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Get Ready for an Exciting Career in Cybersecurity

people working computer
people working computer

McGill University’s online Certificate in Applied Cybersecurity prepares graduates for a position in the high-demand, well-paying field. 

Digital technologies are an integral part of most businesses and public sector organizations. While these technologies increase efficiency and improve systems, they also open organizations up to threats, including hacking, data breaches and cyberattacks. These growing risks are driving increased demand for cybersecurity expertise across all industries.

“This issue is gaining more and more attention because these attacks cause financial and reputational loss. Organizations are increasingly concerned and are paying more attention to the need for having staff who will prevent and handle attacks,” says Dr. Hang Lau, Director, Career and Professional Development (Credit Programs) and Academic Program Coordinator, Information Technology, McGill University School of Continuing Studies.

In fact, Deloitte forecasts that organizations across Canada will need to fill an estimated 8,000 cybersecurity positions this year and 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs are expected to go unfilled globally in 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures.

New program provides a solid foundation in theory and practical experience

McGill University’s Certificate in Applied Cybersecurity is designed to address the increasing demand for well-educated cybersecurity professionals in the public and private sectors. New this fall, the full-credit undergraduate level program is offered through the university’s School of Continuing Studies.

The program is delivered completely online and classes with synchronous and asynchronous components, allowing students to attend the courses from their offices or homes. The program is designed to provide a solid foundation in theory and practical experience in IT networking and secure network infrastructures to anticipate and protect against cyber threats, fraud, data breaches and other vulnerabilities.

“We are going to teach from the bottom up, with basic fundamentals of network and IT security and more in-depth practical courses in cybersecurity, ” says Dr. Lau.

The program prepares students with the fundamental knowledge required in pursuing designations including System Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), provided that students meet the work experience requirement and pass the exams offered by the designation organization.

Never a dull moment with a cybersecurity career

Dr. Lau says graduates of the program will be prepared for entry-level positions in cybersecurity. For example, a graduate may become an incident and threat analyst or privacy officer, managing and providing direction to ensure an organization conducts effective cybersecurity.  Or they may get a position as a cybersecurity analyst, detecting, preventing and responding to cyber incidents and threats. As a network security operator, they would be involved in administering, maintaining and supporting effective and efficient performance in cybersecurity.

Dr. Lau says positions in cybersecurity are well suited to people who are highly organized, welcome a challenge and excel at problem-solving. “It’s a very exciting area for people who like to learn because things keep changing all the time. It is not a dull position where things are the same every day,” he says. “It makes for a very demanding and exciting career.”

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