competition saw ten teams simultaneously take on a series of cyber security challenges covering cryptography, logic and networking.
Now in its fifth year, the CyberFirst Girls Competition aims to inspire girls to pursue their interests in technology and consider a career in cyber security – a field where women are still under-represented in the UK, making up an estimated 15% of the sector workforce.