Growing threat of online attacks mean Cyber Security professionals are needed now more than ever
By Rebecca Blyth, Academic and Quality Manager for Computing and Technologies at Fife College
Digital technologies have transformed our society, driving economic growth and connecting people like never before.
From smart homes and products to digital manufacturing, the explosion in cyber-connected applications has presented endless opportunities but it has also led to the rise of cybercrime, with identity theft, fraud, and blackmail becoming more common.
That’s why as part of Cyber Scotland Week (28 February – 6 March) events across the country are being set-up to make businesses, organisations, and individuals aware of how they can be more cyber secure.
In 2021 attacks on corporate networks were reported to have increased by 50% compared to the previous year (ITPro, January 22).
According to researchers Check Point, throughout 2021 there was been an "upwards trend" of cyber-attacks which reached an all-time high at the end of last year with a global peak of 925 attacks a week per organisation.
The surge in global cyber-attacks has been put down to several factors, such as the working from home boom caused by coronavirus lockdowns over the last few years, the rise in value of difficult-to-trace cryptocurrencies and an increase in political tensions.
The need for cyber security professionals is therefore vital, even more so with a reported shortfall of around 10,000 people per year in the cyber security recruitment pool (UK Government, March 2021).
At Fife College we’ve been trying to address this skills shortage for some time, offering a wide range of training, including our HNC Cyber Security course which teaches students how to think like a hacker and gain a deep understanding of security issues and concerns. Other courses, including our introductory courses (SCQF Level 5 and 6), offer students insight into characteristics of cybercrime, security principles, technologies, and procedures to defend networks.
We believe it’s never too early to start preparing for a career in cyber – and through our School College Partnership Programme we have been offering an introduction to Cyber Security to high school pupils so they can study for a National Progression Award in Cyber Security.
We also offer short courses in cyber security for businesses which provide delegates with an overview of the types of cyber threats, and the impact of cyber disruptions to the company’s systems, applications, and data – an ideal first step for companies looking to ensure they are cyber secure.
As an ever-evolving industry, we are committed to ensuring the cyber security courses we deliver reflect the needs of employers and businesses in Fife and beyond. This will ensure our students get the latest skills and qualifications, preparing them for careers in this fast-paced sector while protecting us all from the hackers of the cyber world.
It will also help to supply well-qualified candidates for the huge number of roles that will need to be filled in the industry over the coming years. This is a crucial time for our economy as we exit the pandemic, and at Colleges across Scotland we are determined to do everything we can to provide opportunities and work with industry to address their skills needs.