Degree to bolster cyber security demands


From phones and transport to health and finances, cyber security plays an important role in everyday life.

A new master’s degree at the University of Newcastle, due to start in July, will help to address a shortage in workers across the world, which is estimated to be more than two million people.

Global innovation chair in cyber security and program convenor, professor Vijay Varadharajan, says there is the potential for attacks to increase as society continues its digital transformation.

“We’re moving towards smart city, smart services and digital infrastructure so, in that sense, cyber security comes in pretty much anything,” he says.

“There is the potential for more attackers and their most common motive is money.”

In Australia, the industry is tipped to triple in size over the next decade, according to the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network.
Professor Varadharajan adds more than 20,000 jobs will open across the country within the next three years alone.

He believes the master’s degree will teach students about cyber security concepts and techniques, show them how to design secure systems and applications, and reveal ways to counteract different types of attacks.

“With a growing demand for cyber security professionals, it is critically important we have a skilled workforce to protect people, data, systems and infrastructures from cyber-attacks,” he says.

Professor Varadharajan adds one of the main concerns in cyber security relates to small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which account for more than 90% of businesses across the country.

“Australia is not unique in this – SMEs are major drivers of economic growth,” he says.

“Large corporations have enough resources to have security professionals, but you need [other] security people, not only for them.
“SMEs are the supply chain and [attackers] can go through their supply systems into higher companies.”

The Master of Cyber Security will start in Semester 2, 2019.

A launch event took place at Callaghan Campus last week, where the community could learn more about the new degree and hear from industry experts.

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