The future of work has never been more uncertain.
The fast-developing fields of big data and machine learning have thrown the security of up to 44% of today’s jobs into question—and reframed the entire discussion about what abilities tomorrow’s ideal worker will need to thrive.
Some futurists are predicting the elimination of traditional career pathways altogether in favour of a more flexible ‘cluster’ paradigm—where every job is fluid, ever sector bleeds into the next and transferable skills are king.
It’s never been more vital for higher education curriculum to be developed in step with industry leaders. Only close consultation with real-world experts can ensure graduates are thoroughly equipped to navigate tomorrow’s uncertain ‘new work order’.
This spirit of industry collaboration has underpinned the creation of La Trobe’s new Master of Cybersecurity
Collaborative course design
From the ground up, our Master of Cybersecurity course designers have acted in concert with industry leaders (including Optus, Australia Post, Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and more) to ensure a future-proof cybersecurity degree.
With the input of these enterprise partners, we were able to identify the skills shortages faced by industry and address them directly.
‘We need people with problem-solving skills. We need innovators, we need people with legal and regulatory skills. We need communicators and educators to help people understand the problems facing the cybersecurity field,’ says Simone Bachman (Head of Information, Security, Innovation and Culture at Australia Post).
Addressing industry needs
‘[Hewlett Packard] had a lot of involvement in contributing actual ideas and putting parts of the course together,’ says Michael Fieldhouse (Director, Emerging Businesses & Federal Government at Hewlett Packard Enterprises). ‘When people complete the course, they’ll understand some of the things we require from day one. That makes them more employable to the industry.’
As the course developed, each contributing organisation helped us form a clearer picture of the current state-of-play in cybersecurity. This has enabled us to target those learning areas that will be of greatest benefit to future employers.
‘There are very few certifications available in this area, especially in the tertiary level,’ says David Hird (Head of Security Standards and Compliance at La Trobe). ‘The companies don’t know who is qualified or who is not qualified, so it’s very difficult for them to trust that the person they’re employing actually has the skills that they need. This degree will ensure that the person is properly trained and certified and is ready to be employed.’
Capable, confident graduates
Inviting industry specialists into the course-designing process also sends a strong signal to employers: La Trobe is committed to producing graduates ready to provide meaningful value in the digital sector.
‘La Trobe had a lot of input from government and the private sector as well. Those organisations are actually moulding the course to suit their requirements, and taking an active role in mentoring students,’ says Brian Williams (Technical Product Manager, Security at the Optus Cyber Security Centre of Excellence).
‘So being a student in the Master of Cybersecurity will give you the advantage—your profile will be raised immediately among those potential organisations (who are likely to employ you later).’
We’re excited to begin training the next generation of cybersecurity professionals, and sending them into a digital landscape sorely in need of their skills and experience.
‘It’s a long term career choice,’ says Brian Williams. ‘It’s going to be quite an exciting one for the next few years because there’s going to be constant change. You can almost guarantee it.’
As the nature of Australia’s employment culture continues to rapidly redefine what the ideal graduate will be in the future, we will respond by forging stronger links with new industry partners.
The pattern of industry collaboration exhibited Master of Cybersecurity will serve as a model throughout La Trobe University’s course offerings.
We will strive to integrate the advice and experience of real-world leaders into the learning experiences of all our students, ensuring they’re prepared for the industry challenges of tomorrow – whatever form they may take.