One of Australia’s top cyber security experts, on why the industry needs you

Paul Haskell-Dowland is the Associate Dean of Computing and Security at Edith Cowan University.

One of Australia’s top cyber security experts, Paul Haskell-Dowland, gives us the lowdown on the world’s massive skills shortage in cyber security – and why that means big career potential.

Cyber security jobs are diverse, challenging and exciting – and there is no where near enough people signing up for the career, which means huge opportunity, according to Associate Professor Paul Haskell-Dowland, a cyber security expert at Edith Cowan University (ECU). With more than 20 years in the industry in Australia and the UK, he should know.

“The capacity of schools, TAFEs and universities to deliver the number of people that’s needed with the skills required in industry is not going to catch up for many years,” Paul says. “We’re looking globally at hundreds of thousands of jobs unfilled, rising to millions, this decade.”

For example, Paul says ECU alone has close to 1300 students studying cyber security” – and that’s just in ECU’s dedicated courses, not those taking cyber majors and units. “We’re generating enormous numbers of students in the area of cyber security and we’re barely touching the tip of the iceberg,” he says.

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The ongoing skills shortage puts graduates in high demand which pushes up salaries. “We tell students that your first job will come off the back of your degree and promoting yourself to the industry, but your second and third jobs will come calling for you,” Paul says.

His advice for the cyber security professionals of the future? “Working in cyber draws on a wide skill set, but you don’t need a technology background to come into cyber security. Really, it’s having that flair, that enthusiasm that matters,” he says.

This article is brought to you in partnership with Edith Cowan University and originally appears in Careers with STEM: Tech 2020.

Gemma Chilton

Author: Gemma Chilton

Gemma has a degree in journalism from the University of Technology, Sydney and spent a semester studying environmental journalism in Denmark. She has been writing about science and engineering for over a decade.

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