Filling the cyber gap
La Trobe University have built their Master of Cybersecurity to meet the industry demand for cybersecurity professionals.
The power of modern technology brings some unwanted results, says Dr Naveen Chilamkurti from La Trobe University’s Department of Computer Science and Information Technology in Melbourne.
“There will be bad people trying to do bad things, and we want to help protect against that,” Naveen says. “Organisations need graduates – this is not something you can outsource. You don’t want to give away your secrets.”
The newly unveiled Master of Cybersecurity is a career-focused combination of computer science fundamentals with business and law units. “The strength of the program is that it is not just technical, it gives a broader understanding,” says Naveen.
“You have to know the business part, and have exposure to the law. It’s not as simple as calling a plumber. For example, if you are doing a forensic investigation, there are privacy protection laws you need to understand.”
The first step on the journey is either La Trobe’s Bachelor of Computer Science or Bachelor of Information Technology. The strength of the degrees is their focus on the fundamentals, says Naveen. “Every year there are new things that come up, so we train students in concepts that will make them flexible.”
Part of that flexibility is the new CS + X stream at the Department of Computer Science and Information Technology. Students are encouraged to combine computer science with other passions, such as health, arts or psychology.
“These days everything is electronic and there is a computer everywhere,” says Naveen. “With the population increasing, data from the internet is multiplying, but no one’s tapping in to see the real value of all this data.”
Victoria is developing into Australia’s cybersecurity hub: the University of Oxford has set up a Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre alongside the cybersecurity arms of CSIRO and the National Broadband Network. And La Trobe University is part of the new co-located Oceania Cyber Security Centre.
In this dynamic environment, students in the Master of Cybersecurity program complete their two-year course with the ultimate industry experience: a live cybersecurity project for an industry partner.
Working in groups, the students meet fortnightly with industry to develop solutions. The best of these are implemented. The program gives students excellent exposure to potential employers, says Naveen.
“Industries are now realising how important cybersecurity is, but they can’t get graduates with experience – they are pulling people from other fields, such as maths.”
– Phil Dooley