Staff Profile: Jason Horsman
Are you considering a career in technology but aren’t sure where to start or which path is right for you?
We sat down with CyberSecurity Analyst instructor, Jason Horsman to talk about the technology programs offered at Willis College, the kinds of job opportunities available in this field, and the demand for cybersecurity professionals.
Hi, Jason! Thanks for chatting with us today. You’ve been an instructor for the CyberSecurity Analyst program for some time now. Can you explain what folks who may be interested in pursuing this career could expect from this program?
Jason Horsman: Yes of course. I think that the Cybersecurity Analyst program can be best described as an immersive, sequential learning to take you from ground level to very high level, advanced level administrative perspective of what is required to be the person in charge to ensure cybersecurity for your organization. Whether it’s medium-sized, all the way up to a Fortune 500 company.
You’ll learn how the hardware works, you’ll learn the software, and then you’ll have an understanding as to how data is stored, retrieved, how data is corrupted, and therefore, how you can protect a company’s data, and therefore, protect its profit margins and its employees’ identities. So you’re looking after both the company and the employees.
Great! And what kind of opportunities are available to CyberSecurity Analyst graduates?
If you have an interest in protecting the country and performing work within the military within the Department of Defense, the CyberSecurity Analyst program will put you on a direct path to be able to pursue that. Additionally, if you’re looking to do fine work within the provincial or the federal government levels, the training that you receie will set you up to succeed and to have a wonderful opportunity to acquire the certifications needed to attain that employment within the government.
If you’re looking for something within the public or within the private sector, the opportunities are unlimited – whether it’s entrepreneurial or whether you seek a position in-house within a large corporation looking after their network administrative work. The work, again, can go anywhere from being proactive in doing the cybersecurity work itself to prevent unwanted intruders from coming into your company’s network, all the way to doing more on the analytical side and almost a consulting role in providing a best practice or strategies for your clients to take to protect their data and their client’s data.
What does the job market look like in this industry? Do you have any success stories?
Everyone has the need for these skills. Anyone who is conducting business, closing sales, storing data, or communicating with customers using any sort of computer or network technology has a massive need for someone to come in and also protect the integrity of those communications and also help enhance and guide future business decisions using that technology.
You’ll also have the skills to work for some of the largest companies in Canada. We have graduates from this program, classmates of mine, that are now doing cybersecurity for Fortinet, the largest firewall company in Canada, and cybersecurity for the Bank of Canada, one of the largest banking firms within our country. We have folks that have started their own businesses with it where they’re approaching nonprofit groups within their market and they’ll work with about a dozen of them and do the consulting work for their cybersecurity needs. It’s essentially a choose your own adventure. You can fill in the conclusion as you like, and there’s so many opportunities that will open themselves up for you with this education.
Why should someone choose Willis College when deciding where to take CyberSecurity?
What really sticks out to me about the technology programs at Willis College is how well they can take abstract concepts and information and break it down into manageable components that allow you to master the required skills on a daily basis and then keep building on itself. So by the end of the program, you are able to provide very advanced, high-level expertise on a subject that you may have had very little, if any, experience going into it. That’s the true component of the education. With Willis College, it’s immersive, it’s hands-on, you’re working with virtual labs that are created by some of the largest partners in the industry. So the work is relevant, the work is self-guided, and the work is applicable in the sense that every student doing is creating a very robust job portfolio for themselves.
One of the questions we get asked a lot is what about the other technology programs offered at Willis College? Why would I choose one over the other?
If you’re interested in pursuing an administrative role in a long-term position where that you would be overseeing strategies for your clients or for the company, the CSA program would be a wonderful choice. It has a direct appeal to someone that is interested in running their own business or being a decision-maker and running a department for a larger corporation or consulting for them. CyberSecurity Analysts provide those proactive strategies in terms of how to respond to the legalities around cybersecurity. So if you want to lead those boardroom meetings one day, the Cybersecurity Analyst program is a wonderful tool to get you there.
Now, we have a lot of folks who are very passionate about wanting to do the work hands-on, and to develop those technical skills themselves, and the Cybersecurity Operator program is an excellent fit for that. It allows you to be in an immersive environment where you are the one responsible for problem-solving and using the technology and the tools in a hands-on way to come up with those solutions. The Help Desk program is ideal for people who are focused on being the direct problem-solver for clients. It’s a shorter program than the other two. So if your interest is to enter the workplace as soon as possible and apply these skills and to find successful employment, it’s wonderful. In addition to that, we offer practicum placements with the Help Desk. There’s a lot of supports along the way for it, and you have a chance to connect with employers prior to leaving the program so that you have a very concrete understanding of the employment opportunities that exist for you.
Will students be able to obtain certification in this industry?
That’s one of the biggest questions that we get from prospective students. The programs at Willis College will thoroughly prepare you to write these certification exams, which you can do while you’re at Willis or upon graduation from Willis. I can’t think of a better industry prep than the diploma in any of these three fields in the technology faculty at Willis College. You will truly be exposed to a little bit of everything so that you have the strongest possible foundation in information technology and cybersecurity. You will have seen at least a little bit of everything. This will prepare you for the certificates, this will prepare you incredibly well for practicums, and for securing gainful employment.
The virtual labs are created by some of the largest technology leaders in North America, like Amazon, Microsoft, and Cisco. So you’ll leave Willis College understanding how to program routers and switches for whatever size company you’re aspiring to work for. You’ll be able to leave Willis College understanding how to ethically hack a client so that you can point out the vulnerabilities in the network, thereby saving them thousands, if not millions of dollars on an annual basis. That’s a powerful skill to have, that’s powerful knowledge to have, and that’s all done in a way that’s painless at Willis because they do a wonderful job of taking abstract concepts and breaking them down into incredibly manageable components that you can master on a daily basis.
We’ve had students come into our program who can’t even rename their laptops prior to day one of the course, who by the end of it, were able to perform digital forensics and identify network vulnerabilities and be able to protect computer networks from malicious actors. Every lab and every course is designed to prepare the students to not just gain employment, but to be a leader for their employer in the workplace, to give you a competitive advantage over other job seekers so that you don’t just have the high-level theory, but very much so the required and the desired hands-on expertise to actually implement all these solutions that you’d learn at Willis College.
Are you interested in upping your CyberSecurity skills?
Our CyberSecurity programs start SOON! If you want to take the next step in your career, please click here to learn more and to register!
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