USC to offer new cybersecurity programs to combat skills shortage

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Professor David Lacey

To tackle a global shortage of cyber security professionals, the University of the Sunshine Coast is launching a suite of study programs to fast-track graduates into the industry.

From Semester 1, 2019, USC will offer four online courses: Graduate Certificates in Cyber Security, Cyber Investigations and Cyber Forensics and a Master of Cyber Investigations.

They will be delivered from the university’s new Institute for Cyber Investigations and Forensics.

The courses were designed and developed by a team of world-leading experts led by Professor of Cybersecurity David Lacey, who says USC is one of the first in the Asia-Pacific to offer such programs.

“We have created the content to be 100 percent online so people can enrol from around the world,” said Professor Lacey, who is the founder of identity and cyber support centre IDCARE.

“Globally, there is a gap between qualified candidates and the supply of jobs so there’s a high likelihood that cybersecurity graduates are going to be very employable from just about anywhere.”

Recent estimates have suggested that more than 1 million positions in cybersecurity are unfilled, with that figure expected to balloon to 6 million by 2020.

“It’s a rapidly growing and evolving industry and we have to continually adapt to keep up,” Professor Lacey said.

“The world keeps a lot of valuable data online – particularly banking and finance - and the online space is very attractive to criminals wanting to remain anonymous, and who are always trying new tactics.

“Part of the challenge for the tertiary sector is to maintain the currency of our knowledge so we have been very purposeful in selecting course coordinators who are already leaders and who have real-time case studies to work from.”
 
The industry links also create a pipeline between employers – from industry and government - eager to quickly fill skill shortages, and graduates ready to work
.
“Employers want graduates now, so we plan to fast-track recruitment and begin the lengthy process to gain security clearances for students while they are still studying so they can be work-ready much faster,” Professor Lacey said.

Qualifications in cyber security can lead to roles for security analysts, engineers, architects, administrators, software developers, cryptographers and more.

Graduates will find themselves preventing and investigating cybercrimes that do not stop at computer data – working with anything connected online, from fridges to baby monitors.

USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said the cybersecurity courses were well-timed for a region that had recently announced a Trans-Pacific internet data cable to its shores.

“The Sunshine Coast has a very vibrant cyber community with many tech innovations coming out of the Innovation Centre here at USC,” Professor Hill said.

“The cable, combined with our efforts here and in the growing local tech industry, will help place the region as an emerging cyber innovation hub for Australia but also around the world.”

The Master of Cyber Investigation program offers the opportunity for students to visit USC’s newly-established cyber forensics lab at the Sunshine Coast campus.

Information on the programs is available at https://www.usc.edu.au/institute-for-cyber-investigations-and-forensics

 
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