Australia has a “severe shortage” of tech workers, and we’ll need nearly 17,000 more cyber security workers by 2026.
That’s according to a report by the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network, which is concerned about the growth of cybersecurity courses being inadequate to meet demand.
If you were looking for the best place in the nation to study it, new analysis has revealed that RMIT Australia’s cybersecurity course teaches nearly all the skills required by employers.
An analysis of Australia’s eight cybersecurity master degrees, presented at the IEEE EduCon conference earlier this week, found that RMIT’s Masters degree taught nearly all the skills needed to do the job, such as critical analysis, problem-solving, teamwork, ethical values, and strategic leadership.
One of the benefits of RMIT is the way the course is designed, the researchers found, which covers 10 of 11 of the soft skills required by employers.
While all eight courses taught critical analysis, problem-solving, communication and investigation, seven in eight missed ‘strategic thinking’ and ‘leadership’. Only two courses were found to have taught creativity.
Why creativity is important
Though RMIT teaches strategic thinking and leadership where none of the other courses do, it is missing creativity.
Creativity was named by LinkedIn earlier this year as the most in-demand soft skill for 2020.
"Organisations need people who can creatively approach problems and tasks across all business roles, from software engineering to HR.
“Focus on honing your ability to bring new ideas to the table in 2020," stated a LinkedIn report.
Late last year, advertising and media personality and PwC chief creative officer Russel Howcroft said creativity was the forgotten ‘x-factor’ of a business that often drove long-term profits.
Missing employment skills could become a security threat
Failure to emphasise the right skills in cybersecurity courses could pose a risk to national security, said RMIT School of Science cybersecurity expert Joanne Hall.
“Those who don’t listen risk producing the next generation of cybersecurity experts with weak non-technical skills, as well as a low opinion of the importance of non-technical skills, when in fact they are critical in doing this job well,” she said.
“Communication and leadership skills are needed to engage with the wider organisation, project management and teamwork are needed to deliver a comprehensive cyber-defence project and creativity and flexibility to tailor a solution to a specific situation.”
The World Economic Forum has flagged the skills of analytical thinking and innovation, creativity, technology design, critical thinking and problem solving as in-demand going into 2022.
Hall added that most cybersecurity breaches tend to be human, not technical, failures.
Payscale indicates that individuals with cyber security skills can command a near-six-figure salary.
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