Recognising the growing need for expertise in cyber security, an Australian university has spruiked what it claims is a national first: an industry-accredited cyber security qualification.
Victoria-based Deakin University publicly unveiled the accreditation from the Australian Computer Society (ACS) this week, which it said marked the first time that such a course had been accredited by the professional IT body.
“While cyber security courses are currently offered at many universities and other educational institutions across Australia, until now none of these courses have been accredited by an external and independent body,” it said.
Since then, Edith Cowan University has also received ACS accreditation for its degrees in a Master of Cyber Security and a Bachelor of Science (Cyber Security).
Deakin University’s School of Information Technology has offered both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in cyber security for the last three years.
According to its website, Deakin’s undergraduate degree is a three-year, full-time program designed to prepare students for a career in managing online security, including an overview of the policy and industry landscape as well as cyber crime and cyber terrorism.
Meanwhile, its one-year, full-time Master of Cyber Security explores in more detail the detection, analysis and approach to addressing cyber security concerns, including digital forensics, system and organisational security, as well as the human aspects involved in cyber security.
The university has an average intake into its cyber security studies of around 150 each year.
Deakin’s departmental head, Professor Karen Hapgood, said the accreditation will allow the Australia course to be recognised both locally and overseas.
“It certainly endorses the high-quality curriculum and the high quality of academic staff teaching our courses, and validates Deakin’s decision last year to update its cyber security courses in line with industry and world needs,” she said.
“As cyber security becomes more important to our national and global security than ever before, it is vital that students can take comfort that they are being taught at the highest possible level.”
A spokesman for ACS confirmed that Deakin was the first tertiary education provide to receive its accreditation, close followed by Edith Cowan University.
“ACS sets standards for educational delivery and graduate capabilities, and defines the discipline of cyber security. The role of ACS is to review against these standards. In the case of the Specialist Accreditation in Cyber Security, ACS also checks that there is sufficient specialist course content and that graduates are being prepared for specialist roles,” he told My Business.
“IT courses are not regulated, but ACS is the only body in Australia offering accreditation of ICT degree and masters courses. As in other non-regulated occupational areas, accreditation of higher education programs in ICT is requested by the universities and other institutions on a voluntary basis.
“There are numerous ICT degree and masters programs being offered without ACS accreditation; these may not meet ACS and international standards.”
According to the spokesman, “awareness is growing and Australian universities are increasingly putting courses forward, but not all will be eligible”.
“Accreditation applications and assessments are intense and generally occur over several months,” he said.
Other Australian unis that offer formal qualifications in cyber security include Western Sydney, Griffith, La Trobe and Macquarie Universities, as well as UNSW’s Canberra campus and Open Universities Australia.
ACS is currently assessing other courses for accreditation, although it did not specify which ones.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.