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With global spending on cybersecurity products and services surging — exceeding $1 trillion cumulatively over the five-year period from 2017 to 2021, as predicted by Cybersecurity Ventures — so too will the opportunities for employment in this exciting field.
As new technologies emerge — notably cloud, IoT and AI — and are integrated into business practices, new doors are opened to potential attack. Compounding this, the means of attack are constantly changing and more accessible than ever: a bad actor can simply purchase a toolkit on the dark web and wreak havoc.
Unfortunately, less than 50% of organizations surveyed in the recent FireEye Cyber Trendscape Report feel they are prepared for a cyberattack. To one degree or another, most of the surveyed companies are investing in cybersecurity employee training programs, but many describe their training efforts as either “semi-formal” or “informal,” reports ZDNet.
In response to this growing need for well trained cybersecurity professionals, Bow Valley College has launched their Cybersecurity Post-Diploma Certificate, created to prepare learners to design and implement secure computation solutions.
The curriculum took its shape after consulting with industry in the Alberta region, where one message became very clear: there is a need for skilled cybersecurity professionals across the board.
“We’re meeting the needs of what we’ve heard from industry — a lot of what we’ve heard is that there’s nobody to actually teach this,” says Jeff Clemens, program chair for the college’s School of Creative Technologies and who was part of the design team for the curriculum. “We’ve also found that they can’t hire anybody, because there’s no one to actually work in the field. There’s a huge gap — that’s something we’ve heard over and over again.”
The rapidly changing nature of attacks has also been a challenge for many of they businesses the college consulted. Instilling strong problem solving skills in students will be one way the program creates work-ready graduates.
“Problem solving is probably the biggest thing in cybersecurity” says James Cairns, lead, IT security, at Bow Valley College. “You’re going to be coming up against problems that you or maybe nobody else in your organization have never seen before.There’s been exponential growth in not just the amount of attacks, but also in the types of attacks that are occurring.”
This rapid change is also one of the reasons Cairns finds his work so gratifying. “No two days will ever be the same,” he says. “You get to do something new every day. I don’t think I’ve had a week I’ve done the same thing every day since I’ve started working in this field.”
“There’s no opportunity to get bored.”
Register now for Bow Valley College’s Cybersecurity Post-Diploma Certificate.
58% of enterprises struggle to find talent with the right DevOps skills
One of the most common digital transformation topics is upskilling, and its importance to a successful DX journey.
Broadly speaking, a lack of internal expertise is hindering the journey for many organizations. According to a new report from the Cloud Industry Forum, four in ten respondents said their business does not have access to the necessary skill-sets in-house, rising to 51% among respondents from IT departments.
“There’s no digital transformation without a staff transformation,” explains information security and business technology writer George V. Hulme in DevOps.com. “The people skills that helped bring successful enterprises to where they are today won’t be the skills that will make them successful tomorrow.”
Fortunately, he says, organizational leadership is largely well aware of how important it is to close the gap between skills employees have now, and those they’ll need to help guide the enterprise into the future.
The DevOps Institute has released its Upskilling 2020: Enterprise DevOps Skills Report, based on 1,300 respondents. A major takeaway? “More than 50% of enterprises find challenges with all aspects associated with managing the people, processes and technologies that make DevOps possible,” Hulme explains.
The report also found that 58% of enterprises have difficulties actually finding those with the right DevOps skills, and 48% said it’s difficult to retain skilled DevOps professionals. As a result, salaries are on the rise, with salaries for experienced DevOps engineers reaching beyond $179,250 USD, according to the Robert Half Technology 2020 Salary Guide.
Additional top takeaways from the research include:
- The top three must-have skill categories in 2020 are process skills and knowledge (69% of respondents), automation skills (67% of respondents), and human skills (61% of respondents)
- Upskilling requires the attention of business leaders now. Over 38% of respondents’ organizations have no upskilling program, 21% are currently working on one, and 7% don’t even know if their organization has an upskilling program.
- Agile adoption (81%), DevOps adoption (75%) and ITIL adoption (25%) have grown since the 2019 benchmark report, while SRE has risen from 10% adoption in 2019 to 15% in 2020.
“Human transformation is the single most critical success factor to enable DevOps practices and patterns for enterprise IT organizations,” said Jayne Groll, CEO of DevOps Institute in the accompanying press release.
“Traditional upskilling and talent development approaches won’t be enough for enterprises to remain competitive because the increasing demand for IT professionals with core human skills is escalating to a point that business leaders have not yet seen in their lifetime. We must update our humans through new skill sets as often, and with the same focus, as our technology.”
