Your first step should be to reach out to a faculty member you believe will support your endeavor. Your initial goal should be to gain their support and advice. If possible, ask them to act as your coach. Ideally, if they can train you and your soon-to-be-developed team, then you don’t have to worry about much more. Connect them with this guide, the NCL Coaches Calls, and NCL’s resource materials via their webpage.
Unfortunately, this may not be the case. If your contact cannot act as a coach and advisor, you can absolutely make a team all by yourself. It’s going to require more work, but it’s an achievable goal.
When I first started my graduate degree, I heard a lot about the CCDC team (another collegiate cyber competition), but didn’t really hear about NCL. So I went to my advisor and proposed leading an NCL team as well. While my advisor would have offered any resources I needed, I only requested some funding to help make it easier for students to join. From there, I built my dream team. In our very first season, we ranked 11th in our bracket missing the leaderboard by 1 flag.
Another step to build your team is to reach out to all faculty teaching a related course. Request that they offer their students extra credit for participating in the NCL Games. Explain to them the benefits of competing in NCL and how it could relate to their curriculum.
Lastly, if nothing else, you can always invite your friends over, order some pizza, and see what you can do.
The only way you can fail to build a team is to not sign up. A team of one is better than a team of none. Compete in the competition for the first time, learn more about it, and then go to your faculty again with more knowledge and offer your own experience as a guide for the importance of this competition.
If you need help or advice, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @CryptoKait or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I wish you the best and I look forward to seeing your name on the leaderboard very soon!