According to the Australian government’s Cyber Security Strategy, the number of students taking up IT and communications technology degrees has reduced over the last ten years. To overcome the shortage of skilled IT professionals, Google is seeking out and hiring for cyber-security professionals in Australia.
Given the extensive range of courses and curriculum Australian universities offer to its students, the company believes Australia is a good place to start its recruitment spree. Head of Google security, Parisa Tabriz comments:
I think finding the right people who have the right skills of someone who can hack into a system but ultimately want to make it more secure and not use those skills for bad and are willing to also work in a big software company— it’s hard to find that intersection of good people. Sydney’s actually been a really good recruiting spot for some security people because there’s good universities that really help train cyber security professionals.
Contrary to Tabriz, an ABC report states that Australia is not producing enough graduates and this deficit will eventually result in government tech missing out to higher pay in the private sector, leading to more vulnerable public sector systems.
The report further states that experts cite the following reasons for a decline in the number of skilled IT professionals:
- Insufficient training and skill development for IT and coding,
- Gaps in recruitment by universities,
- Gaps in present skill set and the required skill set,
- A tech culture that restrains young graduates.
To resolve these issues and attract employers, Richard Buckland from the University of New South Wales talks about changing the way courses are offered.
Although there is no easy way to quickly solve the skills shortage issue, one way by which to attract more students into enrolling in courses is to radically change the way the courses are taught. We know what a good cyber security professional looks like, but it’s still new, it’s still disputed how to actually go about creating them.
Buckland, echoing Tabriz’s earlier comment, states,
We need someone who’s a rascal, who’s cheeky, who’s disrespectful and doesn’t really obey authority. Most of our teaching institutions are based around authority and respect and perhaps not to questioning, so there is a challenge to produce them in a formal academic environment.