CNA set to offer first applied degree this fall

Bachelor of Applied IT: Systems and Network Cybersecurity designed to meet industry needs

3/10/2022 1:11:55 PM

ST. JOHN’S, NL – College of the North Atlantic (CNA) is once again leading the way in post-secondary education opportunities available in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL).

Starting in September 2022, CNA’s School of Business and Information Technology (IT) will build on its existing two-year diploma offering in Computer Systems and Networking and give students the option to obtain a specialized applied degree over an additional two years – a first for CNA and among comparable colleges across Canada.

Liz Kidd, CNA President & CEO, says the college continues to demonstrate how progressive a post-secondary institution it is. With its leading-edge technological programs, CNA addresses the significant demand for graduates who will complete the new Bachelor of Applied Information Technology: Systems and Network Cybersecurity degree.

“Cybercrime is a global problem that continues to spread, and CNA is committed to working with its partners to find solutions,” she said. “We know the pandemic has created a lot of challenges for many operations, CNA included, given the accelerated move to digital and virtual technologies. With that we’ve seen concerns grow about cyberattacks and security, so to launch our first applied degree is very exciting. We are playing a vital role in supplying the local, national and international markets with much sought-after employees, and we are able to offer our graduates innovative career path choices. This is wonderful news and I congratulate our team for making it possible.”

Every day, private companies, government agencies, financial institutions and other sectors have little choice but to try to predict, identify, prevent, detect, respond, and recover from cybersecurity breaches, hackers and cyberterrorists. In order to achieve all this, however, employers require the services of highly educated and skilled cyber-professionals.

According to techNL information, it is estimated that NL’s technology sector is a $1.6 billion industry, with nearly 4,000 people directly employed. There are also more than 165 digital technology firms in NL, with 92 per cent planning to expand. Of that, 75 per cent plan to increase their workforce.

Stephen Warren, Dean of the School of Business and IT, says taking all of that into consideration, this four-year offering – open to domestic and international students – couldn’t have come at a better time. What also makes it unique is direct admission to the program’s third year will follow a competitive-entry process and applicants will need to meet certain criteria.

“This has been three years and a lot of research in the making,” he said. “We’ve met and talked with leading stakeholders across all sectors about their needs and concerns. We know they are excited to learn that, in addition to the highly skilled and technology-driven programs CNA’s already been delivering, we will also be addressing labour market shortages in this unique field with the applied degree. What sets an applied degree apart from a traditional degree is the hands-on experiential education these students will receive. We see this as breaking the glass ceiling for employees once they develop the necessary skillsets. The opportunities for advancement in their careers will be that much better with an applied degree.”

Cybercrime is projected to cost companies around the world an estimated $10.5 trillion by 2025. Warren says CNA has worked closely with its own team of faculty experts and industry partners to identify means of producing job-ready graduates. Labour market information shows that there are thousands of open cyber-related positions on job boards throughout the country.

techNL is one organization that has identified the increasing demand for specialized professionals for some time, especially given the challenges presented by the pandemic, cloud migration and the mass transition to digital and virtual ways of doing business.

“The need for skilled cybersecurity professionals is not limited to a specific sector or industry,” said Dan Brake, techNL Board Chair. “Every sector and industry has unique security challenges and priorities. The demand for trained cybersecurity professionals is growing as information exchange increases and the resulting data platforms, volume, and storage methods become more complex.”

Warren says CNA is also actively recruiting qualified instructors for this leading-edge program.

About the credential
There will be 25 spaces available for enrolment in the third year of the Bachelor of Applied Information Technology: Systems and Network Cybersecurity degree. Students who complete CNA’s Computer Systems and Networking and Computer Systems Engineering diploma programs are eligible to apply to Year 3 of the degree on a competitive-entry basis. Interested applicants with credentials external to CNA will need to complete a PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition) process as part of the eligibility. Delivery will be in person at Prince Philip Drive campus in St. John’s.

Possessing an applied degree means students will have both essential hands-on training (two 15-week work terms) and theory-based knowledge that will help secure protection from internal and external cyber-related attacks.

Graduates will be able to execute a wide variety of functions in the workplace aimed to assist employers on several fronts, such as short- and long-term IT strategies; analysis of the cybersecurity needs of an organization; design and implement policies and procedures for security incidents; using forensic software and tools; interpret security reports to educate the organization about existing and emerging risks; and, execute offensive and defensive technologies to protect a network infrastructure.

Graduates will also be positioned to pursue industry certifications, such as those from Cisco, EC-Council and the SANS Technology institute.

“We are excited to finally be able to move this forward,” Warren said. “We have received a tremendously positive response from the IT sector, and we expect enrolment will be highly competitive as a result.”

For information about the Bachelor of Applied Information Technology: Systems and Network Cybersecurity degree, visit:
Media contact:

Michelle Barry
Communications Manager
College of the North Atlantic