Victorian students connect with cyber professionals in skills challenge

Victorian students connect with cyber professionals in skills challenge

The challenge will connect students with cyber professionals, creating solutions to realistic problems

Students in Victoria will have the opportunity to get involved in the state’s Cyber Schools Skills Challenge as it kicks off this month.

The Challenge will run until November 17, and is open to all secondary schools, TAFE students and teachers. It will be delivered through Optus Business and LifeJourney, and aims to connect students with cyber professionals through an online platform where they develop solutions to realistic problems.

The challenge is part of the state’s Cyber Victoria Program (CVP) that aims to encourage youngsters to consider cyber security as a career option.

“With a demand for cyber skills growing rapidly, Victoria is in a position to create more jobs and add to our 160,000 digital tech workforce,” Minister for small business, trade and innovation, Wade Noonan, said.

In Victoria, the digital technology sector generates about $35 billion in revenue per year and produces about 37 per cent of the country’s digital tech graduates.

Earlier this year, Optus Business launched a new online cyber education program called the Optus Cyber Security Experience.

In addition to enabling students to explore the possibility of a career in cyber security, the program looks to address the cyber skills shortage in Australia.

Secondary school, Barker College, was the first in Australia to sign up to the program.

In the past few months, Optus Business has been boosting its investment in cyber security through its Advanced Security Operations Centre and partnerships with La Trobe and Macquarie Universities.

The moves to train up Australia's next generation in the ways of cyber comes as a recent study conducted by Intel Security reveals that Australia topped the list in cyber security skills shortage with intrusion detection, secure software development, and attack mitigation, being the most desirable.

Indeed, a shortage of cyber skills - or rather, IT skills - in general continues to hamper Australia's tech industry, with a study by Brocade earlier this year finding that Australia is lagging well behind its international counterparts in terms of its preparation to meet digital transformation goals, largely as a result of the local skills supply, or lack thereof.

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