Home About SAIT News & Events Protecting our physical world through computer security

Protecting our physical world through computer security

September 24, 2018


Students study at tables while others pass-by inside the Thomas Riley atrium on SAIT campus.

When we think about computer hacking, we picture stolen identities and compromised credit cards — the impact on individuals who've had their digital presence violated.

But there are larger, more damaging outcomes of hacking, affecting entire industries and communities.

This is the world of control systems. Think water plants, traffic lights and oil wells.

Safety first

Courses focused on strengthening the security of industrial control systems are now in development for SAIT's new Cyber Security for Control Systems post-diploma certificate. Courses will be available starting this winter.

Karen Graham is the Academic Chair of Career Advancement and Continuing Education Programs for the School of Information and Communications Technologies at SAIT. She says no other training like this exists in Calgary, and industry is eager for their employees to stay ahead of potential security threats.

"The world of systems and data moves incredibly quickly," says Graham. "In fact, 98% of the world's data has been generated in the last two years. Staying current is essential to reducing threats from hackers."

Upgrade while still working — or fast track it

"The ten courses in this certificate will help IT and operations workers stay relevant and move into exciting new areas of career development," explains Graham. "We work with industry to know what skills employees need to have, and from there we develop strong programs that focus on hands-on learning and real-world outcomes."

Graham emphasizes the opportunities this type of career development can lead to. She calls it "upskilling" for workers who are already in the field, but who want to advance. "This can lead to career laddering for employees who want to specialize and stay ahead of the curve in tech advancements."

There are a couple of ways to take this program at SAIT. You can opt for evening courses and complete the certificate part-time in five semesters. Or, take the six-month fast-track program and complete the entire certificate as a full-time student in just half a year. This is a great option if you're not currently working full time, and you want to upgrade your skills and employability.

SAIT now an IBM Skills Academy

SAIT has recently become an IBM Skills Academy, one of only a handful of schools in Canada working with tech giant IBM to offer their curriculum.

"This is an excellent opportunity for SAIT, for students and for industry," says Graham. "IBM develops the curriculum based on the rapidly-changing tech world, and partners with post-secondary schools that can deliver the material and provide on-going support to students. This is a strong addition to our current industry-supported programs."

The Skills Academy will be up and running at SAIT this fall, and will offer seven topic areas including predictive analytics modelling and blockchain development (managing transactions safely and quickly - such as the use of bitcoin currency).

Keep yourself or your team current. Learn more about these and other exciting IT courses available at SAIT by contacting 403.284.8543 or ICT.info@sait.ca.

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