CHICAGO (CBS) — Inside the Blue 1647 Innovation Center, located at 1647 S. Blue Island Avenue, about 100 students are staring at their laptops, tackling the latest issues with cyber security.

“Today is Hack Chicago, a partnership with the city and the City Colleges of Chicago. Folks are learning about cyber security, but they’re also learning about coding, and this isn’t as hard as as daunting as it may seem,” said Emile Cambry, CEO, Blue1647.

The day-long Hack-a-thon is designed to expose students to computer programming and to generate interest in a future in cyber security, one of the fastest growing industries in the nation. WBBM’s Lisa Fielding reports.

“Cyber security is exploding, at this point in time, and we just want to make sure more people can have access and learn about it and know that this is something that could be a potential for you,” Cambry said. “It’s not only an exploding industry but it pays very well.”

A graduate student at Chicago State University was excited to attend the event.

“This ties in perfectly because my concentration is cyber security and intelligence,” said Debra Culbreth, a graduate student at Chicago State University. “This program at Chicago State is brand new so I love that we have this opportunity to talk with experts in the industry and learn about real life scenarios.”

Chicago State University graduate student, Debra Culbreth working on a cyber security breach scenario (WBBM/Lisa Fielding)

Chicago State University graduate student, Debra Culbreth working on a cyber security breach scenario (WBBM/Lisa Fielding)

Students were given scenarios of cyber security breaches and given a time limit to come up with solutions and make a presentation.

“Our task is to find out if we were a real life company, from a networking point of view, how we can help this company improve their system,” Cambry said. “We’re going to give this company three different solutions.”

Cambry said the event is designed to expose students to computer programming and to prepare them for 21st century jobs.

Students present their solutions to cyber security breach scenarios (WBBM/Lisa Fielding)

Students present their solutions to cyber security breach scenarios (WBBM/Lisa Fielding)

“I think everything from governments, non profit, for profit, everybody has to address data, data collection, how to protect the data. Everything is digital so we have to make sure we have firewalls and other systems in place so we protect our customer base,” he said.

“With technological advances, comes fear so now more than ever, I think this type of education should be in all school systems,” Culbreth said.

Tuesday’s event was the first cyber security workshop for City Colleges.

Blue1647 is a Chicago-based network of technology and entrepreneurship centers in 8 cities.