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Cyber security call to arms

Cyber security professionals are in-demand with close to 17,000 more specialists needed by 2026. Despite what you may think, you don't need pre-existing computer knowledge to kick start a career fighting cyber crime.

The world has never been more interconnected and cyber crime is on the rise, costing the Australian economy more than $1 billion a year.

TAFE Queensland cyber security teacher Sam Elgawady said there had never been a better time to enrol in a Certificate IV in Cyber Security (22334VIC).

"To put it simply, the bad guys outnumber the good guys, so we need to increase the number of people working in cyber security to defend our digital assets," Sam said.

"If someone hacked a business, that organisation would struggle to grow and its clients’ information could be at risk. If hackers infiltrated older systems linked to agriculture or dams it could jeopardise our food and water security."

"Cyber security is essential to a strong and resilient economy, so there is a lot of respect and reward to be gained from protecting people and your country from online threats," he said.

If a lack of existing computer knowledge was holding you back from enrolling, Sam said prior experience in information technology and networking was not required.

"While some knowledge will be an advantage, our training is very hands-on. Students start with the basics of cyber security for personal computer protection and by the end of the course they will be able to identify cyber security breaches and protect data and digital assets from attacks," Sam said.

There are no formal entry requirements for this course, but it is recommended that you should have successfully completed Year 12 or equivalent, be a mature age applicant, or have sound learning, reading, writing, literacy and numeracy skills.

Students in Far North and North Queensland have up to one year to complete the Certificate IV in Cyber Security (22334VIC), learning through a combination of self-directed training via online modules and face-to-face time with a teacher on campus.

And the good news is, a cyber security qualification may be more affordable than you think, with a range of concessions, subsidies and payment plan options available to eligible students.

Certificate IV in Cyber Security (22334VIC) graduates can also use their qualification as a pathway to university and gain credit towards a degree.

According to Sam, qualified cyber security professionals could enjoy a lot of perks.

"Cyber security is a career that can take you anywhere. You can work from your home or in an office, from anywhere in the world, across a wide range of industries," Sam said.

"Best of all, cyber security is a dynamic field; you'll never be bored, you'll learn something new every day and salaries can be high."

According to the Hudson Digital and Technology Salary Guide, entry-level security analysts in Queensland can earn between $85,000-$95,000 a year.

The Queensland and Australian Governments are serious about tackling cyber crime and have invested significantly in this important industry. Australia's Cyber Security Strategy 2020 is a 10-year, $1.67 billion plan to protect and defend our nation's critical infrastructure against cyber threats.

If you're unsure about committing to a full qualification, TAFE Queensland also offers the Introduction to Cyber Security (NONAC02019) short course which provides basic cyber security awareness training and will teach you how to protect yourself online.