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Education, key to addressing cybersecurity skills gap in Australia

Leaders in cybersecurity education, industry and government gathered recently at UNSW Sydney to discuss how to solve the nation’s shortfall of cybersecurity professionals.

According to a recent press release, the Australian Cybersecurity Education Summit aims to address the skills gap in cybersecurity.

It is focused exclusively on education by bringing together the nation’s leading cybersecurity experts to counter the major skills shortage.

The event is a brainchild of the Director of the Security Engineering Capability Institute (SECedu).

SECedu is an Australian-first partnership between the University and an Australian bank that aims to train Australia’s next generation of cybersecurity professionals.

Lack of cybersecurity experts

The Director explained that the biggest cyber problem Australia faces by far is the lack of cybersecurity experts with the skills and knowledge to counter cyberattacks.

According to him, all problems in cyberspace are solvable. The problem is that there are not enough hands.

He furthered that cybersecurity, if left unchecked, is an existential threat to the modern world because cybercrime erodes trust, and most of the systems and institutes operate on a foundation of trust.

If trusting the government, or even the smartphone, house or car has become impossible, then society will be in trouble.

In order to position Australia as a global cybersecurity leader into the future, there is a need to facilitate and nurture practical partnerships and improve how cyber experts are being taught and grown.

Building the needed cyber education bandwidth

The summit is a full day of exploration and engagement with Australia’s leading cyber educators, major industry and government employers of cybersecurity professionals, students and graduates.

According to the General Manager of the bank’s Cyber Security Centre, the summit was about building the cyber education bandwidth needed in Australia and working out how best to get the topic on the national agenda.

It is imperative that people are safe whenever they use or interact with technology. With lives increasingly moving online, cybersecurity education is a key building block in the safe use of technology.

Australia can lead in cybersecurity

Australia has the opportunity to make use of its highly trusted position internationally and strong foundation in STEM and computer science education to grow the next generation of talented cybersecurity professionals.

There is a need for graduates who are trained and capable to challenge the status quo and make progress on the sizeable challenges being faced in the cybersecurity industry.

The skills gap should be addressed by creating ‘cybersecurity scientists’. These are people who will ask the big questions, challenge existing assumptions, and sustainably define and solve big cyber issues.

The summit aims to be inspirational and aspirational in order to appeal to anyone involved in hiring, making decisions about or educating cybersecurity professionals.

This includes policymakers, decision-makers, government, educators and education leaders, and even cybersecurity students, because their voice was important too.

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