July 5, 2021

Canada Computer Security – Keeping up to date & work/life balance

I’ve been considering a career change and a college (in Canada) offers a Computer Security program I am very interested in. Currently, I don’t have any formal knowledge with computers or I.T. as I’ve only taken an undergrad in the sciences (biology).

I’ve read that the field is changing and those working in it need to try and stay updated with the latest news and I was curious how many hours a day that may be? I ask because I do enjoy spending time outside of work not working or thinking about work. I am willing and interested in keeping up to date with the latest information, but I do get apprehensive thinking about spending most of my time outside of work researching and not spending time with my family.

I’m also curious of the work/life balance of those working in the field. I understand the field is very large and hours can vary for many. I have read some things that say work hours are long with overtime and on-calls while others have said that they can still work a standard M-F 9-5 schedule. If I’m being honest, I’d prefer to stay as close to a standard M-F 9-5 schedule as possible, but I understand in the beginning the hours may be a little off. As I have stated before, I do enjoy spending time with my family and would prefer to leave work at work and not bring it home.

I’d really appreciate any information you guys can provide me regarding work/life balance, hours worked, hours spend keeping up with the latest information, ability to leave work at work, etc.



>I’ve read that the field is changing and those working in it need to try and stay updated with the latest news and I was curious how many hours a day that may be?

This is true for pretty much any field, computer-related or not. And the amount of time spent is going to vary significantly between people and between roles. If a new and effective process came out for XYZ in your field of biology, I imagine you would try to stay up to date.

Any job that requires constant research as a requirement to perform your job duties should be paying you for that research time – as in, you do your research on the clock as part of the position. Anything above and beyond that is great for your personal growth, of course, but if a job required me to spend a few hours, unpaid, every day… I wouldn’t be working there long.

All that said, since I quite enjoy the field I spend probably 30 or so minutes browsing security-related news sources each day. When something catches my eye, it might be a few hours. Other days it’s none. Since it is all for my personal interest and benefit, I don’t really track the time.

As for work/life balance, this is heavily role (and seniority) dependent. If you’re going into incident response, you’ll need to be prepared to drop everything and, well… Respond to incidents. And incidents can happen at any time, day or night. If you are a compliance auditor, for example, you’ll have your schedule far in advance and it’s likely to be purely 9-5 (or equivalent). What specific role or field of cybersecurity are you interested in?

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