SAINT JOHN– New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) wants to help fill the cybersecurity skills gap in the province with a new program it’ll be offering next year.
On Tuesday NBCC announced it will be launching a new one-year post-graduate cybersecurity diploma program that will begin in September 2018 at the Saint John campus.
The college partnered with CyberNB and industry to help create the program. The course curriculum is still in development, but NBCC says the new program will provide graduates with “the skills and knowledge that industry is seeking, and help expand the cybersecurity infrastructure in New Brunswick.”
The admission requirement for this program is a diploma or degree in network administration, computer science or equivalent experience in network administration.
For the industry in the province, the new program is welcome news. Mostafa Shaker, marketing and communications director for Blue Spurs, a leading technology firm in New Brunswick, says cybersecurity is now one of the first things they talk about with clients.
“With the rise of things like the Internet of Things (IoT) as well as artificial intelligence, security is still top of mind, because everyone wants to make sure their solutions can’t be hacked. Unfortunately right now, the workforce across Canada and globally has a big shortage of cybersecurity experts,” said Shaker.
According to a recent report from Cisco, in 2016, there are about one million jobs available worldwide in cybersecurity and many of them were not filled. By 2019, that’s expected to grow to six million.
Shaker says the new NBCC program will help fill such positions in the region.
“Now that these devices are so integrated into our day-to-day lives … the need for security has increased so much,” he said. “A program like this helps us produce the skilled workforce we need here in New Brunswick to be able to securely build some of these solutions that really innovate while making sure we’re secure and safe.”
Aaron Breen, director of development at IBM in Fredericton, says the company hires between 20 and 30 people a year. He says the new program will be unique since it’s the only one that specializes specifically in cybersecurity in the province.
“There is nothing else right now other than self-learning or leaving the province,” said Breen. “If you take programming or you take network administration, there’s nothing else that exists other than a full course at UNB, which again, is not specialized, which actually covers the fundamental basics of going into cybersecurity career.”
The new program was great news for Andrew Greenwood, a second-year IT Administration student at NBCC. He plans on taking the program next year with hopes of working at IBM after graduation.
“I was thinking about IBM because they’re growing here. They’re a known company globally and if I really wanted to move out of the province for whatever reason, that gives me the opportunity,” he says.
“But also gives me a reason to stay, which is something we need more of.”