In the highly digital culture of the 21st century, organizations and individuals need to consider online security and functionality more than ever, and now Camosun College has introduced a degree program in Cyber Security and Network Technology to meet this need.
Camosun Electronics and Computer Engineering President Alan Duncan says keeping data secure is of the utmost importance and recovering compromised data is an expensive undertaking. There is therefore a growing need for specialists in cybersecurity and network technologies.
“Cybersecurity is an ongoing area of great importance,” says Duncan. “Data protection for companies and businesses is very important, and of course customer and customer details are also very important. When there are vulnerabilities in networks, systems or computers, the cost of recovering data, or rebuilding systems, or ransomware systems, costs millions and millions of dollars, so it is logical that most companies are now moving to have a designated person who is trained in cybersecurity on campus or staff to be able to advise and provide additional assistance to optimize security.
Duncan says the course is designed as a complete balance to give students the familiarity they need to be successful in their careers.
“There’s an equal split between theory and practical experience,” he says. “There’s a lot of lab time spent on hands-on labs…It’s really important that the students actually physically implement these technologies, play with the tools, use the software, use the systems that they’re actually going to see in the industry, and it will give them the skills and the confidence to take on these very important tasks.
Duncan says students will learn about hardware and software, and gain experience with coding and networking technology.
“It’s basically configuring systems, writing scripts, coding where necessary, and assembling systems based on the individual building blocks, computer servers, and network routers,” he says. “Students take two courses using Python basically, they do a bunch of scripting to configure the systems, so there are definitely software elements, and when you get into cloud computing, which is a whole new area, how do you advise when moving from localized servers to cloud-based servers, and what are the issues around them.”
Depending on how deep they want to dive, students can complete the full two-year program and receive a technology diploma, or leave after the first year with a technician certificate. Duncan says students can certainly aim for careers at big tech companies, but the skills learned in the program can also be applied at the consumer level, as there is a demand for skilled technicians in both fields.
“Any user of a computer or phone system these days should be aware of phishing emails, that kind of stuff, you know, it’s a way for the wrong person to gain access to a system “, explains Duncan. “There is a security that you have to think about from the start. Our students will actually be able to analyze and find weaknesses in systems, because basically they’re doing what’s called penetrating testing, where you’re basically trying to attack your own system, so that you can then determine where the weaknesses are and what needs to be strengthened. and what needs to be reconfigured.
Duncan advises students that while the program won’t be a walk in the park, it will pay dividends for those who put in the work.
“It’s not going to be an easy certificate, you actually have to work on it, but the value you end up getting from it is huge, because you’re learning all these new technologies right now, and there’s huge demand for people who actually have training specific in cybersecurity,” he says. “I think we have a unique solution that will be a great fit for our potential students, and we’re very happy to be able to offer it.”
Find more information about the program here.