Meet our Skills for Hire Students of the Month!

Digital Nova Scotia’s Skills for Hire program is working to mold aspiring IT professionals into industry experts by providing ample resources and assistance on their career journeys. This month, one of our students of the month is Dan Falkenham, a seasoned professional with 20 years of experience working in IT. Dan began his career as a developer in Ottawa’s telecom industry and later at Thomson Reuters in Toronto. His most recent work has been in project management at Pink Triangle Press, where he introduced Agile methodologies to the organization. A participant in the Cyber Security Program, Dan plans to continue to make an impact in the industry as he decides his next steps in IT.

The Skills for Hire Cyber Security Program has helped strengthen Dan’s interest and familiarity in his area of work. 

“Even more fortunately, a lot of the material feels familiar to me, reinforcing earlier experiences supporting operations and systems administrators’ work to keep our platforms running as smoothly and securely as we could”. 

– Dan Falkenham

The highlight for Dan so far in the program has been the Architecture and Design module, as it lays the groundwork for other areas of InfoSec. Additionally, he finds the Operations and Incident Response Module has been extremely engaging. These modules have helped provide context when tackling the CompTIA module.

Dan’s interest in cybersecurity is strongly correlated with his enthusiasm for using discrete math concepts to solve real world challenges.

In his early career, Dan was encouraged to be mindful of security concerns when developing software. Information hiding, protection/encryption of sensitive data, and careful coding practices become ingrained habits, all to help minimize points of failure and the overall attack surface for the products he was involved with. Dan’s most recent role managing a team of developers gave him the opportunity to educate business stakeholders about the importance and risks involved in maintaining a security-conscious mindset. These experiences have guided Dan to help maximize his organization’s success. Dan foresees a future in the cyber security industry where he is able to support a positive work-life balance while thriving in a collaborative environment. 

If you’re interested in meeting or working with Dan Falkenham, we encourage you to connect with him on LinkedIn!

Stephanie Lewis, a successful Skills for Hire student, is from a rural community just outside of St. John’s, Newfoundland. After earning a Bachelor of Arts at Memorial University and a Master of Library and Information Science from Dalhousie University, Stephanie went on to gain 10 years experience as an analyst in the energy sector, giving her a solid background in safety and security. With hopes to get her PMP designation in the near future, it is clear that Stephanie continuously works hard towards her goals. 

“I truly believe in life-long learning and I am always up for a new challenge and I am never satisfied with the status quo.“

-Stephanie Lewis

With a background in safety and security, it’s no surprise that Stephanie was drawn to cyber security. With public services and companies migrating online, individuals must be aware of possible internet threats and comprehend the risks. When we spoke to Stephanie, she explained that her favourite course so far was the Skills for Hire “Cryptography: Big picture” course. With little to no knowledge on the subject prior to completing the course, Stephanie appreciated the informative content that inspired her to learn more and gain further experience.

“I really enjoy the ease and flexibility of the learning platform. I enjoy learning new things in general so with the optional content on top of the required content, I can always find something to keep me busy and interested.”

-Stephanie Lewis

Eager to use the skills that she has gained in this program and launch a career that will keep people safe and informed, Stephanie spoke passionately about her dream job, helping people stay safe while online. She recognizes that due to ever-changing technology, there will always be a demand for cyber security personnel. She aspires to help people by sharing her knowledge – another dream of hers to work in the RCMP. 

“I think the courses that Skill for Hires offers are an amazing opportunity for the people in NL and NS and will hopefully fill the in-demand technology sector needs in Atlantic Canada and continue the amazing reputation of our tech start-up companies.”

-Stephanie Lewis

Outside of her learning, Stephanie enjoys watching hockey (Go Leafs Go!), reading, playing trivia, and family time, her passion for travel leads her to discover hidden gems everywhere she goes.

If you’re interested in meeting or working with Stephanie, we encourage you to connect with her on LinkedIn!