Jumpstarting students’ career paths in cybersecurity with CanHack digital badges
It’s not too late for high school students to register for CanHack 2021 and compete for up to $16,250 in prizes! Learn more here.
As the years pass in a student’s journey through education, they will tackle many great accomplishments: from academic achievements, participation in extracurriculars, competitions, volunteer and community work, involvement in student associations, and so on. Previously, certificates, diplomas, badges and trophies have typically represented tokens of these achievements.
Now, with the global workforce becoming increasingly digital, students need a new way to display these accomplishments. Furthermore, COVID-19 has forced education institutions to rapidly shift to online learning, meaning physical certificates often can’t be provided to add to student portfolios. How do these accomplishments get recognized?
There’s a better way for students to present these achievements: digital badging.
What is digital badging?
Simply put, digital badging, also known as digital credentials and micro credentials, is a validated online certification of a specific accomplishment or skill. Digital badging provides learners with a bite-sized approach to education, and focuses on the development of a specific skill. When a learner completes a new course or gains a new skill, they receive a digital badge as recognition for their achievement. Unlike physical certificates, badges are designed to be optimized for sharing on social media and professional networks like LinkedIn to help individuals find a job or earn an internal promotion. When an employer or recruiter sees that a potential job candidate has digital badges listed on their LinkedIn profile, it’s a quick and secure way for the employer to understand the certifications and skills the candidate has.
Digital badge benefits: The learner
It is clear that lifelong learning has become an imperative for young professionals to break into today’s rapidly changing workforce. Up-skilling and re-skilling allows professionals (of all ages) to remain relevant and up to speed on the latest trends. Digital badges helps learners:
- Become motivated to grow their careers by learning new skills outside of what they have been taught in school.
- Finesse their own personal brand image and improve their competitiveness in the job market by highlighting badges on social media platforms like LinkedIn.
- Showcase their soft skills and bridge any skills gap that may exist between academic achievements and job requirements.
- Demonstrate to future employers their eagerness and ability to acquire new skills.
CanHack introduces digital badging
At the DMZ, we believe it is crucial to empower Canada’s next generation of innovators and provide them with the necessary skill sets to thrive. As the skills gap in cybersecurity widens, we hope to promote cyber literacy while getting students excited about a potential career in the space. We will provide every participant a digital badge, marking their official participation in the third annual CanHack challenge (bragging rights included)! CanHack participants will be able to send a signal of great success to post secondary institutions and future employers, as CanHack’s digital badge will give them a competitive edge. All CanHack badges are endorsed by cybersecurity leaders, Carnegie Mellon University Cylab Security and Privacy Institute and RBC, helping students to stand out!
The DMZ at Toronto Metropolitan University, in partnership with the Royal Bank of Canada, have come together to launch CanHack – a cybersecurity student competition to promote cyber literacy and to also address digital skills gaps in the labour market. Participants will learn critical computer security skills, work with experts in the field and have an opportunity to win up to $16,250 in cash prizes for both themselves and the school they attend! CanHack leverages an online open-source computer security platform established by the Carnegie Mellon University Cylab Security & Privacy Institute called PicoCTF. This game-based learning experience creates an interactive and engaging experience where students are tasked with addressing cybersecurity challenges faced by Canadian financial institutions.
Want to learn more about the CanHack challenge and how you can participate? Check out our CanHack page for more information!