La Trobe University empowers professionals to reskill in cybersecurity
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La Trobe University offers 36 short courses in cybersecurity, providing upskilling and reskilling opportunities for professionals from all industries, regardless of whether they have experience in IT. These microcredentials allow participants to efficiently develop the knowledge they need, from foundational cybersecurity concepts to specific skills such as Python programming, penetration testing and ethical hacking.
Monica Nowell, an Account Manager, enrolled in the Cybersecurity Fundamentals short course to improve her understanding of cybersecurity concepts for work. Despite having no background in the field, Monica found the course material to be engaging and eye-opening.
‘Before the course, I was struggling to engage in what I was reading about cybersecurity, which is part of the reason why I did it – because I needed to understand it to do my job,’ she said.
‘The biggest challenge was getting started when I thought that cybersecurity was not for me. I probably had my own internal bias around my capability and also around whether it was an interesting topic. But once I actually got into it, I was very engaged. And that’s why I’ve enrolled in another course to follow up from it,’ said Monica, who has enrolled to study the Cyber and Data Security short course next.
Monica said she found the course improved her cybersecurity literacy and her ability to communicate about cyber-related topics at a foundational level. ‘I feel like I learnt a lot and could speak the language better. It gave me more confidence in what I’m doing.’
The short course experience helps professionals like Monica boost their cybersecurity proficiency and confidence using a blend of structured learning and real-world application, peer-to-peer interaction, a flexible learning structure and access to some of the field’s leading experts.
Benefit from the best of both worlds with La Trobe’s short courses
‘Participants in the LTU short courses benefit from the best of both worlds. Learning designers partner with subject matter experts to ensure that the most valuable industry information is delivered in a way that is structured to meet specific learning objectives,’ said Kylie Butler, Learning Designer.
Each course’s learning objectives have been carefully designed in partnership with industry leaders to align with identified cybersecurity skills gaps in the workforce. These job-ready skills are many and varied and include foundational skills such as analysing and responding to cybersecurity threats, through to managing a startup venture.
‘The examples and activities used throughout the course are designed with their immediate and longer-term application in mind, so participants may use them in their daily work context or use them to help them transition into another role,’ Learning Designer Craig Bellamy added.
Peer-to-peer interaction: a vital component of learning
‘Interacting with other learners is a very important principle in adult learning. Professional learners and older learners come to short courses with a lot of experience, so we like to draw that experience out of them,’ said Craig Bellamy.
To achieve this, the short courses include reflective tasks that prompt participants to consider and share how concepts relate to their own practice, and to engage in discussion, critique and peer review.
‘Students may be guided to respond to something they’ve read or to give examples from their own experience. This really helps you to consolidate your understanding as you can see the course content through someone else’s eyes,’ said Kylie Butler.
Monica, who participated in the Cybersecurity Fundamentals short course, noted that she found the peer-to-peer interaction consolidated her understanding of what she was learning. ‘It was like having a classroom discussion but in a digital way that I’d never experienced before,’ Monica said. ‘Some of the discussion areas were very thought-provoking. So I might come to it from a particular angle that I held onto, and then others took from that same information very different things. It was great!’
As with traditional face-to-face learning, networking is both important and largely informal.
‘The different types of discussions can be determined by the technology as well,’ Craig Bellamy said. ‘Sometimes it’s really lightweight, such as activities to break the ice, using padlets and mediums like that. In one course, students are asked to find and post a photo of their first computer (as an ice-breaker); it’s the sort of stuff that students enjoy and that gets them to talk to each other, which is important.’
Flexible learning structure: designed with the working professional in mind
The La Trobe cybersecurity short courses are designed with the working professional in mind; as such, the coursework can be undertaken outside of business hours. There is an expectation of up to 20 hours of work per week, so students will need to allocate ample time across the week and some time on the weekend. The key to La Trobe short courses is flexibility.
‘Participants can do all the work whenever they wish, so long as they keep up those hours of about 20 hours per week. If they do that, they’ll find the courses a challenging and rewarding experience,’ said Craig Bellamy.
Interact with facilitators and get your questions answered
The short courses offer ample opportunity for participants to interact with the course facilitators and discuss any misconceptions about the learning content.
‘This may be through their challenging responses to forum debates or one-to-one discussions in the weekly drop-in sessions.
‘There is also a non-compulsory weekly class where participants come together to discuss the activities of the week to consolidate and extend their learning,’ Craig Bellamy said.
‘Most of the short courses have around three hours of time each week dedicated to peer and instructor interaction. This time may be spent in Q&A or it may be spent talking through that week’s learning materials, exploring examples, problem solving together or just unpacking some of the juicier concepts,’ Kylie Butler said.
La Trobe’s short courses in cybersecurity provide an engaging and accessible entry point into the field for professionals from all industries. With a blend of structured learning, real-world application, peer-to-peer interaction, flexible learning structure and access to great instructors, participants can efficiently develop their knowledge and skills in cybersecurity. By choosing La Trobe’s short courses, professionals can benefit from the best of both worlds and start pivoting into cybersecurity.
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