Earlier this year, retailer Indigo Books & Music took a major digital blow: the iconic Canadian giant’s e-commerce website was abruptly shut down due to a “cybersecurity incident.”
It was hardly the only recent cyber security issue in Canada. Last year saw organizations including LCBO and SickKids Hospital face digital assaults such as data breaches and ransomware attacks.
Cyber attacks “have increased in many industry sectors, both in Canada and internationally,” Michelle Wasylyshen, spokesperson for Retail Council of Canada, observed in 2022.
Canada’s digital economy is in need of a robust cyber workforce, with 25,000 cybersecurity jobs currently unfilled in the country.
Google, in response to the pressing need for cybersecurity professionals, has launched the Google Cybersecurity Certificate as the newest addition to its Google Career Certificates program.
The certificate is designed to prepare learners for entry-level careers in cybersecurity within six months, with no prior experience required.
Cyberattacks increased globally by 38% from 2021 to 2022, according to data from Check Point Research. The need for cybersecurity professionals has never been greater, but Canada sees one in six cybersecurity jobs go unfilled.
This is a significant challenge for the country’s digital economy.
According to a 2021 international security association study, Canada employs around 124,000 cybersecurity professionals. But it’s simply not enough. From 2019 to 2021, the labour market grew from 84,000 to 123,000, but the gap in supply and demand did not close.
While high compensation packages are available, factors such as burnout, students opting out of cybersecurity education, and competition from the US contribute to a shortfall.
In response to the cybersecurity challenge, Google is committed to partnering with others to build a robust cyber workforce.
The company’s cybersecurity experts design and teach the Cybersecurity Certificate, which will expand pathways to entry-level cybersecurity careers. The Certificate will provide learners with hands-on experience using Python, Linux, SQL, and Security Information and Event Management tools. Learners will also come to identify common risks, threats, and vulnerabilities and the techniques to mitigate them.
Upon completion, learners will be prepared for the CompTIA Security+ exam, an industry-leading certification for cybersecurity roles, and earn a dual credential.
Google is also working with Canada Learning Code and ComIT to offer scholarships to their network and provide learners with facilitated workshops, course guidance, and professional coaching, ensuring that those with an interest in cybersecurity can put it into action.
“We are very excited to support the launch of their newest program in the Google Career Certificates suite, Cybersecurity,” stated Charlotte Nurse, Director of Design and Training for Canada Learning Code. “With cybersecurity skills landing in the top ten skills to possess in tech by 2030, a path to a career in cybersecurity education is critical to help empower Canadians and to help fill high-demand roles.”
“This Google Career certificate comes at a critical time, as people and organizations continue to be exposed to increasing digital threats,” adds Pablo Listingart, Executive Director of ComIT. “We’re thrilled to be able to provide our community with scholarships for the course.”
Google stated that it is working with two dozen employers on a “consortium of companies that consider graduates for relevant open roles” for a program they call Talent Match.
“The consortium includes companies like Unilever, MNP, DataFinery, Helcim and Mosaic who are committed to considering hiring our future cybersecurity graduates,” Google says. “This program helps with interview prep and job placement assistance to improve the pipeline of non-traditional talent and remove barriers to employment.”
The Cybersecurity Certificate is part of Google’s broader commitment to developing the cyber workforce. The company’s Career Certificates program provides job seekers with paths to careers in data analytics, IT support, project management, and digital marketing and e-commerce.
Over 19,000 people have graduated from the Google Career Certificate program in Canada, with 76% of Canadian graduates reporting a positive career impact, such as a new job, higher pay, or promotion within six months of completion.
“Our goal is to empower the future cyber workforce by sharing our expertise, expanding pathways, forming strong partnerships with industry partners to drive solutions at scale,” stated Sam Sebastian, Vice President of Google Cloud Canada. “We look forward to working with the industry to create a robust, more inclusive cyber workforce with the expertise to navigate the evolving cyber landscape and build a safer world for everyone.”