The cyber skills gap
UCD Centre for Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Investigation (UCD CCI) is a member of the CYBER SKILLS Project which is a partnership between industry and academia to build a community and a collective voice to address the shortage of people with specialist cyber security skills. 48% of vacancies in this field remain open and it can take many months to fill them. The large number of data centres and multinational corporations in Ireland is one factor driving further development of skills in this field, to create trust in Ireland's human capital infrastructure for the future. The project aims to help close the skills gap.
The CYBER SKILLS project held a Virtual Open Day 1st Sept 2021 with introductory talks from the Project Lead, lecturers and course coordinators. The first courses in the initial learning pathways commenced on 20th September 2021. During the project, UCD CCI will develop pathways for the financial services sector. UCD CCI will work with the financial services sector, including Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI), and the Financial Services Cybersecurity Community (FSCC) to analyse their specific requirements, and to prioritise and develop resources to support their training needs.
The project brings together educational institutions from across Ireland and abroad to collaborate and address the cyber skills shortage challenge. UCD is a partner in the project through the School of Computer Science Centre for Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Investigation working with Munster Technological University (MTU), University of Limerick (UL) and Technological University Dublin (TUD).
Knowledge, skills and training for a career in cybersecurity
Programs give learners the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to pursue or enhance a career with cybersecurity expertise. The mission of the project encompasses three objectives:
- to create Innovative enterprise focused and research-informed cyber security courses through collaboration;
- to empower learners to design their own course of study through pathways with straightforward articulations and progression routes and finally;
- to facilitate new learning pathways using micro credentials and by capturing learning through e-portfolios.
Find out more about the courses here.
Innovative and flexible delivery
CYBER SKILLS courses and pathways have been developed in close alignment with the NIST NICE Cyber Security Workforce framework. This framework has been developed in a partnership between government, academia, and the private sector focused on cybersecurity education, training, and workforce development. It provides a common definition of cybersecurity work roles using a comprehensive list of cybersecurity tasks along with the knowledge, skills and abilities required to perform those tasks. This has allowed CYBER SKILLS to describe learning outcomes which align to well recognised definitions of knowledge and skills.
The resources for learners include a Cyber Range which provides a secure, sandboxed area which simulates real-world feel scenarios and environments where students can test their new skills. Labs and assignments will be used to reinforce the content from the lectures. A full range of scenarios will provide the opportunity to test the vast array of techniques required to keep ahead in this challenging ever changing environment.
The CYBER SKILLS project
Under the Higher Education Authority's Human Capital Initiative, the CYBER SKILLS project was awarded €8.1 million in funding to address the skill shortages in the cybersecurity sector. Currently, there is a global shortage of cybersecurity professionals and the project is designed to enhance Ireland's competitiveness in this context. Mindful of the needs of enterprise for accessible and relevant education, the project will develop a range of micro-credentials that can be used as building blocks for CPD or more formal qualifications. To obtain maximum value and to address a wide range of business sector needs, the project will deploy the concept of Reusable Learning Objects - digital resources of varying levels of granularity that can be used and remixed dynamically to provide customised learning experiences and learning paths. The project will be coordinated across four of Ireland's top universities: Munster Technological University, University College Dublin, University of Limerick and Technological University Dublin. Due to its long-standing relationship with the financial services sector, UCD CCI will focus its efforts on developing learning resources for this specific group. UCD CCI will be supported in this endeavour by its partners in the Financial Services Sector.
Background to the Higher Education Authority’s Human Capital Initiative
The project is funded under the HCI Pillar 3, Innovation and Agility, which has a budget of €197 million over the 5-year period, 2020 to 2024, for 22 projects in higher education institutions, 17 of which involve collaborations between institutions. The primary objective of the HCI is building capacity to meet priority skill needs for Irish enterprises, society and the economy. The projects approved under HCI Pillar 3 were selected by a panel of experts with national and international expertise following a competitive tendering process.