Giving Calgary’s youth the upper hand during Cyber ​​Security Awareness Month

For Stefan Herbst, the idea of ​​lifelong learning begins with the realization that the answers to difficult questions are there to be found – you just have to get your hands dirty.

“It’s okay to fail, it’s okay to get your hands dirty and look for answers because they are there. It’s part of the opportunity,” Herbst shares. “Don’t be afraid to jump into something even if you don’t feel fully equipped. You have to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

skills to build

This idea of ​​continuous learning has motivated Herbst throughout his career. After working for five years in the audio engineering industry, Herbst wanted to broaden his technical skills and explored SAIT’s Network Engineering Technology program. During a visit to campus, he was immediately gripped by the hands-on experience he saw students having in labs and classrooms.

“I walked into a noisy room that had a bunch of computers in it, and everyone was sitting there behind keyboards typing, and I thought, ‘They’re really getting into it and really touching this stuff. ! ‘” he recalled.

Looking back on his time at SAIT, Herbst says a crucial part of his upbringing was the skills he learned as a student. He learned how to problem solve, navigate and understand new technologies, which helped him launch a new career in cybersecurity.

“When I left SAIT and got a job, I immediately went back to learning a second language, so to speak, about the specifics of technology,” he shares. “But I felt like I knew how to do this. I knew how to find answers to questions because there is no shortage of ways to get those ways.

After several years working in systems implementation and then in open consulting, Herbst co-founded Advantus360 in 2015, a company that sets the standard of excellence in sustainable solutions for organizations seeking clarity on the good next step for their cyber security peace of mind.

Cybersecurity has become a public concern in recent years, especially with the shift to digital technology during the pandemic. Herbst believes there needs to be an ongoing dialogue about cybersecurity and an understanding of how pervasive and rapidly changing potential threats are.

“All of these issues are happening without a lot of organizations noticing,” he says. “We need to catch up a bit and understand as a community all the interconnectedness and explosive growth. I think it’s more important than ever to bring this conversation to the table to make it inclusive. I believe it is a misconception to think that technical problems only require a technical solution.

Larger conversations

As part of this larger conversation, SAIT is once again participating in Cyber ​​Security Awareness Month in October, an internationally recognized campaign to help people learn more about the importance of cyber security. Through SAIT’s Digital Youth Programs, part of SAIT’s Youth Initiatives and in collaboration with the School for Advanced Digital Technology, Calgary middle and high school students will have the chance to participate in several cybersecurity-focused initiatives. For the young. An example, Cybersecurity: the art of the possibleexplores the fundamentals of cybersecurity and allows students to participate in hands-on activities that test their digital footprint, explore encryption and decryption, and more.

When the opportunity to sponsor Cyber ​​Security Awareness Month came up, Herbst knew Advantus360 wanted to get involved.

“It was a win-win. We love having the opportunity to share our story, especially with an audience that might be interested because they might have questions about these topics,” he says.

As a father of two young children, Herbst also has a personal connection to the need to raise awareness about cybersecurity among young people. He also appreciates the hands-on approach offered by digital programs for young people, such as his experience during his own SAIT training.

Stefan Herbst and his family.
Herbst with his wife and sons who inspire a personal connection to promote cybersecurity awareness among young people.

“We all have different learning styles, but I think most people like to learn by doing,” he says. “The kids are no different, and the initiatives are hands-on, workshop-based, and that’s great.”

What he hopes students take away from Cyber ​​Security Awareness Month is the same awareness and inspiration he feels to find answers and try new ideas.

“To see them leave feeling empowered to find answers to their own questions and discover for themselves is exciting.”

Cyber ​​Security Awareness Month

SAIT Digital Youth Programs, School of Advanced Digital Technology and Advantus360 are excited to offer the following workshops and programs for Cybersecurity Awareness Month:

  • The Art of the Possible:
    • Designed for students in grades 6-10, this 90-minute workshop will explore the security measures in place to protect our privacy and information in our increasingly interconnected society. Students will create and use digital signatures to send encrypted messages over the Internet that only they can decrypt.

  • Future discussions with Advantus360 and with SAIT instructors.
    • Digital Youth: Future Talks is a 30-45 minute live lecture series where students connect with industry leaders while sharing their personal stories, life experiences, and career paths that got them there. where they are today.
    • Designed for students in grades 10-12, this Cybersecurity Month special will connect cybersecurity experts from Advantus360 and SAIT with students to create a forum to discover and demystify the careers of the digital future. .

For more information and how to register, visit SAIT Youth Programs.

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