Seventeen-year-old Justin Hosking, an ambitious Guide Star apprentice, is not only charting a bold path in the world of IT but also exemplifies a keen sense for cybercrime prevention, inspired by his aspirations from childhood and the admirable service of his father, a volunteer firefighter.
Hosking, whose apprenticeship was funded through the Cybersecurity Youth Apprenticeship Initiative (CYAI) spoke earnestly about his journey into the world of IT, and explained his passion for IT was ignited by the complexities and challenges presented in the digital realm.
He highlighted — like firefighting — IT requires swift responses, adaptability, and a proactive mindset.
“You can't wait for a system to fail; you have to anticipate the vulnerabilities and act,” Hosking said.
Just as a single spark can lead to a raging inferno, a single vulnerability can compromise an entire system which is why Hosking decided to pursue the apprenticeship, desires to graduate from a university, and ultimately plans to work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to help the most vulnerable victims of cybersecurity crimes.
“I really wanted to be a cop, like most kids. As I got older, I thought computers, and then kind of just wanted to combine both worlds. My dad is a firefighter volunteer, so he helps a lot of people. I just want to do that too in a way, so kind of combine everything that I know- to help,” Hosking said.
Having the desire is one thing, but Hosking is nearly complete with a three-year commitment to the apprenticeship program where he will have received multiple certifications including a Networking+ certification. Justin's dedication to the field is evident not just in his words, but also in his actions as he was able to balance the rigorous demands of his apprenticeship with his academic commitments as a senior at Norway High School.
“So in our area a lot of the classes I’ve taken receive college credits for dual enrollment through Badenoch, the community college. I'll come out of high school with about 40 college credits,” Hosking said. “But I'm thinking of going to Ferris State University to get a Bachelors in ISI and then minor in computer information technology (CIT) because with CIT I already have all the credits needed for it to transfer over.”
The ability to get college credit from the courses taken to suffice the apprenticeship is a dual win, as Hosking said, “There's really no loss with apprenticeship when you're in high school, it’s just a really good opportunity and even if you don’t pursue it in college, you’ve already learned a lot and are certified.”
With the support and backing of initiatives like CYAI and Upper Peninsula Michigan Works!, the sponsor of the registered apprenticeship, young aspirants are not just being equipped with skills, but are also being instilled with a mindset of proactive defense and community service.
As Hosking stands on the brink of a promising future, his story serves as an inspiration to many. The recanting of his childhood aspirations, the influence of his father's public service, and his dedication to his craft underscores the limitless potential that lies within our youth.
Apprentices like Hosking are the future of cybersecurity, and by extension, our digital world seems to be falling into more capable hands. The tale of this young Guide Star apprentice is a reminder that with the right opportunities and support, our next generations can, and will, rise to the challenges of tomorrow.
Article written by Bethaney Lee for CYAI and UP Michigan Works!