Australia's Cyber Security Skills Crisis: University Challenge
The cyber security skills crisis is a key policy issue in many countries, and governments look in part to universities to address it. This seminar, based on a new ACCS Discussion Paper by Adam P. Henry released 22 August, addresses one narrow question to see how it speaks to the broader challenges: are current Master of Cyber Security programs in Australia preparing students for the workforce? The paper is titled: "Mastering the Cyber Security Skills Crisis: Realigning Educational Outcomes to Industry Requirments". This research flags new direction for further, much needed research rather than claim to be an exhaustive analysis. The paper outlines cyber security education as being multi-faceted and multidisciplinary and then identifies current gaps in university-based offerings. It pursues several lines of investigation. The first approach is to scope the field. To do that, and following a brief literature review, the paper proposes a new multi-level matrix, the Cyberspace Education Framework. This framework allows a high-level comprehensive view of cyberspace education. The paper then investigates current generalist master’s programs in Australia and the proposition that mission-specific and purpose-driven courses may better prepare students and address the skills crisis than generalist degrees. A survey of cyber security master’s students at one university and subsequent discussions with other stakeholders revealed a contrast between expectations. The paper then compares the current educational learning outcomes of Master’s programs in Australia with the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA) set out in a U.S. standards document that would be required for five cyber work roles of high national importance to Australia. The paper concludes that the requirement for purpose-driven and mission-specific cyber security education is increasing and recommends that this become a focus of new initiatives in cyber security education. Universities probably do have an obligation to work with industry and government to ensure that cyber security programs are more directly preparing students for the workforce. That will give Australia more chance to become more cyber resilient and an opportunity to become a global leader in cyber security education. The paper will be presented at a seminar on 24 August.
Adam P. Henry is an education policy and business IT professional with over a decade of experience working for the Australian Government Department of Education and Training. He has a Bachelor of Business Informatics from the University of Canberra, a Master of Business Administration from Curtin University and a Master of Cyber Security, Strategy and Diplomacy from UNSW Canberra. He has extensive experience in digital leadership and transformation, developing, leading and executing technology business solutions and strategies. He has collaborated with stakeholders to prudently leverage technology to transform and simplify business processes while delivering significant policy initiatives and implementation. Most recently, Adam joined the ACCS International Cyber Security Conference Organising Committee (27 November) and is leading on the associated one-day Cyber Security Education Policy Workshop (28 November).