Canberra Cyber Hub – insights from Michael Frater

27 Oct 2021


  • The Canberra based Cyber security sector is growing to tap into an estimated $147b global market share.
  • Skill shortages are an issue, but expertise in governance, risk and project management are needed in addition to technical expertise
  • There are opportunities for the ACS to work with the Canberra Cyber Hub to define and build the skill base of a modern cyber security professional

It feels like we hear every day about new cyber security threats, which affect us personally and in our businesses. Some attacks are launched by foreign governments to obtain information or influence the way that Australians think and act. Others come from criminal organisations, who make money either by stealing data or through demanding ransoms after blocking access to data or resources.

The need to counter the cyber threat has created a huge global market for cyber security services and technology, estimated at $147 billion per annum. Many Canberra cyber businesses have grown by tapping into this global market, with the Australian component estimated to be more than $3 billion per year and growing rapidly.

Canberra’s cyber ecosystem is very diverse. It includes companies providing specific cyber security services, many focusing on support for government clients. There are companies providing more broadly based ICT services who are expanding their offerings by providing security-focused versions of these services. There are companies who are manufacturing innovative hardware solutions to cyber security threats. Finally, there are world class providers of education and training who are creating tomorrow’s cyber workforce.

The breadth of skills required to meet modern cyber-security challenges traditional notions of what it means to be a cyber-security professional. Long gone are the days when IT security threats are countered by purely technical solutions. This can be seen in the diversity of Canberra’s cyber workforce. As well as people who come from traditional IT backgrounds, it includes many who have brought vital cyber skills from other professions, including skills in governance, risk management and project management. This diversity can also be seen in the education and training that is offered to future cyber security professionals, ranging from technical computer science courses, governance, management and even courses on cyber issues in politics and international relations. Cyber security has built a reputation as an industry that is creating thousands of new jobs and provides rewarding, secure and well-paid careers.

There is an important role for professional associations such as the ACS in supporting this broadening of the cyber security skill base. By identifying changes in the skill base for cyber security professionals and recognising the non-traditional pathways that people take to acquire these skills, professional organisations help employers to identify the talent that they need and help people to grow their careers.

A shortage of skilled workers is a major barrier to the growth of Australia’s cyber businesses. This is a world-wide challenge that requires innovative local solutions to increase the flow of qualified professionals into employment in Canberra’s cyber ecosystem.

The ACT Government has announced the formation of the Canberra Cyber Hub to support Canberra cyber businesses. A major focus of the Hub will be on ensuring that tomorrow’s skilled cyber workforce is available to Canberra’s cyber companies. Working with employers and providers of education and training, the Hub is developing skills pathways to increase the flow of qualified people into employment. These pathways provide opportunity for skills development of people already working in cyber security, giving new skills to IT professionals who wish to specialise in cyber security, and cross-training in cyber security to support people bringing skills developed in other professions to cyber security problems. Bringing people from other professions into cyber security represents a major opportunity for growth in Canberra’s cyber ecosystem. The Hub is working with employers, universities and registered training organisations to develop new approaches to ensure that companies have access to the skilled workforce they need to grow.

The Canberra Cyber Hub will also work to help small to medium businesses grow. This year, in partnership with the CBR Innovation Network, a business accelerator program was delivered to support 23 local companies to hone their skills in marketing, develop new customers and attract investment.

"Cyber security can be a great career choice, and Canberra is a great place to be a cyber security professional." Said, Dr Michael Frater, project lead for the Canberra Cyber Hub.

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