For Australia to fully reap the benefits of technological advances in the digital era, it is vital that we can be confident that our digital assets are safe from cyber crime. The Victorian Government’s Cyber Security Strategy recognises that secure and resilient information and services safeguard the state’s economic growth, productivity and competitiveness. 
Analysis by the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network suggests that Australia will need an additional 7,500 cyber security workers by 2026, representing average annual growth of 3.5%. Factoring in the likelihood that Australia will lose 3,600 cyber security professionals due to retirement or to jobs overseas, gross demand for new workers could be closer to 11,000. Government agencies, banks and other highly risk-sensitive organisations are expected to account for 37% of the forecast demand.
Cyber security curriculum
To help address this growing shortage of cyber security skills, we are investing $1.6 million through a five-year commitment to co-develop a comprehensive cyber security curriculum with a leading university.
The curriculum, SEC.EDU, is producing a new generation of cyber security professionals armed with more of the skills government and industry need. These skills range from penetration testing to malware analysis and incident response. Importantly, these graduates are emerging with a passion for teaching cyber security.
As the curriculum has been co-created we are committed to ensuring the SEC.EDU curriculum is available across Australian universities.
Cyber security centres of excellence
Governments are deeply engaged, too. For example, they are supporting university-led initiatives to establish centres of cyber security excellence. Victoria was one of the early movers. The Victorian Government has given substantial support to the eight universities in the state that have collaborated to establish the Oceania Cyber Security Centre. It has the broad aim of engaging with industry to develop research and training opportunities for dealing with cyber security issues.
We are also a foundational partner of the recently announced Cyber Security Network in New South Wales, where member universities and stakeholders will train specialist graduates and develop a skilled cyber security workforce to help address the skills shortage in this field.
Cyber prize for undergraduates
For three years we have run a competition for first-year computer science undergraduates to attract them to cyber security courses. In 2017, thirteen students received the CommBank Cyber Prize. Each won $1,000 in cash, plus the opportunity to tour our Cyber Security Centre and to be mentored by cyber security professionals. Participating universities include Monash and RMIT.
Start at school
Running competitions among computer science undergraduates isn’t enough. School students must be encouraged to consider STEM subjects and computer science qualification in the first place.
In light of research showing that young girls often opt out of STEM subjects at critical points in education and employment, we were one of the partner sponsors of the 2018 ACCESS for Women program. This program provides girls in years 11 and 12 with a week of industry and technical experience.
What does this mean for you?
In today’s interconnected digital world, we are stronger together. We have developed a suite of cyber security training resources that we share with our clients to help educate their employees on a broad range of cyber security issues. We recognise a shared responsibility to secure Australia’s digital economy and are committed to partner with you to help deal with the growing cyber threat and to educate the next generation of cyber security experts.
Download our Signals Report
Our Signals publication provides a quarterly summary of the cyber security landscape. It features trends and observations from our Cyber Security Centre. The Q1 2018 edition offers advice on non-technical aspects of responding to a data breach.