Taking Cyber Security Courses online in the COVID-19 era

Alongside escalating health concerns, the unprecedented effects of COVID-19 have lead to multiple businesses closing their doors, shifting to a fully work-from-home setup, and many workers re-thinking their current career choices.

Thousands are now realising the volatility of our economy – and the value digital systems have in keeping businesses up and running. Additionally, many are now seeing both the productivity and financial benefits of working remotely.

For those exploring a potential career shift, or are looking to expand their tech skills in our now ever-digitised circumstances; cybersecurity fortunately offers the “crisis-proof” advantages of high job security, continuously high demand, and the ability operate in an entirely online realm.

We delve into the stability of the cybersecurity industry below, and how undertaking online courses may prove valuable in the era of COVID-19.

The stability of cybersecurity

The field of cybersecurity is rapidly growing, currently estimated to need at least 17,600 additional new workers by 2026. Unfortunately, Australia is grappling with a severe lack of industry-ready skills, short of over 2,300 professionals as of today.

With a widening talent gap – costing the economy more than $400 million in revenue and wages – employment opportunities thus run vast, with many offering high salaries and career progression to attract the skills required.

Additionally, cybercrime numbers show no signs of slowing, with worldwide damage costs expected to hit $6 trillion by 2021. In Australia alone, cybercrime costs reached $29 billion in 2019; with a predicted upsurge in (already common) methods such as phishing attacks, IoT device breaches, and ransomware in the years to follow.

Relevant expertise is thus in high demand, and the uphill trends of cybercrime give us a global 6 million new job opportunities to look forward to in 2026 (according to Cisco research). Those aspiring to the field can therefore enjoy its career stability and high job security; and with most of its tasks completed online, the industry stands strong and adaptive in moments of crisis (such as COVID-19).

In fact, individuals can start launching their career path through the multiple online training opportunities now available.

The flexibility of online learning

Online training has grown in popularity over the years, rising alongside technological advancements and widespread internet access. There are now over 1,000 online education providers in Australia, and industry revenue is expected to hit a whopping $8.2 billion between 2020-2021 – with further growth and development yet to come.

The sector’s ability to deliver a diverse, flexible selection of courses has been its leading driver of success among both job-seekers and full-time workers. With all study materials, lectures, and peer communication performed and provided digitally, students can better juggle work, family, and personal commitments alongside their upskilling pursuits. Additionally, an online course grants them the freedom to study according to their learning preferences (i.e. pace, location, schedule) providing them with a more tailored, well-suited study experience.

As mentioned, most cybersecurity activities take place online – making it an ideal subject area for digital training. In our current circumstances, those wishing to pursue cybersecurity can have a seamless study experience through the wide range of online courses on offer. All one needs is a reliable computer and a stable internet connection to get started on the vast selection of digital certifications, workshops, and course programs currently available.

Professionals can also look forward to an even greater range of cybersecurity courses in the coming years, with education providers expanding their offers (leading to an expected high of 2,000 graduates by 2026).

Why is cybersecurity more important than ever?

The worldwide panic caused by COVID-19 has lead to an uptick in crisis-related phishing attacks, in which hackers impersonate health authorities or government officials through e-mails or text messages; tricking victims into offering their personal data or downloading malicious content. Cyber-criminals have also turned to creating malicious websites with “coronavirus” or “COVID” in the domain, making them hotspots for malware deployment or phishing activity.

Additionally, with most organisations now operating in the online space, plenty are ripe for the picking than ever. In the wake of COVID-19, global assessments have shown a huge cybercrime target shift from individuals and small businesses to larger corporations and government bodies. With many companies now offering work-from-home setups, criminals are also taking advantage of the often less-than-adequate security protocols in employees’ personal homes.

Cybersecurity has therefore never been more critical, with businesses placing greater effort in securing their digital systems – raising the necessary expenses, shifting priorities, and enforcing tighter measures to protect their data.

This trend shows no signs of slowing, with Interpol predictions stating a likely further increase in cybercrime in the near future. Criminal methods are also expected to grow ever-more sophisticated and frequent, and should a vaccine come to light – it’s likely phishing attempts will surge in relation to relevant medical products.

What are my course options?

We’ve established the long-term need for cybersecurity, it’s compatibility with online training, and the vast number of employment opportunities available for those entering the field (especially amidst COVID-19 damages). If you’re looking to get started on training – what are your course options, and where do you begin?

While industry entrants have a wide range of basic cybersecurity programs to choose from – it also helps to consider your desired specialty. Do your skills lean towards more business-related activities – or do you prefer to solve technical problems, and exercise your analytical skills? Do you enjoy working with others, or prefer to do so independently?

Asking yourself these questions can help you niche down your training, helping you decide between a course in penetration and ethical hacking; or one in cybersecurity management. Other specialised training includes courses in cloud security, network security, security architecture, and systems administration.

Next, determine the level of qualification you wish to pursue. While some may prefer to casually dabble in the field – undertaking brief, online workshops and unaccredited courses, others may choose to pursue entire degree programs or certifications. Your choice depends on how comprehensive you’d like your training to be, and the amount of prior knowledge and experience you currently have.

Ready to get started?

If a role in cybersecurity sounds like the career for you, the Australian Institute of ICT (AIICT) currently offers a robust, comprehensive online program to equip you with all the essential skills – and more.

Comprised of three world-renowned certifications from CompTIA – our Certified Cybersecurity Professional course trains you in the core skills of IT support, networking, and digital security. Among plenty other subject areas, you’ll learn the technicalities of ethical hacking, incident response, and security policies; alongside general IT and network fundamentals.

Best of all, the course is delivered completely online, helping you study when, where, and how you see fit.

Pursue the stable, in-demand career paths of cybersecurity today – and enquire with us on the course.