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Blog: Thursday, December 19th, 2019

Cybersecurity Training is Coming to Abbotsford School Students

Someone is knocking at the door, so to speak, and they want your personal and financial information. We’ve all experienced attacks through email, texting, or phone. Personal Cybercrime is on the rise and it doesn’t stop there. Companies big and small, health organizations, school districts and anyone that stores personal information or files online are under attack. This has resulted in a major increase in demand for workers in the field of Cybersecurity. In 2015, RCMP Reported over 1,600 attacks per day and in 2016 the numbers more than doubled. Ransomware attacks have increased significantly, and small businesses and even municipalities have had their systems held ransom with military grade encryption codes until the victim pays, typically in bitcoin to unlock their encrypted data.  

Each cyber-attack is said to cost a business 1-3 million dollars. This is due to a variety of variables which include loss of consumer confidence, loss of revenue as well as future lawsuits. This issue is not going away anytime soon as attackers out-man those that defend our networks. The silver lining will be increased job and career opportunities for young adults transitioning out of high school. With further education, coupled with recognized industry certification and specialization, young adults can find themselves gainfully employed in a sustainable and vibrant career fighting cyber terrorism.  

The Abbotsford School District Career Programs Department, in partnership with Palo Alto Networks is launching a new program to meet this demand. Starting in February 2021, the Palo Alto Cybersecurity Certification Program will offer 4 courses (16 credits towards graduation) to students over their grade 11 and 12 school year.  Students will take 2 courses in their second semester of grade 11 and follow up with 2 more in semester 1 of their grade 12 year. Through the dual credit system, students will take a Computer Information Systems 190 course from the University of the Fraser Valley and receive university credit while still in high school. A pilot will run for this year’s grade 11 and 12 students in second semester as a single, 4 credit course. Upon completion, students will be eligible to write the Palo Alto Networks Certified Cybersecurity Associate exam. In conjunction with many other certificates from Information Technology, Business, Education or Graphic Art, students can enter the lucrative field at above average wages.  Analysts forecast a global shortage of 3.5 million cyber security professionals by 2021. Of these, 8,000 are in Canada.  

We are looking forward to this generation being well prepared and situated to earn an excellent living, and to keep us and our hard-earned money and information safe from cyber criminals. For more information, check out our website at careers.abbyschools.ca/cybersecurity

Todd Diakow 
Cybersecurity Program Coordinator/Instructor