Open Colleges

Working in cyber security in Australia: industry insights from an expert

by admin
Posted: August 27, 2020

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Did you know that Australia is facing a Cyber Security skill shortage? AustCyber predicts a need for approximately 17,000 Cyber Security jobs in 2026.


For some insider knowledge, we spoke to Ashwin Ram, a Cyber Security industry expert with more than 10 years’ experience. Ashwin is currently a Cyber Security Evangelist for Check Point, a multinational IT security software company. 

Here are some excerpts from our interview:

What are your thoughts on the Cyber Security skills shortage gap in Australia?

“Australia is dealing with a chronic skills shortage in cybersecurity and a lack of skilled defenders. To help close the gap, the government recently announced a $1.35bn investment into cybersecurity over the next 10 years which is promising for our industry but organisations must also act now to secure talent or risk being left behind.“

Why is Cyber Security a good field to start a career in?

“A career in cybersecurity is worth considering because it is a critical role across all sectors, no matter how large or small the company is, any business or individual with an online presence is susceptible to cyber-attacks.“

Not to mention the job opportunities and the fact that Cyber Security is one of the few industries with 0% unemployment globally.

“Solving the cybersecurity skills shortage has been challenging as we often find it difficult to find talent with the right skill sets.” Ashwin points out. Here’s your chance!

How can you start your career in Cyber Security?

Ashwin says “My tip for anyone looking at a cybersecurity career is to start in technical support, it helps to apply practical elements.  Not only will you learn to troubleshoot problems logically, but you will also learn how to break down complex issues into smaller pieces in real-time. 

Once you’ve got a couple of years under the belt as a support engineer, you can look at becoming a specialist or explore broader paths within cybersecurity.”

A great way to qualify yourself for an entry-level Cyber Security role such as technical support is to educate yourself and get qualified with a certification such as the Certified Cyber Security Professional online course. 

Upon graduation of the course, you will be qualified in:

  • CompTIA A+, which is the qualifying credential for technical support and IT operational roles;
  • CompTIA Network+, which helps develop a career in IT infrastructure; and;
  • CompTIA Security+, which is a global certification of baseline IT security skills.

What are some personal traits of great Cyber Security specialists?

“Cybersecurity can be an amazing field for individuals who are agile, inquisitive and persistent.” The cybersecurity landscape evolves rapidly and continuously. Cybercriminals are always thinking of new ways to carry out their attacks, so to ensure they are able to prevent such attacks, cybersecurity specialists are always updating and developing their skills.”

There’ll always be something new to learn in Cyber Security, and you may have to adapt very quickly. And, how cool does catching cybercriminals sound?

How common are cyber attacks in Australia?

“Cyber attacks are more common and harmful than ever before with Australian organisations targeted on average 1,025 times every month. We’ve also seen firsthand, how recent cyber attacks have impacted local businesses and the Australian government.”

How can Australian organisations protect themselves and their consumers’ data?

Open Colleges recently conducted a survey that found that two-thirds of Australians did not trust any companies and organisations in any industries with their personal data. We asked Ashwin what he suggests companies can do to increase their protection and regain trust from their users.

Focus on prevention and not detection

“When it comes to protecting their IT infrastructure and data, the key mistake organisations usually make is not prioritising threat prevention. 

Most companies primarily focus on detection tools and deploy security tools that are outdated. When placing security controls in ‘detection’ mode, it is crucial to ensure it has automatic remediation capabilities. 

Manually responding to threats is ineffective. The cyber threat landscape is always evolving so you want to make sure your security tools are up to date to defend against today’s threat landscape.”

Secure everything & consolidate

“Businesses often have security gaps, it is important to secure all IT environments, including smartphones and IoT devices. Often, these are the weak points in an organisation’s cybersecurity strategy and make it an easy target for hackers. 

Organisations need to stop being the low hanging fruits for hackers, so getting the basics right – such as architecture and patching – from the outset will help prevent against potential threats. 

Additionally, some businesses have too many tools and not enough skilled drivers to understand how to use them, so it makes sense to consolidate security tools and use fewer vendors.”

Your future career in Cyber Security

Our Certified Cyber Security Professional Course, in partnership with the Australian Institute of ICT (AIICT), teaches you the skills that the Cyber Security industry needs right now. 

Upon completion of the course, you will graduate with three industry qualifications: CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, and CompTIA Security+.

Ashwin’s Bio

Ashwin Ram, Cyber Security Evangelist, Check Point

Ashwin Ram has over 10 years’ protecting enterprises against cyber threats. Ashwin is an expert in developing security architectures that focus on pre-emptive threat prevention across corporate networks, cloud and mobile devices to keep organisations safe from the most sophisticated attacks.


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