A Career in Cybersecurity

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CYBERSECURITY : Green button keyboard computer. Double Exposure Effects. Digital Business and Technology Concept.
CYBERSECURITY : Green button keyboard computer. Double Exposure Effects. Digital Business and Technology Concept. (Photo Credit: www.shutterstock.com)

by Mark Brits, senior general manager of Prudential Division at Banking Association South Africa

One of the most fascinating careers has to be the world of cybersecurity. The threat has been around for a long time, previously referred to as information security, now rebranded cyber, it has captured the minds of our youth.

A challenge for many organisations is the lack of skills in this critical area. However, this has been getting attention and in the not too distant future, South Africa will have formal education qualifications ranging from diplomas for school leavers at NQF 5 to graduate and post-graduate degrees.

To professionalise this industry, a framework has been developed consisting of 36 job descriptions that will provide a spectrum of careers necessary to build a credible industry. These job descriptions will be accompanied by educational requirements that will ensure the candidate has the level of expertise necessary to fulfil the responsibilities assigned to the job.

Course content is nearing finalisation and both universities, Technical Vocational and Training (TVET) colleges and education institutions will be in a position to offer tailor made courses to meet these requirements.

A professional body may be established to ensure the cybersecurity career retains its professional status. Such a body will be able to represent the cybersecurity profession in discussions with government, standard setters and other interested parties ensuring that we remain internationally relevant in the fight against cyber-crime.

More suited to the youth, this initiative will provide opportunities to those that can excel at mathematics and have the right analytic approach. Those that are currently in school, will be well advised to consider this as a career of choice, as South Africa moves rapidly into the fourth industrial revolution. The digital age will create new threats and challenges for organisations required to secure private data and prevent and detect cyber threats.

This initiative will remove the blurred lines that currently exist within job descriptions and job titles, remuneration and career planning.

During this year a lot of work will go into registering job descriptions, complying with the regulatory requirements and facilitating the development of various curricula. I remain cautiously optimistic that we will be able to conclude this by the New Year and with a bit of luck we will see the first students registering for 2020.

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