The FBI is looking to recruit new computer hackers, and it is starting with young people. The security agency is starting a new program designed to develop the youth of America into expert hackers before they get off-track by instead becoming the leaders of successful companies, doctors, lawyers or stoners.
The program will begin next fall, and it will be offered to high-achieving high school students in the Pittsburgh area. The classes will teach students fundamentals in computer security, and students will receive university credit for their participation.
FBI representative Christopher Geary said, “We know the talent we need and we need to go earlier and get to people when they're making career and life decisions."
Geary says that the competition for computer security experts have evolved so rapidly that the FBI must do whatever it can in order to attract top-talent.
The new program was developed in a joint-effort between FBI offices in Pittsburgh, the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and the Norwin School District.
The Norwin School District still needs to approve the program. The school district has been hurt by financial issues, and the FBI has stated that it will not provide the district with any funding.
Despite this, the FBI is assuming that the program will go ahead next fall as planned.
The FBI has complained that marijuana usage by young people has hurt their previous recruitment efforts. FBI agencies are currently understaffed, particularly for computer scientist roles, supposedly because young stoners don’t want to join the FBI as computer hackers.
Director of the FBI James Comey was recently quoted as saying, “Some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview".
Representatives of the FBI have also admitted that the agency is having a hard time competing with businesses in the private sector, which offer larger salaries than that of the FBI.
Time will tell if the FBI is able to convince young people into pursuing careers with security agencies rather than going down a path of jam bands and the munchies.