Shrinath Iyer joined Mason Engineering’s Pre-college Cybersecurity Program in seventh grade with little exposure to the field. Four years later, he won first place for the best start-up company at the Loudoun Young Entrepreneurship Academy. He is currently a freshman at the Loudoun Academy of Science (AOS) and the Briar Woods High School in Asburn, Virginia.
Iyer’s award-winning company, CyberIyer, will initially focus on conducting affordable cybersecurity training for middle and high schoolers in Loudoun and Fairfax and other counties in the Washington, D.C. area.
After the first three years, the start-up will provide cyber services to low-income communities, school children, and senior citizens.
“I hope to expand the services to create niche cyber products impacting various economic sectors,” says Iyer. “CyberIyer will also provide scholarships to low-income students, and offer cyber education at no-cost, as well as support Cancer Research with part of the profits.”
Iyer credits Kammy Sanghera, an associate professor in the Department of Information Sciences and Technology and the program’s founder, for much of his success. “She picked me from a number of participants at U.S. Navy STEM fair at the National Harbor. She has helped me and scores of other students in the Washington, D.C. metro region get trained in cybersecurity.”
When he started the cybersecurity course, Iyer had minimal computer and coding experience. He had learned scratch (a computer code aimed at children) and competed in the First Lego League robotics competition, but he says the comprehensive nature of the pre-college program gave him learning opportunities across many technology areas and programming fields.
“Initially, I was stunned by the intensity of the course,” says Iyer. “I was learning everything new, from the simple concepts of an IP address to deeper concepts such as networking, ethical hacking, and cyber forensics. By the end of the program, I felt like I had learned a great deal about cybersecurity, networking, operating systems, and programming.”
Iyer is now ready to share that knowledge with others through his new start-up.
“I have become more knowledgeable, confident of translating my knowledge to teaching other youth in the county (through CyberIyer) and to potentially develop new products and services in the future. This is a result of this fantastic program, helping me become more technically savvy as a young teenager.”
“Initially, I was stunned by the intensity of the course. I was learning everything new, from the simple concepts of an IP address to deeper concepts such as networking, ethical hacking, and cyber forensics. By the end of the program, I felt like I had learned a great deal about cybersecurity, networking, operating systems, and programming.”