Why now is the perfect time to study cybersecurity

Why now is the perfect time to study cybersecurity

Cybersecurity experts are in hot demand. The rise of high-profile hacking scandals, the Internet of Things and governments engaging in cyberwarfare are just some of the reasons why the world, now more than ever before, needs elite cybersecurity professionals. Could it be you?

‘Extremely sought after and very high salaries’

By studying cybersecurity, you’re making an investment in your future. According to a report by Cisco, there are currently one million job openings globally and counting. The median pay is $US88,890 per year and the top tier earning over $US140,460, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

La Trobe’s Head of Security, Standards and Compliance, David Hird, says ‘even major security players find it hard to get skilled staff’.

To meet the growing demand, he says ‘Cybersecurity experts will be extremely sought after and will get very high salaries.’

In the future, anything can be hacked

By 2020 everything from clothes to food will be connected to the internet, and all of those things will be vulnerable to hacking.

Even more concerning are large-scale computerised technologies, such as smart infrastructure.

Daniel Burrus, founder of Burrus Research and global innovation expert, believes the Internet of Things could result in huge disruptions and opportunities over the next five years. He writes:

‘What can you achieve when a smart car and a smart city grid start talking to each other? We’re going to have traffic flow optimisation, because instead of just having stoplights on fixed timers, we’ll have smart stoplights that can respond to changes in traffic flow.

‘Traffic and street conditions will be communicated to drivers, rerouting them around areas that are congested, snowed-in, or tied up in construction.’

To date, no computer has been built that cannot be hacked. With the rise of the Internet of Things, advanced cybersecurity will need to be considered every step of the way.

Cybersecurity can take you anywhere

Cybercrime transcends borders and law enforcement jurisdictions; it can be perpetrated from one side of the world to the other.

The world’s biggest data breaches are incredibly varied in method, purpose and location. One of the largest data breaches in history, perpetrated against Yahoo, only recently came to light and has impacted more than one billion users.

The Australian Government is investing over $600 million in cybersecurity over the next decade, solidifying employment opportunities at home. A cybersecurity qualification, however, could really take you anywhere in the world.

Whether you’re interested in working for a global conglomerate, managing international relations around cybersecurity, or tracking cybercriminals James Bond-style to far-off locations, your career can be truly global.

Cyberwarfare is on the rise

The battlefield of the future could be virtual. We’ve already seen reports of Russia interfering with the recent US election and hacking into and shutting off the power grid in Ukraine.

There’s also been reports of China accused of the massive cyberattack on Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology. Our own government has admitted to engaging in cyber warfare against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

In an interview, La Trobe University’s David Hird reveals ‘Governments are taking a serious interest in cyberwarfare. They’re amplifying their capabilities because they realise they’re vulnerable.’

He explains that denial of service (DoS) attacks can have devastating impacts on nation states, because ‘if you can take out the world’s core Domain Name System (DNS) services, you’ve destroyed the net’.

As modern warfare evolves to include a greater use of AI, drones and Big Data, cybersecurity professionals will be at the helm of one of humanity’s greatest ethical dilemmas. How far will we go?

Cybersecurity needs experts from all backgrounds

Cybersecurity isn’t just for computer scientists, it’s an industry requiring professionals from all kinds of backgrounds.

‘We need people from all disciplines tackling this problem. We need people with problem solving skills, innovators, people with legal and regulatory skills, communicators and educators,’ says Simone Bachmann, Head of Information, Security, Innovation and Culture at Australia Post.

Everyone from small businesses, to corporations, to governments will be looking for graduates with a cybersecurity foundation.

They will be looking for IT specialists, but they also need managers who understand the needs of the industry, communication specialists who can educate people on how to protect themselves, and legal professionals who have in-depth knowledge of privacy legislation and the different jurisdictions that apply to data.

At La Trobe we’ve created three specialist degrees within our suite of Master of Cybersecurity programs: computer science, business operations and law.

Apply now, or book a one-on-one consultation to discuss how you can kick-start a long and rewarding career in cybersecurity.