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Canada Faces Shortage of Cybersecurity Workers

Canada ParliamentWe’ve heard many times over, that the cybersecurity field is in short supply of talented workers.  At the beginning of the year, we wrote about an ISC2 study which states that there is “a gap of almost 3 million cybersecurity jobs globally.”  Not surprisingly, the cybersecurity workers we do have are overworked and stressed out. 

It’s no surprise that there also exists a shortage of cybersecurity workers in Canada.  The Globe and Mail has just published an article about the lack of cybersecurity talent in Canada. Coming off the heels of the Desjardins breach this summer, cybersecurity is as hot a topic as ever in this country.

While college and university programs in cybersecurity exist, it doesn’t seem to be enough to address the shortage.  Ryerson University, with funding from Rogers communications, The Royal Bank of Canada, the federal government and the City of Brampton, is preparing to launch a new bootcamp style program in February 2020.  The goal will be to graduate entry level workers into the cybersecurity field in just 20 weeks.  Compare to the traditional university program which can take up to 5 years to complete.  Laurie Pezzente of the Royal Bank explains: “we don’t have 5 years to wait.” In addition to the Ryerson program, the University of New Brunswick is also partnering with Bell for a new master’s program in cybersecurity to be offered in the fall. 

So, what are businesses looking to hire cybersecurity professionals to do in the meantime?  Out of the box thinking is the key to solving most cybersecurity challenges, and this is no exception.  Try re-evaluating the skillset that you think you require.   For instance, Security Boulevard suggests you “Look for and invest in tools that provide the functionality you need in a simpler, more intuitive way. In other words, tools that require less specialist human skill because they use machine smarts to automate complex tasks.” Businesses are encouraged to look outside traditional IT workers.  CPO Magazine suggests hiring people with degrees or skills in other relevant areas, like accounting or math, could be beneficial.  Cybersecurity expertise can be taught, so long as the candidate is methodical, detail-oriented, can think logically, approach problem solving creatively, communicate effectively with multiple stakeholders, willing to learn and has a passion for cybersecurity. When all this fails, partnering with an MSSP (Managed Security Services Professional) can help address gaps. 

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