NICE Framework

The voluntary NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework (NICE Framework) was developed through a collaborative process by industry, academia, and government stakeholders. It establishes a taxonomy and common lexicon that describes cybersecurity work and is intended for use in both the public and private sectors. NIST does not validate or endorse any individual organization or its approach to using the NICE Framework.

According to, as of August 2020 there are 67,195 unfilled cybersecurity positions in the State of California. In today’s global economy, there are more satellites in orbit than ever before. From intelligence gathering, weather, and GPS, satellites provide communications and information to people through our devices
connected to the Internet of Things. The commercialization of space increases cybersecurity concerns for both the public and private sectors.

The California Cyber Innovation Challenge

The California Cyber Innovation Challenge (CCIC) is the cybersecurity championship for the State of California. The CCIC 2020 consists of teams from both middle and high school. The 2020 competition will feature a virtual-immersive environment on Cal Poly’s digital range. Students will respond to a fictional storyline of a satellite that was hacked and falls to Earth. Participants will engage in a 3D immersive
environment featuring multiple space-themed set designs to solve the cyber mystery of how the satellite was hacked based on the NICE Framework.

Watch the live immersion environment demo for the 2020 event.


    “The California Cybersecurity Innovation Challenge (CCIC) has mapped the challenges to the NIST/NICE Framework. We want to recognize the importance of each student’s cybersecurity career pathways, and their knowledge of the NICE Framework is paramount to their success. The CCIC Cal Poly student team who created the
    CCIC challenges understands the magnitude of including ‘this blueprint to categorize, organize and describe cybersecurity work’. We are thrilled that NICE has supported our efforts in helping the next generation of cybersecurity professionals excel in this
    in-demand career!” – Henry Danielson, Program Manager. Cal Poly California Cyber Innovation Challenge

    Process of Mapping CCIC to the NICE Framework

    The California Cybersecurity Institute staff, students, and faculty adopted the NICE Framework for the California Cyber Innovation Challenge (CCIC). The California Cyber Innovation Challenge focuses on providing California middle and high school students an engaging introduction into cybersecurity through an immersive, hands-on
    environment. The NICE Framework publication provided a guide for our team to identify cybersecurity roles and skills. By leveraging the NICE Framework to conduct this competition, students will learn about:

    • The Foundations of Cybersecurity
    • Why Cybersecurity is Important
    • Future Careers in Cybersecurity

    The 2020 competition is themed around the convergence of space and cybersecurity. The first step for our team was to identify the critical cybersecurity roles relevant to our competition. Next, we built the challenge as well as team training exercises for the event around the NICE Framework. For example, specific sections of the event are mapped to NICE Knowledge, Tasks, and Skills.


    After working on this year’s CCIC, Cal Poly California Cybersecurity Institute intern Bree Zedar said, “It was really exciting to see how creating the challenge on the back end allowed for the staff’s growth and achievement of certain NICE Standards.”


    Adapting NICE for Middle and High School

    Where students have participated in past CCICs


    The NICE Framework injected into our competition is geared for cybersecurity professionals. Our challenge was to adapt this framework for middle and high school students that are new to cybersecurity. We introduced a blended approach to expose students to different career fields and skillsets required in the cybersecurity
    marketplace. For example, Rene Wynn (retired CIO NASA) will participate as a volunteer at the 2020 event and provide a charge to students on the need for cybersecurity professionals in space.


    Benefits & Impact

    The 2020 CCIC is particularly unique to our team. One of our past high school competitors is now part of the CCIC planning. This student was involved in several past CCICs. Upon graduating high school, he began an internship at the California Cybersecurity Institute. This student intern has had an active role in designing this
    year’s competition. Having his perspective as a past competitor, as well as insights on this event has been invaluable to our team. The heat map on this page depicts where students have participated in past CCICs. Our goal is to expose more and more students in underrepresented communities to a career in cybersecurity and the
    NICE Framework by participating in the CCIC. We are tracking the success of many of our student participants. We are amazed at how this challenge has catapulted many students to explore cybersecurity has a future career.

    CCIC intern Bree Zedar

    CCIC intern Bree Zedar


    DefCon is the world’s premier cybersecurity and hacker convention. In August of 2020, Cal Poly’s California Cybersecurity provided the Aerospace Village access to the training platform for the CCIC 2020 built on the NICE Framework. CCI is providing a gamified satellite cybercrime challenge scenario intended for beginner-level
    participants that will be used for the 2020 CCIC in October. The challenge is comprised of a multi-layered cybercrime plot written by Cal Poly students, complete with complex characters, physical and digital evidence chains, and puzzles that challenge participants are required to search through and analyze to solve a satellite hacking crime.


    Learn More




    CCIC Practice Challenge Webinar with NICE



    Enter the Practice Room


    Related Content