The Growing Demand For Cyber Security Experts

Articles Posts about SCS, Cyber Security

By Matthew McGrath

Data is the currency of our time. Whether it’s stored in the cloud or coursing through acres of digital hardware, data provides companies with a competitive advantage, and tells us everything from our credit history to our personal history and provides us peace and concern simultaneously. 

With so much riding on data, it’s no doubt then that cybercrime is a major threat to individuals and organizations. It’s the fastest growing crime on a global scale and is set to cost world governments over $10 trillion annually by 2025.  

How did we get here?  

In March 2020, when businesses worldwide were forced to move their operations online instantly, many of them were ill-prepared for the inherent risks. Sensitive documents were shared without the proper digital security, employee files found their way online and organizations were susceptible to cybercrimes from an invasion of ransomware to data breaches.  

According to Accenture’s State of cybersecurity resilience 2021 report , over 80% of organizations in North America have increased their cybersecurity budgets over the past year.  

The High Demand for Cyber Security Experts 

As Ali Khan, a Cyber Security instructor at the School of Continuing Studies puts it, “There’s no better time to get into cyber (security). This is the post-COVID recovery time of massive spending, where budgets are now opening up. Countries are adopting massive digital transformations. Companies are looking to further digitize their services. And cyber security is a part of all of that. Whether that’s for A.I. (artificial intelligence), blockchain, autonomous vehicles etc.”  

As we advance and adopt emerging technology, we need skilled professionals who can prevent, manage and respond to digital threats. To meet this demand of cyber security professionals, the School of Continuing Studies has launched multiple certificate programs in cyber security over several years. The newest edition to our suite of programs includes the only full-time post-graduate certificate in Cyber Security to be offered by a Canadian university.  

The best part about these programs are our expert instructors who are passionate about helping students launch their careers in this exciting field. Three of those instructors, Ali Khan, Gaurav Kumar and Arlene Worsley felt the need to go the extra mile for their students and collaborated on a book, Because You Can: Your Cyber Security Career. 

“(The book) came about organically when me and Ali started talking about the common pain points that our students brought to us. The main point that came across was that students needed help transitioning into a meaningful cyber security career,” says Gaurav Kumar.  

Even though the demand for cyber security expertise is on the rise across industries, some of our students initially expressed their doubts about being able to successfully join this field due to its apparent technical requirements. But employers have become more open-minded to professionals who’ve put in the work.  

As Arlene Worsley explains, “(Cyber Security) is not only for technical people but it’s also inclusive for those who have a non-technical background. I think that the latter part is important and we really emphasize that in the book when it comes to finding, recruiting and retaining talent in cyber security.”  

Our new Cyber Security program for entry-level candidates

To prepare our students for the field, our cyber security curriculum focuses on real-world examples and case studies. The full-time certificate includes a capstone course that encompasses all the learning into a hands-on project while the Cyber Security Intensive allows professionals to quickly upskill and re-enter the job market.  

As we move forward, practices like hybrid work culture and fully remote positions are only going to become more commonplace. Machine learning and A.I. are going to become more integral to the smooth functioning of our work and personal lives. This advancement will most likely be met by even more sophisticated cyberattacks. As such, cyber security is poised to become one of the fastest growing technological fields.  

Through our cyber security programs and instructors like Ali, Gaurav and Arlene, our goal is to prepare our students to make the most of these opportunities.