New Zealand is competing for talent in a global market and it’s important that the Task force looks at ways in which New Zealand can grow its own talent.
Communications Minister Amy Adams has announced the establishment of a Cyber Security Skills Taskforce to address the shortage of cyber professionals in New Zealand.
The Taskforce will focus on practical actions to increase the number of cyber professionals the industry needs to help defend against cyberattacks, which cost the New Zealand economy $257 million last year.
“We know there is a lack of New Zealanders entering the profession at a sub-degree level, so the taskforce will focus on working with academia and industry to develop a level 6 course, with industry supported internships,” says Adams.
Many New Zealand universities have developed specialist cybersecurity degrees and postgraduate courses or are in the process of developing them.
The Cyber Security Skills Taskforce will establish a pathway for junior analysts, including a level 6 qualification and industry-supported internships to be developed in 2017.
“There is a growing global shortage of cyber security professionals. It’s estimated that there will be a global workforce shortfall of between one to two million positions by 2019,” says Adams.
“This shortage is limiting the ability of organisations to protect themselves from the increasing threat of cyberattacks. New Zealand is competing for talent in a global market and it’s important that the Task force looks at ways in which New Zealand can grow its own talent.”
“We are simply not training enough people in this space,'' says Adams at a recent Institute of Directors forum.
The Taskforce will be led by Hewlett Packard Enterprise CTO David Eaton. He will be joined by seven other representatives from academic and industry: Jo Healey, CEO of Dimension Data; Brent Lewis, principal of Avondale College; Dr Ryan Ko, senior lecturer and head of the cybersecurity programme at Waikato University; Kendra Ross, co-founder and director of Duo; Dr Rick Ede, CEO of Unitec; Chris Rutter, head of technology transformation and value management at ANZ Bank; and Tia Greenstreet, head of careers and transition at Wellington College.
In an interview with CIO New Zealand, Dr Ryan Ko says the pace and demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals will not slow down soon, if ever.
“If you look around the world, a lot of things depend on computers and mobile devices. The devices will be connected and as a result there will be a lot of potential security loopholes,” he states.
He points out preparing for a career in cyber security can be done both by a university student or an IT professional looking to upskill.
“If you take it on as a student you will be able to address a gap and the job demand for cybersecurity professionals is three times more than a typical IT professional in the world,” he says. “This sort of translates to near zero unemployment rate for cyber security professionals.”
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