Tyson Johnson is the Chief Operating Officer of CyberNB.
In 2016, New Brunswick became the first Canadian province to launch a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. The province was quick to recognize the value presented by this sector and Opportunities NB (ONB), via its CyberNB initiative, has since focused its efforts on attracting leading cybersecurity companies and – with a strategy that includes K-12 curriculum as well as Post-Secondary institutions – creating a robust talent pipeline.
The 3rd annual CyberSmart Summit (May 29th and 30th in Fredericton) is fast approaching. It is the only cybersecurity skills and workforce development conference of its kind in North America and should be of interest to any company with an interest in protecting themselves and their clients.
Why YOU Should Attend CyberSmart
When we hear news of online activities that may influence democratic elections, disrupt a business’ functioning or even halt a hospital from operating and providing patient care, we likely do not think through the numerous cybersecurity-related roles that are acting in the background. These are roles requiring unique skill sets including the ability to deter, detect, delay, identify, quarantine, recover, prosecute, insure, and update policy.
Youth with aptitudes and early introduction to coding, running scripts, and receiving mentorship from industry volunteers, can find themselves fast-tracking through high school toward a career in technology-related cybersecurity. Perhaps as a Security Operations Centre (SOC) operator or cyber forensics professional. The framework for curriculum development to ensure courses are offered throughout secondary and post-secondary to meet the demands of industry continues to be refined.
Keep in mind that the legal issues surrounding cybersecurity are also creating demands for lawyers with a strong understanding of digital rights, cybersecurity, forensics, machine learning, ethics, and jurisdictional issues. There are new jobs required at the same rapid rate of change we are witnessing in the digital economy.
The growing need for cybersecurity professionals is having a profound effect on educational institutions at all levels across the globe. Traditional procedures for the methodical and deliberate modification of curriculum in core subject areas are today proving too slow and inadequate to meet the needs of a dynamic subject area such as cybersecurity. Securing the digital world requires rapid, iterative, and innovative actions from education partners, with active collaboration between universities, colleges, private institutions, and school boards.
Let’s be clear: institutions choosing to remain rigid and refusing to collaborate in non-traditional ways can continue to do so. However, these same institutions will witness a declining interest in its programs, declining enrollment and irrelevance – even if once previously perceived as the pinnacle in cybersecurity education.
The talent demands of the digital economy will seek out and work with education partners that are willing to work with industry. In cybersecurity, the traditional belief of universities being untouched by the bias of industry to ensure the freedom of academic research is now perceived as irrelevant. We are celebrating the new alignment of universities with colleges to create new paths to relevant degrees that industry will employ immediately upon graduation (if not sooner).
What is so exciting about the CyberSmart Summit is that those who attend – government agencies from around the world, academic institutions from Canada, the US, and Europe, as well as global industry leaders – all come together to collaborate, share best practices, celebrate successes, and work to improve outcomes going forward. The challenges we face to ensure digital literacy, digital security, and continued prosperity for our global economy are real. This summit ensures we continue to make progress to achieve success – together.
Don’t Take it From Us
“I think a lot of private sector folks might see CyberSmart as strictly an event for technology professionals, but that’s not true,” noted Darryl Esau of Fredericton’s Bulletproof. “From my experience over the last couple of years, it’s become obvious that everyone can benefit from this event. Whether you’re in IT or making bread or building widgets, you must address cybersecurity.”
Join us on May 29-30 in Fredericton for CyberSmart 2019. Registration is still open, with early bird pricing available until April 30.
This story is sponsored by CyberNB, a special operating agency of Opportunities NB.