It’s predicted that by 2026, there will be a shortfall of around 18,000 jobs in Cybersecurity in Australia.¹
This, combined with the fact that cybercrime is costing the Australian economy in excess of $1 billion, means that Australian organisations are on the lookout for qualified Cybersecurity professionals who can help protect their business.
The demand for trained Cybersecurity experts continues to grow in Australia and around the world. But one of the things holding prospective employees back is a lack of training and the right kind of qualifications.
Studying a Cybersecurity qualification online
Obtaining an industry-recognised Cybersecurity qualification can help you secure a job; or, if you’re already working in IT, it can help open up doors that may have previously been closed to you.
Cybersecurity can be a challenging yet highly rewarding career path, especially for people who enjoy problem solving and giving their analytical thinking skills a good work out. It’s also a stable industry that will allow you plenty of movement throughout your career.
To get the facts on the importance of Cybersecurity training, we spoke to Ryan Ferris, an IT industry expert with 15 years’ experience.
Here are some excerpts from the interview :
How has the IT industry changed over the years?
Ryan Ferris is an Infrastructure Manager who is about to undertake further study to level up his Cybersecurity skills.
Ryan first started his career contracting for a Managed Service Provider across several Government contracts. Since then, he has worked in both the travel industry and the construction industry, while also working for himself.
“I’m a technology enthusiast, and I’ve been knee deep in IT ever since I set the time on the VCR as a child,” explains Ryan. “I built my first computer at 14 and the hobby evolved into a passion.”
However, even with years of experience, a number of nationally- and industry-recognised qualifications under his belt and a wide-ranging skillset, Ryan understands that the IT industry is constantly evolving, and the need to upskill comes with the territory.
“It’s no longer enough to have a security ‘guy’,” Ryan points out. “Once upon a time it was enough to have a good firewall protecting your perimeter to keep all the nasties out, but security is not linear anymore. There needs to be multiple overlapping layers of defences and sophisticated monitoring and detection systems to ensure that infections are caught early on.”
What skills do you need to work in Cybersecurity?
“Basic Cyber Security is explained with the CIA triad,” says Ryan (and no, he’s not talking about the American intelligence agency). “Confidentiality, making sure your information is protected and private; integrity, to make sure that the information you have hasn’t been deleted, tampered with or modified by unauthorised persons; and availability, to ensure you can access your information on demand which might come in the form of keeping a website or server online. Thinking in these terms will help frame threats and give you a base to build your security plan on.”
He also believes that one of the most important skills you can have working in Cybersecurity is the ability to think like a cybercriminal. “The best way to know how to defend is to learn how to attack. Monitoring is critical - if you can’t track activity a hacker could be in your systems and you otherwise wouldn’t know.”
But how do you begin to think like a black hat hacker? Penetration testing is one of the subjects covered in Open Colleges’ partnership course, Certified Cybersecurity Professional. You can also gain hands-on experience with the ‘Hack the Box’ activity, where you can compete with your classmates to test your skills.
There’s never been a better time to study Cybersecurity
The need for a strong and resilient network has always existed, but there are many reasons why Cybersecurity professionals are in such strong demand today.
“I think a lot of companies have realised that up until now they’ve just been lucky they haven’t been hacked, and not because they were well prepared or well protected,” argues Ryan. “Unfortunately, finding Solutions Architects and skilled IT operators that can safely navigate stretching a business into the Cloud and setting up systems to secure the communication isn’t easy. Through all of this, hackers are getting more sophisticated and more organised.”
What does the future of the IT industry look like?
“Just like there was a time when general computer skills were optional, I think Cybersecurity is another thing that people will be expected to understand,” reasons Ryan.
Ryan believes that it is imperative for people currently working in IT, or looking to begin a career in IT, to study Cybersecurity to help them find employment.
“With the shortage we’re experiencing it’s critical that more people get involved. And because it’s in such high demand, even entry level positions with a security specialisation have a higher earning starting position and higher potential than a generalist. Cybersecurity is something that will continue to grow so it’s as safe as a trade in terms of career options.”
Are you ready to start a career in Cybersecurity?
To begin a career in Cybersecurity, you need the right kind of skills and training.
Open Colleges has partnered with the Australian Institute of ICT (AIICT) to bring you the Certified Cybersecurity Professional course, which focuses on teaching you the skills and knowledge employees are looking for right now.
Once you pass your exams, you’ll graduate with three industry certifications: CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Security+.
Find out where a career in Cybersecurity could take you today.
Source: *1. Compare the Market. Twiggs, Hannah. 3 January, 2020. ‘Nearly 1 in 2 employees put organisations at risk of cyber attacks – medium-sized businesses worst offenders’. https://www.comparethemarket.com.au/news/nearly-1-in-2-employees-put-organisations-at-risk-of-cyber-attacks/