A 19-year-old student studying at Cambridge University has won a government challenge aimed at encouraging people to gain a career in the IT sector.
William Shackleton beat 41 finalists in the Masterclass Final of the Cyber Security Challenge. He was required to protect the City of London from a simulated cyber attack, with the challenge being developed by experts in the field at BT, the Government Communications Headquarters, the National Crime Agency, Lockheed Martin and Juniper Networks.
The challenge is supported by organisations from the public and private sectors with a view to increasing the talent pool of the IT industry, particularly where cyber security is concerned. Sponsors of the challenge come from such areas as government departments, universities, defence businesses and law firms.
Speaking about how the experience has affected his career choice, Mr Shackleton said: "I never considered a career in cyber security before taking part in the challenge but playing their competitions and meeting the industry leaders has shown me there are exciting jobs which need filling."
Previous reports have raised fears that there is not a wide enough talent pool to meet the demands of the IT sector. Many organisations have said that they have been unable to find people with the adequate skills to fill roles at their company.
Chief executive officer of the Cyber Security Challenge Stephanie Daman noted that the majority of finalists were self taught and that none of them were already working within the cyber security sector.
Mr Shackleton is the third person to win the Cyber Security Challenge. Previously a fellow Cambridge student won the challenge in 2012. A total of 31,000 people entered this year's challenge.
For winning, Mr Shackleton was offered a range of prizes worth £100,000 designed to enhance his career. These include training courses, the chance to attend industry events and opportunities to receive paid internships and university bursaries.
Separate to the challenge, Mr Shackleton has already gained an internship with Facebook.