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Hackathon competition for students as part of UK Cyber Risk

When you’re young and talented, competing to be named among the UK’s best ethical hackers and score a job as a cyber expert sounds pretty good.

In November 2018, our Cyber Risk practice ran its annual Capture the Flag competition to find top talent from across the country. Fourteen university teams fought it out in a qualifying round a month earlier, with eight making the grade.

Let the games begin

Invited to our London offices to pit their wits in the final were students from Bournemouth, De Montfort, Durham, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier, Kent, Kingston and Lancaster.

Using the Hackazon portal, developed by our Dutch colleagues, teams of between four and six tackled challenges designed to test even the most experienced cyber minds. New for 2018 was an advisory challenge, where students pitched their services to an imaginary client facing a massive cyber attack.

After two years as runners-up, Edinburgh claimed a well-deserved victory, with Durham and Kent securing the second and third spots.

“We had PhD and bachelor’s degree students from all years and backgrounds,” said organiser and senior consultant Ryan Vickers. “The challenges ranged in difficulty and there was fierce competition, with teams rapidly moving up and down the rankings as the day progressed.”

“To see Deloitte hosting these kinds of events proved how invested the firm is, and that really inspired me.”

Gavin Hull, 2016 participant and Deloitte senior consultant

A talent for tech

Launched four years ago, Capture the Flag is more than a fun contest that stokes university rivalries – it’s a valuable recruitment tool. It showcases our cyber credentials, offers a glimpse into life at Deloitte and helps future talent meet professionals doing the job they aspire to.

“It allows us to reach the most technically-capable recruits and show that our skills go way beyond consulting and audit,” explained Ryan. “Some of the competitors have already gone on to apply for roles in our Cyber Risk practice and will hopefully be joining us soon.”

From inspired to hired

On average, we hire two to three Capture the Flag competitors each year. Senior consultant Gavin Hull took part in 2016 with the University of Kent. As a result, he applied for a permanent position in Cyber Risk and, in September 2017, he took up his new role.

Gavin said, “I applied purely because of the competition. To see Deloitte hosting these kinds of events proved how invested the firm is, and that really inspired me. It also showed Deloitte was at the cutting edge of providing solutions to improve cyber security worldwide.”

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