The University of Nevada-Reno has been recognized as the top school in the nation during the National Cyber League (NCL) Spring 2019 season. 

NCL is a biannual cybersecurity competition for high school and college students. The competition consists of a series of challenges that allows students to demonstrate their ability to identify hackers from forensic data, break into vulnerable websites, recover from ransomware attacks, and more. Students compete in the NCL to build their skills, obtain scouting reports of their performance for hiring purposes, and to represent their school.

This is the first season that NCL and Cyber Skyline have designated official college rankings based on a record number of participation in the NCL Spring Season from individual students and schools.

Students participated in a week-long placement game followed by a weekend individual game, and culminated with a weekend team game. At the end of the competition, students received Scouting Reports that identified their strengths and weaknesses within different cybersecurity domains. Students use these reports in their resumes to validate their growth and skills in cybersecurity. The biannual competition is designed to help prepare students for relevant cybersecurity roles by aligning to industry certifications and government standards.

“We’re playing a full-on college cybersecurity sport. We are evidence-based, and we’re finally able to measure talent based on individual, team, and school’s performance,” said Dan Manson, NCL commissioner.

This spring, students from west coast schools topped the leaderboard with the University of Nevada — Reno, University of Hawaii at Manoa, and California State University — Chico placing first, second and third place, respectively. On the east coast, the top performing school was New York University while Wichita State University topped the central region.

The top 10 list includes:

  1. University of Nevada - Reno
  2. University of Hawaii at Manoa
  3. California State University - Chico
  4. Folsom Lake College
  5. New York University
  6. The SANS Technology Institute
  7. Marshall University
  8. University of Maryland - College Park
  9. Middle Georgia State University
  10. University of California - Davis

“Demand for cybersecurity professionals has skyrocketed in the past several years. Cyber competitions like NCL provide a way for cybersecurity students to demonstrate their skills to employers, especially with many entry-level jobs requiring experience,” said Franz Payer, CEO of Cyber Skyline. “The new Cyber Power Rankings highlight the top schools producing new cybersecurity professionals. We're excited for what competitions can do to help address the cyber talent shortage.”

Registration is open for the Fall 2019 season. Regular registration is $35 per student through Oct. 10. After that, the costs increases to $45 until Oct. 14. To learn more, visit