Canadian cybersecurity news and thought leadership


Timothy King - Inspiring the next gen into cybersecurity

I worked in IT for many years in the 1990s and early 2000s, and then took a turn into teaching. It took me many years to convince the academically fixated College of Teachers that my professional certifications and years in the field made me more than capable of teaching the subject. I finally got my computer technology teaching qualifications in 2013 and by 2016 our small-town school was the top IT & Networking program in Ontario. In 2017 I learned about a new student cybersecurity competition that ICTC was running called CyberTitan, so I convinced four of my seniors to give it a go with me. We learned as we went and, leaning on our strong IT foundations, ended up in the top five in Canada in that first year.

In 2019 Philippe at Cisco got in touch and asked if I'd like to try and become the first K12 teacher in Canada to earn the CCNA Cyber Operations Instructor qualification. I took the course that summer with Claude Roy at Centre FTI in Quebec and that fall earned my first technical certification in seventeen years.

That year my girls' team became the first all-female team to go to CyberTitan nationals. Since then I've have had at least one and often two teams in the national finals, including top female wildcards again in 2021 and 2022 and top defenders in 2021.

Seeing students from every year of this event matriculate out into post secondary and beyond the field of cybersecurity has been one of the most deeply rewarding aspects of my teaching career. I'm at a loss to understand why other teachers don't leap into these opportunities and give Canada a home grown solution to our cyber talent shortage. I'm sure everyone reading this would also enjoy a more cyberaware general population. Even the students who didn't go into cyber, carry that with them.

From 2018 on, I've got graduates exploring cybersecurity in post-secondary, post-graduate and military pathways. My CyberTitans can be found in Germany working on Siemens integrated systems security, in the US and Canada in both industry and government roles, and in the Canadian Navy.

My experience in cyber over the past six years has shown me two things:
1) you're never too old a dog to learn new tricks, and...
2) working through everyone else's ignorance and fear is the hardest part of teaching this subject, but it's also one of the most motivating! Cyberawareness is something we should be cultivating in everyone.

Tim King