As we celebrate Cyber Scotland Week (22-26 April), Sharon Burns, Curriculum Manager for Computing at Fife College takes a look at the importance and expansion of Cyber Security courses.

The internet and digital technologies are transforming our society by driving economic growth, connecting people and providing new ways to communicate and co-operate with one another.

These are exciting times and it is widely accepted that we are now at the start of a new fourth industrial revolution as developments in computing power and a range of digital enabling technologies are converging to produce a new generation of cyber-connected applications.

The opportunities are endless, from smart homes and products to cyber manufacturing, travel and leisure, the changes are all around us.

Unfortunately, along with the positives there are also some challenges - the rise of the internet and digital technologies has led to the rise of cybercrime, such as identity theft, fraud, and blackmail within our communities. 

There is also a current skills shortage in the field of cyber security to defend against cyber-attacks.  I, along with others throughout the digital world, believe that education is key to addressing the skills gap.

To address the growing rise in easily preventable cybercrime Fife College launched a new HNC/HND Cyber Security course last year. Here students learn how to think like a hacker, and gain a deep understanding of security issues and concerns. The course introduces students to characteristics of cybercrime, security principles, technologies, and procedures to defend networks. The course also provides an understanding on how to develop security policies that comply with cyber security laws.

Reflecting rapidly growing business needs, students also learn procedures to implement data confidentiality, integrity, availability and security controls on networks, servers, and applications, building both technical and professional skills to pursue a great career in cyber security.

We believe it’s never too early to start preparing for an exciting career – working through our School College Partnership Programme we offer an introduction to Cyber Security to high school pupils who can study for a National Progression Award Cyber Security (SCQF Level 5). This gives pupils the perfect introduction to cyber safety and the skills and knowledge they need to progress on to further courses at Fife College where they can continue to study this exciting subject all the way through to degree level.

Businesses can also benefit from our expertise thanks to our one-day short course in Cyber Security. The aim of this course is to provide delegates with an overview of the types of cyber threats, and the impact of cyber disruptions to the company’s systems, applications and data – an ideal first step for any business looking to ensure they are cyber secure.

Fife College is looking ahead to ensure the courses we deliver reflect the needs of employers and businesses in Fife and beyond, to ensure our students get the latest skills and qualifications which will prepare them for exciting careers in this fast pace sector while protecting us all from the hackers and demons of our new cyber world.