Wrexham University Unveils New Degree to Combat Cybersecurity Skills Gap

Rear view of young man typing and looking at computer monitor while sitting at the table in dark roomA dramatic increase in cyber security attacks has created a crisis for companies unable to fill a skills gap in the IT arena.

As demand for workers trained in cyber security reaches new levels, a global study by job site Indeed revealed Britain is second worst in the world for lack of expertise in the sector.

Wrexham Glyndwr University has addressed the problem by unveiling the new BSc (Hons) Cyber Security.

Dr Paul Comerford, Lecturer in Computer Networks and Cyber Security, says the institution is well-placed to support businesses by training the next generation.

“The need for cyber security skills expertise has become a significant issue in recent years and one that has been recognised by governments all over the world,” said Dr Comerford.

“The UK government has announced an additional £1.9billion investment to combat cyber-attacks and ensure the safety and security of its people.

“However, to provide security for the UK means training the next generation of cyber security experts for a range of roles in businesses and organisations of all sizes.”

The report stated that the threat posed by hackers and cyber criminals has led to the number of internet security job vacancies in Britain to rise by 32% between 2014 and 2016, while candidate numbers have failed to keep pace.

The data also showed the number of cyber security roles advertised in the UK was the third highest in the world, but employer demand exceeded candidate interest by more than three times.

While all major countries studied saw fewer jobseekers searching for cyber security jobs than there were vacancies, the mismatch was especially severe in Britain.

The number of job searches reached just 31.6% of the number of jobs posted, giving Britain a skills gap second only to that of Israel.

A spokesman for Indeed said: “With British businesses crying out for people with cyber security expertise, gaining these sorts of skills will make you very employable.

“Thousands of organisations – from companies to schools and charities – need expert help to protect their sensitive data, so cyber security professionals with the most in-demand skills are finding they are in a seller’s market.”

Dr Comerford believes the shortfall will act as a further incentive to prospective students considering a higher education in north east Wales.

“All indications are that the lack of candidates with the required technology security skills will continue to grow,” he said.

“Our degree gives students a grounding in digital technology and security, beginning with physical and environmental security factors and the identification and management of risks to security and privacy.

“Throughout the course students are trained to be competent in discussing and analysing security threats and determining appropriate countermeasures and organisational strategies to mitigate these risks.

“We also prepare students for the many challenges associated with developing secure computer systems and in protecting everyone, from an individual’s data and privacy, to developing robust infrastructures for large organisations.”

Dr Comerford added: “In tandem with these practical, technology-based expertise, we train our students to be aware of the legal and ethical frameworks surrounding information management and privacy.

“This is strongly underpinned by theory and current research, ensuring that our graduates are ready to take on the crucial roles and challenges that individuals and companies around the UK desperately need.”

The degree contains modules in specialisms such as Applied Network Security, Managing Data, Cyber Security and Forensics, and Ethical Hacking.

Visit www.wgu.ac.uk/cybersecurity for more information.

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