Cybersecurity Instructor, Lighthouse Labs
You don’t need an IT degree with years of experience to enter cybersecurity. Lighthouse Labs offers an accelerated learning option.
Cybersecurity is a pressing issue affecting every industry and how we run our lives. “The vast majority of communications we engage in nowadays touches on some sort of electronic communication system, so security necessarily has to be top of mind, not just for people who work in the security industry but for everybody,” says Laura Franks, a cybersecurity instructor at Lighthouse Labs.
The good news is that there are plenty of career opportunities in this booming sector, and you don’t need an IT degree, deep expert knowledge, and years of experience to take advantage of them. Lighthouse Labs, founded in 2013 by a team of software developers with a passion for coding, mentorship, and education, offers a modern, immersive approach to tech education that can be completed in a short time and open doors to a new and exciting career.
Filling talent gaps with accelerated boot camp program
In response to increasing demand from industry, Canadians, and the widening talent gap, Lighthouse Labs has launched a new program focused on cybersecurity called the Cyber Security Bootcamp.
“Right now, there’s a shortage of people with a working knowledge of cybersecurity at the level the industry requires when it comes to jobs or positions where security is part and parcel of the tasks that they’re responsible for,” says Franks. “These are not dedicated IT security positions but ones where the ability to identify and resolve certain cybersecurity threats is an important part of their job,” she says.
The recent pandemic, which completely overhauled the way we work, has increased the complexity of the cybersecurity environment and the need for good cybersecurity-minded approaches to handling information. “More people are working from home or remotely, and when it comes to accessing electronic communication methodologies and using technology to create, store, and pass information, one of the things we have not yet had an opportunity to do is embed basic good security-minded approaches in people,” she says.
The Lighthouse Labs Cyber Security Bootcamp aims to fill this gap and is specifically intended to introduce learners to the tools and skills needed to identify and respond to abnormal events on our communications pathways and networks. “We’re introducing them at an entry-level to be able to understand what’s occurring with the systems and how to identify and respond when something isn’t right,” says Franks. In addition to being valuable professional training, the course can also be beneficial on a personal basis. “It’s great to have a basic understanding of security and how to take a security-minded approach to the information you handle in your everyday life,” says Franks.
Cybersecurity boot camp program an option for all learners
The Lighthouse Labs Cyber Security Bootcamp is a full-time, 12-week course designed to teach the fundamentals of network and application security. It’s accessible to anyone — regardless of skill level or prior experience — including beginners with no prior computing experience but who are comfortable working online; hobbyists/IT individuals who consider themselves tech junkies and have a love and interest for all things digital; and protectors and defenders who have the drive and desire to protect and defend the digital world from attackers.
Common elements uniting these three learner categories are:
- Understanding of the threats facing critical infrastructures, consumers, businesses, and stakeholders of the digital economy
- Passion for learning new skills
- Eagerness to start a cybersecurity career
Intensive and immersive, this cybersecurity boot camp takes a hybrid, virtual approach — mixing live online classrooms and self-guided learning. Following an introductory self-study prep, students dive into modules on server administration, network security, threat modelling and analysis, incident response, and more. Students learn to recognize, intercept, and block malicious actors from infiltrating an organization’s secure networks.
A strong mentoring program with industry security professionals ensures that students have access to mentors 10 hours a day, five days a week, to answer questions or get assistance. Students are awarded an Ontario-recognized diploma upon completing their final examination and team study assessments.
Lighthouse Labs also works to connect graduates with potential employers to help them break into the security industry, which boasts the lowest unemployment rates in the country and across the globe. Given the demand is expected to grow, graduates from the Cyber Security Bootcamp program are well-positioned for a secure, well-paying and exciting career path.
Helping Canadians go further in their careers
What are some potential entry-level opportunities that graduates of the Cyber Security Bootcamp program can expect to find?
“It depends on exactly which position they want to enter, but it commonly would be something like junior or Level 1 security operations centre (SOC) analyst or cybersecurity analyst for an organization,” says Franks. “From there, they can start to build the experience they need to be able to move up the ladder in the security industry.”
Franks has this to say to people who feel they lack the talent for an IT career: “It’s not about having a talent for IT. It’s about having an interest in exploring, problem-solving, working with puzzles, and discovering new things. These are the types of skills that you will be using in the industry, and these are the skills we teach.”
Through accelerating learning opportunities like these, Lighthouse Labs is helping graduates achieve their ambitious career goals and filling the cybersecurity talent gaps in the Canadian workforce. Since 2013, Lighthouse Labs has graduated over 4,000 students and maintains over 96 per cent employment rates for its job-seeking alumni. Lighthouse Labs continues to develop its curricula and find the best ways to transform how tech education is delivered.