The role of project management in digital transformation
Digital transformation is changing not just how organizations engage with customers, but it’s having a profound effect on every aspect of operations.
It’s not hard to imagine such a deep impact when, according to IDC, direct digital transformation investment spending will approach $7.4 trillion between 2020 and 2023.
One area of business where organizations will see change? Project management.
For TechRadar, tech and business journalist Jay T. Ripton put together a great list of five ways DX is changing the role of project management:
1) Asynchronous communication
Communication is a key component of the modern digital approach. Yesterday’s meetings and emails have morphed into today’s collaboration tools like Slack, Chanty, Hive, Google Hangouts, and Cisco Spark. As a result, team communication is quicke, on-the-go, and in real-time.
2) Hands-off management
With the aforementioned changes in the very ways we communicate with colleagues, combined with agile project management, we’re in a “new era of self-guided, self-organizing” project management.
One example outlined is at French company Digicoop.io, who developed work management platform Kantree. They transitioned the role of project managers to be more akin to facilitators.
“We chose not to have managers, but coordinators who make sure that what we decide together gets done,” explained the company recently. “It’s not a full-time role, rather a temporary assignment. The coordinator takes on projects that are ‘up their alley’ and correspond to their skills, so that we can collectively tap into each person’s strength.”
3) Focus on results
Thanks to a new generation of project management tools born out of the digital age, everything from tracking deliverables to setting goals to time management has become easier, and to a degree, more automated.
Digital transformation is allowing project managers to take a step back and look at the bigger picture thinking and strategic planning. Basically, PMs can do more with less.
4) Analytics at the forefront
Digital workflows have made it simple to track and quantify almost every task assigned to teams. This means more data, and, of course, better streamlining and tracking.
With artificial and business intelligence integrated into software, project managers can get creative with this data, finding new ways to meet KPIs.
5) The agile workforce
Digital project management tools strike again. These, alongside videoconferencing and the resulting shift of work expectations have meant a dramatic increase in remote work.
Once looked down upon, digital tools have made remote work thrive — and limited only by company culture. “The role of the project manager has shifted more toward being a ‘mother hen,’” Ripton explains, “and less about hard-nosed deliverables and managing employees.”
Sure, project managers at digitally-native companies have already witnessed these trends and changes — or they have been ingrained from the start. But for organizations currently undergoing digital transformation, it’s a unique change for an essential role.
Calgary’s STEM foundation crucial to driving Alberta’s economy forward
Alberta companies are expected to spend as much as $18.4 billion on digital transformation by 2022 across all sectors, and talent is the most sought after component of Calgary’s economic strategy.
Despite challenges in Alberta’s energy sector, its foundation of technical expertise and workers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) will be an asset.
“I’m confident in saying that we have one of the strongest STEM-technical workforces in North America,” says Jeanette Sutherland, director of EDGE UP/ Workforce & Productivity at Calgary Economic Development. “Many of the in-demand skills shifted to more of a demand for digital competencies to adapt to the needs of the new economy,” she explains.
According to CED, high-tech employment grew by 60 percent in Calgary between 2012 and 2017, and it isn’t stopping anytime soon. The greatest opportunity for job growth is in roles supporting digital transformation in a variety of sectors — including energy, says Sutherland.
Now more than ever, we need to tell our story. Calgary is a city with a proud heritage and a limitless future. #yycenergy #bepartoftheenergy #teamcalgary #outlook2020 #yyctech #livetechlovelife https://t.co/sYZB7zZDgo
— Calgary Economic Dev (@calgaryeconomic) October 16, 2019
Over the past four years, the city has seen a development of “emerging clusters” from blockchain, fintech, agritech, automation, autonomous systems, AR/VR, digital media and animation, clean technologies, biotech, advanced manufacturing and robotics, AI and machine learning, life sciences, and health technologies.
This growth has led to a demand in roles ranging from software developers and data analysts, to IT project managers, cyber security professionals and UI/UX designers.
“It appears that industry is relying on more skilled data analysts and data scientists to support a data-driven economy,” says Sutherland. “Big-data jobs are found across all sectors, from health care to finance, to trade, AI and machine learning.”
A strong, STEM-skilled workforce means that for in-demand positions, minimal reskilling is needed — think short training programs — to transition to open opportunities.
Bonus? According to Sutherland, the amount of high-tech training completions in Calgary has grown by almost 300 percent in the past two years. Various local training programs can help individuals reskill for these new in-demand digital positions.
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