La Trobe University: Building the next generation of cybersecurity professionals
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La Trobe University: Building the next generation of cybersecurity professionals

As the world adjusts its sails to the winds of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the future workforce must be ready to embrace these agile environments. Our tech-driven era means increased use of technology, and while automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and big data offer a wealth of opportunities to improve how we live and work, they also present new challenges.

The rapid expansion of the digital economy translates to a greater need for specialists who can expertly tackle the challenges that come with such large-scale digital transformation, especially in cybersecurity. For example, Cybersecurity Ventures predicts there will be 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings by 2021, while a Deloitte report notes: “…demand for cybersecurity talent in Canada is increasing by 7 percent annually, with organisations needing to fill some 8,000 cybersecurity roles between 2016 and 2021.”

In light of the global industry demand for cybersecurity experts, Australia’s La Trobe University is preparing the next generation of skilled cybersecurity professionals who are ready to respond, adapt and evolve with the security demands of the future.

Source: La Trobe University

La Trobe University has six campuses across the state of Victoria, and one in the heart of Sydney. Their Melbourne campus, located just 14km from the central business district, is one of the most attractive in the country. The campus features parkland, waterways and a wildlife sanctuary.

Strong industry partnerships for industry-ready graduates

La Trobe University’s major external relationship with Optus Business, an Australian telecommunications company, resulted in the Optus La Trobe Cyber Security Research Hub, focusing on teaching, training, research and practice in this specialised field.

According to Professor John Dewar, Vice-Chancellor of La Trobe University, “Our collaboration with Optus will position La Trobe University as one of the most technologically innovative and industry-connected campuses anywhere in Australia.”

This alliance will build on the strengths of both organisations to address significant global challenges such as smart cities, cybersecurity and the application of big data analytics.

Source: La Trobe University

In speaking about the partnership, John Paitaridis, Optus Business Managing Director, said, “This announcement responds to two critical challenges facing organisations; one is the importance of data analytics and cyber security in Australia’s future in the digital world; the other is the need for industry, government and academia to collaborate in order to ideate, co-create and innovate.

“Optus will bring the technology and commercial expertise that complements La Trobe’s exceptional research and education credentials, creating an exemplary for a partnership between industry and academia in Victoria.”

The university has also collaborated with other leading industry partners such as Australia Post, Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Symantec to help students become in-demand specialists in the field. Students learn from cybersecurity experts who draw from their personal experiences and use real-world case studies to bridge the gap between theory and practice.

Prospective students can take note that internationally respected cybersecurity expert Professor Jill Slay AM was appointed as the inaugural La Trobe University Optus Cyber Chair. She is experienced in combining teaching and research with active involvement in advising government and defense on real-world cybersecurity initiatives.

Source: La Trobe University

Professor Slay leads cybersecurity teaching, research and industry collaboration at La Trobe University. Her role involves establishing a virtual facility at La Trobe University to conduct research and develop solutions to real-world problems in the cybersecurity field.

Multidisciplinary courses

La Trobe University’s agile syllabus for its multidisciplinary cybersecurity courses reflect the field’s ongoing developments. For example, their suite of undergraduate and postgraduate courses include the Bachelor of Cybersecurity, which addresses the global shortage of cybersecurity professionals and prepares students with skills across IT, business, law, policy and strategic communication.

Students study the history of hacking, explore the various methods used to defend and protect against malicious cyber-threats and learn about the sophisticated techniques cyber-criminals use to manipulate individuals and access confidential information online.

Graduates or working professionals – even those without a background in IT – looking to upskill need look no further than La Trobe University’s Master of Cybersecurity. Students of the course undertake a set of foundation subjects to develop industry-relevant skills, before specialising in one of three streams: business operations, computer science and law.

Source: La Trobe University

Students in the Master of Cybersecurity (Business Operations) will study predictive techniques to align business needs and bridge the technical and managerial aspects of cybercrime prevention, while those in the Master of Cybersecurity (Computer Science) stream will learn how to respond to cybersecurity threats and create strategies to defend against them, diving into the mindset and motivation of hackers and understanding what drives cybercriminals.

La Trobe is the only university in Australia offering a cybersecurity degree with a specialisation in law. Students pursuing the Master of Cybersecurity (Law) will learn how to tackle cybersecurity from a legal perspective and gain an in-depth understanding of where law intersects with the technical aspects of cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity graduates can look forward to a variety of career opportunities worldwide, in areas such as banking and finance, national security, telecommunications and healthcare.

Find out more about why La Trobe University is at the forefront of cybersecurity teaching, research and policy development, and how the university is addressing the global industry demand for cybersecurity through its unique suite of qualifications.

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