Hacking the classroom: the rise of interactive cybersecurity education

ACA Schools Cyber Security Challenges
Dr Nicky Ringland is Computing Education Specialist at ACA.

Understanding how to stay secure online is so important as more of our personal and work data moves into the digital environment. To keep them up to speed, Australian high school students now have the chance to learn about cybersecurity in their classrooms. Students in years seven to 12 can participate in four interactive challenges which include personal data security, as well as technical topics such as cryptography and network security.

The Australian Computing Academy (ACA) at the University of Sydney developed the Schools Cyber Security Challenges to support schools to teach cybersecurity concepts to students and to let students know about career opportunities.

David Fairman, Chief Security Officer at National Australia Bank (NAB), says the challenges will give students an insight into what cybersecurity is about and what sort of threats they will face online, and allow them to discuss these issues with others.

“It also teaches them how a threat adversary or hacker thinks and how they exploit system capabilities for their own interests,” David adds.

Schools Cyber Security Challenges

Cyber skills you can bank on

Cybersecurity skills are in high demand in the financial and banking sectors – the ACA challenges are supported by NAB, ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and global services company BT.

David says cybersecurity has moved from an IT security and technical focus to a much broader skill set. “We look for strong technical skills but we also want good business acumen and a little bit of psychology,” he explains, adding that people with a legal and/or privacy background are also working in the field.

David says his career “evolved” into cybersecurity. He started out in the Royal Australian Air Force as an electronic warfare specialist. After studying a Bachelor of Information Technology part-time, he moved into data communications and IT security.

One of David’s biggest career highlights has been living and working overseas. He says cybersecurity is an exciting field for people to get involved in and career opportunities will grow as the business world continues its digital transformation.

“It gives incredible opportunities for people to grow a career, to travel globally and have some pretty exciting challenges,” David adds. 

David’s career path:

>> Bachelor of Information Technology

(Software Engineering / Data Communications), Queensland University of Technology

>> Global CISO, Royal Bank of Canada

>> Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and Masters of Project Management (MPM), University of Southern Queensland

>> Global Head of Security Architecture, Royal Bank of Scotland Investment Bank

>> Chief Security Officer, National Australia Bank

To get there: aca.edu.au

This article was brought to you in partnership with ACA. It was originally published in our special edition of Careers with STEM: Cybersecurity 2019. You can read the e-magazine for free online here.

Nadine Cranenburgh

Author: Nadine Cranenburgh

Nadine is an electrical and environmental engineer who works as a freelance writer and editor. She loves creating articles and content about exciting and complex technology.

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