Security Is Often Overlooked In IT Training

Despite cyber security being increasingly acknowledged as a major threat to businesses and citizens alike, computing education has generally allowed security to take a bit of a back seat.

In the interconnected modern world, an awareness of internet security is vital, whether at work or in the home.  Learning something early on in life helps to solidify knowledge in the mind, and for many, the best way to ensure that the country is protected from our current skills shortage in this area is to get education correct as early as possible

Lack of security awareness begins in school

As young people are one of the most at risk groups when it comes to the dangers of the internet, it is surprising to see that the UK has for the most part provided zero cyber security education at school. Whilst the days of eye glazing lessons where pupils learn nothing but Microsoft Office are now over, despite the renewed focus on other skills such as coding, security has generally been left out of the curriculum.

In an effort to change this, the UK government are now investing in cyber security for youngsters in a 5 year pilot that may form the basis of a future IT syllabus for young people.

Their hope is that such a measure will help to offset the huge skills shortage that has seen the UK being left behind by rivals in Europe and North America. But for many in the industry, it’s a mystery as to why this has taken so long.

Computer Science Courses Often Lack a Cyber Security Focus

Even across the pond where the skills gap in cyber security is far less pronounced, according to the Business Insider university rankings, none of the US top ten computer science university courses require any cyber security classes, and in the top fifty, only three require students to take cyber security classes.

In a study conducted by CloudPassage, of 121 schools, only one requires three or more cyber security classes to graduate.

The UK fares no better, with the majority of degree courses in computer science containing only a small introductory component to information security. Owing to the fairly static nature of university syllabuses and the incredibly dynamic nature of information security, often these components are somewhat out of date and lag the latest advancements. Equally they also tend to focus exclusively on technology rather than the human elements of security.

If your background is in IT, industry backed supplementary courses represent the best option for progressing into information security. For a total newcomer, if you have an interest in cyber security you will fare better if you aim for specialised qualifications in security, or be prepared to supplement a computer science degree with further security courses to build on your skills.

If the UK is to future proof itself against emerging security threats (or well developed threats from countries such as Russia) then it needs to build on the existing work that the government is doing to include more security content in IT training and education.

If you are interested in learning more about specialist information security degrees, check out our available courses here.