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The 502 Project

Welcome to The 502 Project, an effort to design, implement, and support a new community platform to connect local events to formal pathways to cybersecurity careers, providing access to local mentors, college advisors, and others who can inspire and guide future cybersecurity professionals.

The 502 Project is led by the University of South Florida in partnership with the University of West Florida, Florida International University, Tennessee Tech University, Forsyth Technical College, St. Petersburg College, Cyversity, and the Florida Center for Cybersecurity (Cyber Florida).

Funded by a grant from the National Security Agency’s National Centers of Academic for Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C) program office, this effort seeks to design, implement, and support an online community connecting cybersecurity education events and community organizations throughout the NCAE-C program’s Southeast Region.

A reference to the “Bad Gateway” HTTP error code, The 502 Project aims to overcome a longstanding gap between aspiring practitioners and the professional cybersecurity community by creating a cybersecurity community platform that will simultaneously provide students with a gateway to the cybersecurity community and professionals with a broader networking space.

The platform will allow for scheduled meetings and check-ins to facilitate mentorship and progression along formal career pathways and provide a social space for all university and college cybersecurity student organizations in the region. The goal of these opportunities is to enable high-school students to connect with undergraduates currently enrolled in cybersecurity programs.

Overall, the 502 Project will provide support for students from initial “gateway events” through to enrollment in cybersecurity educational programs and beyond into cybersecurity careers, drawing upon an extensive network of students, volunteers, community figures, and academic advisors.