November 25, 2020

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Vocational diploma in Cybersecurity to address shortage of experts in New Zealand

Businesses are being challenged with the global shortage of trained experts in the area of cybersecurity threats.

To address this, Auckland’s Unitec Institute of Technology is launching a one-year vocational New Zealand Diploma in Cybersecurity.

About the initiative

According to a recent press release, it is the country’s first tertiary institution to have developed a cyber qualification in the pre-degree space (Level 6).

The Academic Programme Manager at Unitec’s School of Computing and Information Technology explained that they are helping develop home-grown talent in an industry that which is being hindered by an increasing skills shortage.

The Academic Programme Manager has been developing the qualification for the past couple of years, working closely with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), ITP New Zealand and industry.

They are bridging the gap between education and industry, while at the same time providing employment opportunities for students and equipping them with skills for jobs.

Unitec has worked with New Zealand’s largest tech company, Datacom, to develop the course. For its part, the company has signed up to host 10 students at its Security Operations Centre in Auckland.

The company will be supporting students who have come through the course. They have also created a strongly mentored training environment to ensure that the students are coming not just to learn, but to learn through working.

This is the living embodiment of the Future of Work – they are being trained as they study.

The New Zealand Diploma in Cybersecurity

The programme starts in February 2020 and is a 120-credit, Level 6 programme. It can be completed in one year if full-time or over 18 months to four years if part-time.

The programme is designed to equip students with the core cybersecurity and technical skills and knowledge needed to protect and manage information and systems security.

Students will also develop an understanding of how to operate within the appropriate professional standards and best practice, both independently and as part of a team, and become highly skilled, innovative, and enterprising NZ workforce.

Developing cybersecurity skills via education

New Zealand is not the only country faced with lack of skilled cybersecurity experts. As such, countries across the globe have also turned to education to ensure the production of talent skilled in addressing cybersecurity threats.

In Australia, for instance, leaders in cybersecurity education, industry and government have gathered at UNSW Sydney to discuss how to solve the nation’s shortfall of cybersecurity professionals.

The Australian Cybersecurity Education Summit aimed 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 biggest cyber problem Australia faces by far is the lack of cybersecurity experts with the skills and knowledge to counter cyberattacks.

All problems in cyberspace are solvable. The problem is that there are not enough hands.

In the Philippines, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) joined hands with the AMA Computer University Inc. in promoting institutional cooperation in cybersecurity courses.

Higher education institutions can help address the cybersecurity issue by creating initiatives to educate students and professionals, producing the next generation of cyber-warriors.

With only 84 certified information security systems professionals as of 2018, there is a need for more cyber-warriors in the country. Worse, almost half of them are working overseas.