Real tech competency requires training

Technology’s speed of development and volume makes some direction necessary.
Sep 22, 2021
Tech moves fast and tends to outpace everything else.

Whatever ever the future looks like it’s sure to be tech heavy and given the pace and volume of development, real competence requires some instruction.

And it’s a pretty safe bet that the future will not always be a benign place; two skills that students will need are digital forensics and defensive cyber skills as cyberspace presents a fresh frontier for crime.

“The biggest challenge I see with new students is their ability to have in-depth knowledge across all the different systems and technologies used in organisations today. Being able to investigate or defend an organisation from a cyberattack effectively requires a lot of technical knowledge of all the technologies that are being used,” says Josh Lemon, certified instructor at SANS Institute.

“However, I also understand the challenges of getting practical cybersecurity skills into a state or national curriculum, but this doesn't have to be complicated. We don't need to turn school kids into cybersecurity professionals, we need to ensure they understand how to use technology and the internet safely. No different to how we teach the fundaments of history or science."

Kids are comfortable with tech and tend to pick it up quickly but there is a vast amount to contend with and formal education isn’t keeping up.

“I think the reality is education has not moved as fast as the workforce when it comes to technology – look at how we make students sit exams with a pen and paper. I think the last pen and paper exam I took was in Year 12, and I have never used pen and paper for an exam since.

“This isn't just a challenge for students entering the cybersecurity field but also seasoned professionals. Both organisations and individuals at all levels need to realise the only way to stay ahead of threat actors is continued education, hands-on skills, and practice.

“It's the desire to really get into the weeds of how a particular technology works that's important when it comes to cybersecurity. Understanding how some technologies and devices work, from a cybersecurity perspective, it's about being naturally fluent with technology. It requires a strong knowledge of maths, physics and critical thinking. It's these skills I often spend more time assisting younger students with when teaching digital forensics or defensive cybersecurity,” Lemon says.

IoT is here and growing, some classrooms are already using smart boards, integrated roll marking, digital dashboards for rooms, despite that what it is and what it will bring needs some definition.

“There is little consistency on what IoT is used or how and when it is. Education departments need to look at how IoT is used in workplaces and set aside funding and requirements to integrate IoT further into the classroom.

“Businesses and consumers are embracing IoT at a rapid pace. We need to ensure students are comfortable with the concept and the use of IoT in their world. Along with the limitations to ethical issues IoT can also present. These issues need to be learnt and discussed in a classroom with an educator that can help young minds weigh up the risks, challenges and opportunities that IoT presents.

Lemon believes cyber skills should be woven into school curriculum at the same time a laptop, iPad or Chromebook into the hands of students.

“As a father with a young son who is already using a computer in the classroom, I'm disappointed to see minimal cyber safety skills taught while we start allowing kids to use technology."

Photo by Soumil Kumar from Pexels