Teenagers at a Southern California high school are already seeing college-level internship offers as they tackle cyber security threats.
North Hollywood High School students are members of the largest cyber security program in the country.
"These students secure computers to make it harder for hackers to break into the computers," North Hollywood High School team coach Jay Gehringer said. "It's totally an after-school program here in Los Angeles. We compete against schools that have it built into their curriculum."
One of the teams, Team Azure, won first place in the Cyber Patriot Competition sponsored by Air Force Association.
Local news from across Southern California
Two of the members were offered college-level internships after winning, said 17-year-old Henry Birge-Lee, a student at North Hollywood.
Next month they will defend their championship.
"The weakest part of a network is usually the people using it, because computers usually don't make mistakes. It's social engineering attacks or phishing attacks that lead to a lot of the cyberattacks," student Travis Raser said.
The North Hollywood teams are sponsored by Los Angeles Unified School District's Beyond the Bell.
Beyond the Bell is a before and after school program designed to, "ensure that all children and youth in LAUSD have access to high quality, safe, and supervised academic, enrichment, and recreation programs that inspire learning and achievement beyond the regular school day," according to the Beyond the Bell website.
A second North Hollywood team and a Franklin High school team also qualified for the national competition.