Australia is well on its way to becoming a “global cyber security powerhouse” – according to research by AustCyber. Our national industry is set to spend nearly $1 billion in the next decade to boost its defences, and revenue from the field is projected to triple over this time.
However - with global demand on an upward surge, paired with the rising trend in cybercrimes, Australia is currently tackling a growing skills shortage in security talent. The country is estimated to need an additional 18,000 more cyber security workers by 2026, prompting government initiatives to encourage studies and career pursuits in cyber security.
Fortunately, there is now a large selection of security courses available online; granting full-time workers and current student the opportunity to undertake flexible training.
Below, we explore some of the best online cyber security courses available in Australia – and how they can lead to lucrative careers.
Those looking to specialise in network defences can opt for an online security course in the field.
A certification in network security equips one with skills to identify and mitigate common threats to wireless networks; implement appropriate firewall solutions (and any necessary configurations to harden security); implement secure VPN solutions; and the administration, management, and use of IDPS (Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems) technologies.
General skills in cyber security, such as performing risk/vulnerability assessments, designing (and implementing) security policies, and successful backup procedures may also be explored.
Those who graduate from a network security course typically pursue the role of a network security engineer. These professionals are responsible for protecting the computer systems of their organisation, implementing regular monitoring and upgrading of security measures. They effectively plan, design, troubleshoot, and maintain a company’s network security system, ensuring optimum performance to boost their business’ operational efficiency.
They are also perceptive and analytical, with a talent for anticipating potential threats – applying pre-emptive measures as necessary.
According to Payscale Australia, the network security engineers earn an annual average of $81,826. Pay is likely to increase as one’s experience grows.
Those with an interest in the often nefarious, complex methods of criminal hackers can fulfill their curiosities in the role of an ethical hacker.
An online ethical hacking course can offer a deep-dive into the tools, techniques, and methodologies of malicious online actors; exploring methods of system hacking, packet sniffing, social engineering, DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service), and more. Students may also learn of various common viruses – including worms, malware, and Trojans – how to identify them, and ways to implement countermeasures.
A thorough course in ethical hacking will also explore the attack methodologies for various digital platforms – such as on mobile devices or on the cloud. Individuals will also likely study assessment and audit procedures, and how to scan their company’s systems for potential security loopholes of vulnerabilities.
Once certified, a professional ethical hacker is typically tasked with breaking into a business’ network systems (using the varying hacking methodologies they’ve learned), identifying any security weaknesses – and patching them up before criminals get to them first. They regularly test existing intrusion prevention systems to ensure they work as securely as possible.
According to Payscale Australia, certified ethical hackers earn an average of $102,007 a year.
Cyber Security Analyst
For those with more analytical skills, perhaps a course in cyber security analysis will suit best.
A cyber security analyst certification typically equips students with the tools and techniques to analyse a business’ security architecture, data, policies, and frameworks; helping them identify potential vulnerabilities and areas for improvement, and apply the appropriate mitigation procedures necessary.
Students may also familarise themselves with identity management and authentication processes – and learn to minimise security issues in these areas. They may also learn to use forensic tools to identify breaches and locate the source(s) of attacks.
Cyber Security analysts are often considered “front line” figures when managing a data breach – being the most well-equipped to isolate and counter attacks. Their main responsibility is ensuring secure protection for their company’s data and digital assets; implementing the required safeguards on both onsite and online infrastructures, conducting assessments to identify suspicious activity or potential security risks – mitigating these before further damage occurs.
They may also produce regular reports of a company’s current protocols, offering recommendations for greater security.
According to Payscale Australia, cyber security analysts earn an annual average of $77,248, with potential for higher earnings as experience grows.
With cloud computing making its sweep through the modern business landscape, security experts are increasingly needed to keep user data safe. The country is currently experiencing a massive growth in demand for cloud-based cyber security training – specifically those centred on Microsoft Azure and AWS.
Through a cloud security course, students can explore the various concepts surrounding cloud data – along with methods of auditing and tracing data events; the technologies of cloud data security; and cloud data storage architectures. Students will learn to secure the infrastructure of a cloud platform and the applications it hosts, as well as form a comprehensive understanding of legal and compliance matters.
A robust cloud security program will also delve into the fundamentals of cloud computing – including basic concepts, architectural elements, design principles, and how to assess quality cloud service providers.
Cloud security professionals can undertake a variety of roles – including security engineering, consultancy, and administration for the cloud. Salaries may depend on one’s specific role (and position); though according to Payscale, general cloud computing experts earn an average of $130,851 annually.
Those looking to tap into their inner (techie) Sherlock may find they’re best suited for a course in digital forensics.
By studying cyber security forensics, students can arm themselves with the skills to identify and gather evidence of criminal cyber-intruders. These courses typically equip one with the tools to investigate web-based attacks; analyse security breaches made on the cloud, on local networks, and on mobile devices; and the knowledge to meet compliance standards such as HIPAA, SOX, and ISO 27001.
Graduates will have familiarised themselves with common and emerging forms of malware (and their styles of execution), the ins-and-outs of hard disks and file databases, and current trends in computer forensics.
Professional forensic computer analysts assist with criminal investigations by retrieving and analysing data (and other digital evidence) from computers, networks, and other data storage devices. They then coordinate with other forensic experts to disseminate this information in a timely manner; while ensuring their activities abide by legal standards.
Forensic computer analysts may also help companies trace the source of a data breach, and provide advice on further securing their networks and other systems.
According to Payscale Australia, the average forensic computer analyst earns $76,000 a year.
Pursuing a career in cyber security?
If you’re looking to join a dynamic, constantly-evolving tech industry of zero unemployment – look no further than cyber security. Those naturally perceptive, analytical, and hold a keen talent for problem-solving will find it both a challenging and rewarding profession.
The Australian Institute of ICT (AIICT) currently offers a Certified Cyber Security Professional program: a series of certifications (all delivered by global IT leader, CompTIA) that dive into the skills of network security, ethical hacking, basic forensics, and security analysis. Students can equip themselves with the thorough, well-rounded training they need to launch a cyber security career – armed with qualifications accredited by the International Organisation for Standardisation and the American National Standards Institute.
Got a busy schedule? Not a problem – the course is delivered completely online, helping you tailor your studies around your personal and work-related commitments.
Join the exciting world of cyber security today, and enquire with us on a course.