BlackBerry Bootcamp boosts university applied computing with cybersecurity program

Canadian-based BlackBerry partnered with the University of Windsor to create a cybersecurity "camp" for students to matriculate online during the COVID-19 crisis.

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BlackBerry Bootcamp, a cybersecurity program, was introduced on Monday as part of the curriculum for the required network security course for the University of Windsor's graduate master's program in applied computing (MAC). The online program will "ensure students can continue their education during the COVID-19 health crisis," the announcement stated. Completion of the curriculum accounts for a portion of students' final grade. 

The remote-learning 10-week course begins on Monday, May 18. BlackBerry Bootcamp focuses on a range of cybersecurity topics including digital identity protection and privacy, software engineering, the latest techniques of cybercriminals, advanced threat detection technologies, among others.

The Ontario, Canada-based university "is pleased to partner with BlackBerry to provide learning opportunities for our students," said Rob Gordon, president at UWindsor. "This innovative remote learning collaboration will provide students a unique opportunity to develop crucial data science skills and expertise that will allow them to excel in an increasingly digital marketplace."

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"We're open to rolling out this specific program out to universities," said Neelam Sandhu, vice president of business operations and strategic accounts, office of the CEO at BlackBerry.

Sandhu cited BlackBerry's "historical relationship with the University of Windsor, which includes a co-op program. The university has a strong tech talent base that we are delighted to support through education and training, enabling readiness to enter the high-demand STEM workforce. Our partnership is particularly key at this time, when students have been transitioned to a remote learning model, and also as the market is seeing an increase in cyberthreats and risks and thus an increased need for cybersecurity talent."

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BlackBerry's Neelam Sandhu, vice president of business operations and strategic accounts, office of the CEO.

Image: BlackBerry

Right now, the MAC program is designed for 250 students, exclusively in the MAC department, but will open to up to 1,000 other UWindsor students. The MAC courses, including BlackBerry Boot Camp, "will be facilitated by BlackBerry executives who specialize in the topic areas," Sandhu said.

UWindsor's applied computing graduate program is described as a course-based, professional program that offers exposure to the various components of computer science, for a background in the foundation of computing and other related fields. In addition to computer science classes, the program also requires business courses. 

Applicants for UWindsor's MAC program must have a four-year bachelor degree in computer science or a closely related discipline; students must have maintained a minimum average of 70% or an average of 77% or better in the last three years of study. In other words, the program gives the benefit of the doubt for freshman year scores, not unlike a professor adjusting "the curve" by removing the lowest score from the average. The program is competitive and if a student has five or more grades below 70% in computer science courses has a significantly lower chance of being admitted to the program. Applicants with two or more backlogs (failures) in CS core courses will not be admitted. 

BlackBerry "works closely with other universities in Canada," said Sandhu, "in a variety of ways, including co-op as well as research programs.  We are open to expanding the program to cover additional skills areas in-line with BlackBerry's strategy and market penetration of connecting and protecting over half a billion IoT endpoints."

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