Cybersecurity training — the contrasts

I think there must be wide agreement that skills in the cybersecurity domain are highly valuable in the 21st century, but also in extremely short supply.

It’s interesting to compare the number of graduate-level programs focused on cybersecurity in the U.S. and in Canada. A quick search in the U.S. finds that more than 30 colleges (probably a lot more) offer at least a Master’s degree specialising in cybersecurity. There are also at least a handful in the U.K..

The identical search in Canada finds exactly zero such programs (there is one, but it’s not open to civilians). In fact, there are almost no graduate programs in Canada that offer even a single course in cybersecurity.

Country                    Population                Number of programs

U.S.                        319,000,000                      30+

Canada                     30,000,000                        0

U.K.                         64,000,000                        6+

Australia                   23,000,000                       3+

New Zealand              4,000,000                        2+

Part of the problem is structural. The Canadian federal government has the greatest interest in a well-trained cybersecurity pool (to supply the Communications Security Establishment Canada and to provide a path to hardening infrastructure, finance, and high-tech businesses). But Canadian universities are provincially funded, and the provinces don’t have much interest in cybersecurity.

The differences between the U.S. and Canada are stark, and make it clear that Canada is going to have a hard time pulling its weight in the Five Eyes collaboration. And it’s a difficult problem to solve because of the need to bootstrap: there aren’t enough faculty to teach and do research in cybersecurity, because there aren’t enough opportunities to learn how to.

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