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Why Now is the Perfect Time to Study Cyber Security


28 August 2020

In the wake of Australia's largest cyberattack and the increase in government defence spending, there has never been a better time to study in cyber security.

Just last month, a cyberattack on Australian government networks sent shockwaves through the country. Without playing the blame game, Prime Minister Scott Morrison pointed to a “sophisticated state-based cyber actor”.

Meanwhile, cyber experts like Jo Stewart-Rattray of BRM Advisory said the breach was “probably Australia’s biggest cyberattack”.

COVID-19 increases cyber risk

In the COVID-19 economy, data and privacy risks are rising. New research by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) reveals that there have been more cyberattacks since COVID-19.

The study showed that 89 per cent of IT experts believe COVID-19 has increased the risk of cyberattacks to businesses.

An equal percentage of IT experts believe the increased risk has resulted from the shift towards more remote work.

In this COVID-19 economy, it’s clear that cyber security is more important than ever.

Ramping up cyber security

In response to the increasing risks, the government has announced its largest investment into cyber security – $1.35 billion to enhance the nation’s security over the next decade.

The cash will go towards understanding and preventing malicious cyber activity. Part of the money will be used to hire more experts in cyber security jobs and train upcoming generations of cyber security specialists.

But federal government is not the only one boosting its response to cyber warfare. An advisory set up by Telstra chief Andrew Penn recently called for more private sector investment into cyber security.

“With so much at stake, robust and effective cyber security has never been more important to a safer, more prosperous Australia,” said Andrew Penn.

Jobs in cyber security

With pre-COVID-19 data reflecting solid growth to technology, computer and cyber security industries, job opportunities are set to kick off in a post-COVID-19 economy.

Internationally, the Harvard Business Review predicts there will be 1.5 million jobs in cyber security waiting to be filled by the end of 2020.

Not only are cyber security jobs needed for defence purposes, they’re also expected to help the economy out of its COVID-19 slump.

That’s why the Victorian Government is pouring funds into cyber security training that could help the COVID-19 recovery.

The funding is part of Premier Daniel Andrews’ Free TAFE program. It offers zero-cost courses in essential recovery industries like technology, health and construction. As of June 2020, 10,000 more places had been added.

Studying cyber security

Among the TAFE’s cyber security qualifications, Box Hill Institute developed its world-class cyber courses with an eye to getting students job-ready.

Jo Cave, Head of Cyber, Management & IT, said the hands-on experience is instrumental in getting students job-ready.

David Brooks, one of the senior trainers, said that Box Hill Institute works with major players like the Big Four banks and government agencies to help students transition from school to jobs.

“One of the questions we get asked a lot is, ‘What work is there for me when I finish?’” said Mr Brooks.

“In the last two years we’ve had people placed at large banks, insurance companies and various other companies that have come to us looking for cyber students to place in their security operation centres or other areas like governance or policy.”

Box Hill Institute boasts cutting-edge training rooms and equipment that simulate real cyberattacks. Students team up to launch and block cyberattacks within a controlled learning environment.

Jo said, “The feedback that we’ve had from students who have done internships or gained employment in the cyber industry is that the time they had in our training has been so beneficial with relating to what they do in the workplace.”

Is a cyber security career right for you?

If you have a genuine passion for cyber, you could turn your interest into a rewarding career in learning more about cyber security.

Jo also cites analytical skills, willingness to learn, and attention to detail as key traits of an ideal candidate.

As a cyber security professional, your day-to-day would involve setting up and maintaining security systems, detecting breaches and conducting tests.

Nearly every company needs tech experts to keep its systems up and running. Cyber security jobs will abound in the future, making this an ideal time to launch your cyber security career.