New cyber security qualification for the UK

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A brand new qualification for those looking to gain a foundation in cyber security has been launched, with backing from UK industry, government and education institutions.

Cyber security

The UK’s first Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) in cyber security is a level three qualification – the equivalent of an AS Level – and can be worth up to 70 UCAS points. University students will be interested to know that the qualification is open to anyone and can be studied in an independent capacity by registering through Cyber Security Challenge UK.

“The subject is becoming increasingly important and for it to be officially recognised at this level paves the way for individuals to consider a career in the sector much earlier on,” said Stephanie Daman, CEO of Cyber Security Challenge UK.

“You don’t need to be a maths genius or ‘computer geek’ to find a role; cyber security encompasses such a wide range of areas – from risk management to biometrics to behaviour analytics. We therefore need to attract an equally wide range of students from all walks of life, to fill these jobs. I would urge those at school considering their career options to think about this sector, and those looking for a career change to do so as well.”

The EPQ is based on the newly agreed National Occupation Standards (NOS) for cyber security. It aims to be relevant for industry, while at the same time providing a wide range of topics for students to engage with, as well as serving as a starting point for anyone looking to enter the industry. It was designed by Cyber Security Challenge UK in collaboration with a number of independent cyber education specialists including (ISC)2 – the world’s largest body of info security professionals.

By 2020 there is set to be a global shortfall of cyber security workers in the region of 1.5 million, according to (ISC)2. This scarcity is putting upward pressure on salaries in the sector, with 15 per cent of those currently in the industry earning over £100,000 per year.