The TAFE SA course, which will be offered when the next term starts in October, is the first national skills-based cyber security certificate-level qualification.
The qualification has been developed by TAFE SA in close collaboration with a range of industry partners, including the National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, ANZ Bank, NBN Co, BAE Systems, Telstra, Deloitte, and the Australian Information Security Association.
According to AustCyber — an industry-led and not-for-profit company responsible for delivering the activities of the Cyber Security Growth Centre initiative — malicious cyber activity is growing worldwide and Australian employers will need at least 11,000 more cyber security workers over the next decade.
TAFE SA educational manager for Information Technology Studies, Frank Annese, said the new qualification would help address Australia’s critical cyber security skills gap.
“With the growing interconnectivity of devices in modern society, the importance of having confidence in the systems you work and play with is increasingly crucial,” Annese said.
“Having skilled workers in the ICT industry who can monitor, secure and mitigate against any risks is imperative to the industry and TAFE SA is responding to these needs by training the next generation of cyber-skilled employees.”
Annese said graduates could work with ICT departments determining breaches in network security, on ICT helpdesks, looking for threats and vulnerability in systems, doing penetration testing, and investigating cyber hacking activities and Web security functions.
“I personally believe that cyber security is extremely important to everyone, although the average person may not recognise this,” he said.
“From large businesses to small businesses, everyone in society uses technology and the potential risks involved with something as basic as responding to an email can be disastrous.
“When large businesses are attacked by bad actors utilising technology to steal data — whether it’s personal or financial — it makes the news.
“But when the average person is a victim of cyber crime, that person is often left fighting a long battle to regain their life, as there are many types of cyber crimes that affect average people that are not often heard about.
“Cyber security is a critical part of how we all live in 2018 and beyond.”
For Melissa Williams-Brown, 48 — among the first group of students to sign up for the TAF SA cyber security certificate course — being able to stop some of the devastating consequences of cyber crime on businesses and individuals, such as fraud, impersonation and theft of sensitive data, has inspired her to pursue a career in cyber security.
Williams-Brown said she was keen to get into a cyber security research/analysis role once she completed the 12-month course.
“I want to use my skills to track the bad actors and identify their methods of attack," she said.
“Cyber criminals can use strategies to disrupt financial markets and use those results for their own malicious benefit; for example, if a cyber attack on a telco leads to a loss of customer confidence, stock prices [may] drop and perhaps those customers [may] switch to a competitor.”
An information session about the Certificate IV in Cyber Security will be held at TAFE SA’s Adelaide Campus on 20 September, and enrolments are open for Term 4, 2018 or Semester 1, 2019.