A not-for-profit ACT Government initiative is accelerating the Territory’s cyber industry growth to address an alarming deficit.
Canberra Cyber Hub is taking a three-pronged approach to help make Australia the world’s most cyber-secure nation by 2030.
It comes as the nation faces a concerning industry capability shortfall, producing less than 2000 cyber graduates per year when projections show 30,000 more cyber professionals will be required to meet demand by 2026.
In the face of increasing cyber security threats, demand for cyber professionals far outweighs the supply, with potentially serious ramifications, according to Cyber Hub Director Karen Schilling.
“Not only is Australia at risk of more cyber-attacks, but businesses are not able to maintain their cyber security posture and companies aren’t able to provide critical cyber security services to other industries and organisations,” she said.
“And when cyber incidents do occur, we’re unable to respond appropriately.”
Ms Schilling said getting Australia’s cyber security capabilities up to scratch was a complex challenge requiring multiple solutions, hence the Canberra Cyber Hub’s plan to tackle it from a number of angles.
The first of the Cyber Hub’s focuses will look at giving small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the industry a boost.
This includes offering working groups, mentoring, training, delivery of programs to help cyber companies access new markets and customers, and B2B networking opportunities.
“We want to help those SMEs furthering our cyber interests to grow, develop networks, expand and, eventually, flourish in the ACT,” Ms Schilling said.
Canberra Cyber Hub’s second stream focuses on “skills activation” in the existing workforce.
“Based on a Seek survey, 57 per cent of Aussies are looking for a career change in 2023,” Ms Schilling said.
“We want to target those professionals who are already in the workforce and may have transferrable skills to see how we can support their change in career direction towards the cyber industry.”
Aside from people with IT or software skills, this could include any range of service professionals, from project managers and administrative support to lawyers and accountants.
“We are working with education and training providers and industry to develop training and work integrated learning programs to bridge any gaps in their knowledge,” Ms Schilling said.
“Cyber careers can often offer freedom and flexibility, so the industry is primed to tap into the advantages of the better work-life balance that many people are looking for.”
Thirdly, the Cyber Hub will focus on research engagement and partnership opportunities with existing organisations.
“Many research organisations such as our universities are already conducting valuable research in the field,” Ms Schilling said.
“We’re looking at ways we can collaborate with them to help meet the apparent needs of the nation in the cyber environment.”
Ms Schilling said the cyber security ecosystem was heavy with opportunities for businesses and individuals, and career options were vast and rewarding.
Roles range from cyber security analyst and cyber monitoring to management and governance, risk management and compliance.
“Cyber cuts across all industries. From Defence to finance, retail to telecommunications, every company in every industry is affected,” she said.
“We recommend that interested individuals and companies jump onto the Canberra Cyber Hub website and peruse the opportunities we have.
“Keep watching the space! We’ll be hosting more courses, working groups, activities and opportunities throughout the year as we work with the Canberra cyber ecosystem to promote all things cyber.”
For more information on how you can transition into a cyber career, visit Canberra Cyber Hub.