Dr Eoin Byrne, Cyber Ireland Cluster Manager, Prof. Donna O’Shea, Chair of Cyber Security at MTU and Jacqueline Kehoe, Cyber Skills project manager MTU launching the new Cyber Skills Project. Photo: John Allen

No ‘quick fix’ to skills shortage

A new €8 million project has been launched on Leeside to tackle the critical skills shortage of cyber security professionals in Ireland.

The collaborative Cyber Skills Project is led by Munster Technological University (MTU) with academic partners including UCD and the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative based in Virginia Tech in the US.

The project was successfully launched recently from Cork’s VE Studio by project leader and Chair of Cyber Security at MTU, Prof. Donna O’Shea.

Speaking at the launch, Prof. O’Shea said in an increasingly complex threat landscape, cybersecurity professionals are a company’s best line of defence.

She said it is therefore vital to work together as academic institutions with the aim of keeping ahead of cyber criminals in a fast changing technological environment.

“It is essential to develop innovative, cyber security, academic pathways that are focused on, and aligned to, industry needs,” she said.

Prof. O’Shea went on to announce three academic pathways in cyber security that have been developed with Dell Technologies and Mastercard.

These pathways include certificates in Secure Network Operations, Secure Software Development and Secure Software Architecture.

Brendan Gormley, Head of Information Security Architecture and Engineering Mastercard, Dublin said: “Safety and security is at the heart of everything we do. At Mastercard’s Dublin Tech Hub, we’re proud to help build and support the development of Irish students and experienced professionals in the cybersecurity and technology fields.”

The pathways developed as part of the Cyber Skills project were identified in a recent Cyber Ireland Skills report as key areas where skills shortages existed.

At the launch, Dr Eoin Byrne, Cyber Ireland Cluster Manager emphasized that there is no “quick fix” to addressing these skills shortages.

He said a sustained long-term strategy is needed to develop home grown cyber security talent in Ireland.

The Cyber Skills project is funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) through its Human Capital Initiative.

The project will continue to engage with other industries in ensuring that it continues to deliver industry focused and research informed cyber security skills.

Cyber Skills will now be accepting applications for its innovative pathways and welcomes further engagement with industry.

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