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Cyber security = job security

Finding a career with strong job prospects, high earning potential and great job security might seem impossible right now. But long before the terms 'social distancing', 'contact tracing' and 'flattening the curve' entered our vernacular, businesses worldwide were facing a global shortage of qualified cyber security professionals.

What is cyber security?

Data protection is at the heart of cyber security. In today's modern world, nearly all information is stored digitally – everything from a company's customer database to a contact list on your phone is all vulnerable to attack. Globally, we create over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day. In fact, the amount of data we produce is increasing so rapidly that 90 per cent of all the data in the world was generated in just the last two years.

With the amount of data in the world increasing so rapidly, so too is the amount of cyber attacks. Hackers, cyber terrorists and hacktivists usually have one of three aims: to access, change or destroy sensitive information, extort money from users, or interrupt normal business processes. It's the role of cyber security professionals to protect systems, networks, and programs from these digital attacks.

Connected, but at what cost?

It can seem like our whole lives revolve around the internet and computers. Advances in technology such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) are contributing to the growth in the number of security threats. With everything from footwear to fridges now connected to the internet, the risk of hacking has never been greater. 

As technology impacts our lives in new and different ways, hackers continue to innovate and find new avenues to exploit customers and companies. In fact, cyber crimes cost the Australian economy up to $1 billion dollars a year in direct costs alone.

Some of the most common cyber security problems businesses face include:

  • Email phishing - hackers can target both individuals and businesses to send malware via email. 
  • Passwords - using the same password across a number of accounts, or using a password that can easily be hacked, can leave customers and companies vulnerable to attack. 
  • Ransomware - involves installing malware onto a system or device and holding data and/or sensitive information hostage until a ransom is paid. 
  • Cloud computing - as more and more organisations start using cloud-based platforms such as Dropbox or Google Drive on a daily basis, they face an increased risk of attack. 

Cyber security is one of the world’s fastest growing industries

While IT security is not a new idea, this increasing prevalence of cyber crimes is driving unprecedented demand for qualified cyber security professionals. Strong media coverage of high-profile attacks has meant that businesses are more wary than ever of being publicly named and shamed for putting their customers' data at risk. 

The good news is there are strong job prospects for those who want to enter this growing industry. Australia is facing a severe skills shortage of cyber security professionals with a current shortfall of 2,300 workers, and more than 17,000 additional professionals estimated to be required by 2026.

This strong demand for skilled workers is driving up salaries in the industry. In fact, a survey of 900 information security professionals from around the world found that both entry level and senior IT security workers are paid the most in Australia. With the average annual salary for a cyber security professional ranging between $75,000 to $120,000, cyber security is becoming an increasingly attractive career option for many in Australia. 

Where can a cyber security qualification take you?

Despite what you might think, cyber security isn't just for computer scientists. Organisations require people from varied backgrounds and disciplines to work in this area. Anyone who has good problem solving skills, is innovative, and can think strategically would be well suited to a career in cyber security. Other types of people that are highly valued in this area are good communicators, educators, analytical thinkers, and those with sound ethics. 

 Because cyber security is an issue in nearly every business, a cyber security qualification really can take you anywhere in the world. Small businesses to large corporations and even government organisations require cyber security professionals to protect them from cyber attacks. 

Some of the types of careers that cyber security training can unlock include cyber security technical support, cyber security intrusion tester, security support officer, penetration tester, networking security support officer, and website security support officer. Few careers offer the variety in both roles and industries that cyber security training can unlock.

TAFE Queensland cyber security courses

TAFE Queensland offers both introductory and advanced IT security and network security courses. Our Certificate IV in Cyber Security (22603VIC) is a specialised course that will prepare you to enter the industry and protect organisations against malicious cyber activity.