Tuesday, 21 January 2020 01:30

Training in cybersecurity a ‘hot topic’ in Australia

John Lang, CEO of DDLS

DDLS is one of Australia’s pre-eminent IT training companies, and we are currently experiencing increased growth in demand in cloud-related training and for training on cyber security, a hot topic across the Australian market.

1) DDLS describes itself as Australia’s largest provider of corporate IT and process training. Can you tell me something about what sort of training you provide, and give some idea of the scale of your operations?

DDLS provides over 700 instructor led courses covering all major areas of Information Technology. This covers Cyber Security, Cloud, Technical, Project Management, Business Analysis, IT Service Management and even soft skills training such as leadership and communication.

These courses are run in partnership with the world’s leading IT vendors such as Microsoft, AWS, Google, Cisco, VMware, CompTIA, Axelos, DevOps institute, Red Hat, (ISC) ISACA, EC-Council, SAP and more. In terms of scale, DDLS trains approx. 15,000 students annually across our 7 locations; we have 60 classrooms, over 100 trainers and we schedule over 3,500 courses each year.

2) How do people undertake DDLS training? Can people participate remotely? Do you offer online courses that people can undertake in their own time?

People can come to one of our 7 campuses across Australia, all conveniently located in central CBD locations – we have campuses in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin and Manila. Our courses are scheduled regularly and typically take 1-5 days to complete. Our instructor led classroom training facilities include 60 fully equipped classrooms and more than 600 networked workstations.

We also offer virtual training via our tele-presence solution, DDLS Anywhere. DDLS has 30 cutting-edge telepresence enabled classrooms using Cisco equipment which allows training to be delivered anywhere with an internet connection and webcam. Over the last 12 months, 1,200 of our students consumed their course via our DDLS Anywhere solution.

DDLS also regularly delivers on-site training to both Government and Corporate clients where training material is sensitive or customised.

3) What skills training are you seeing the highest demand for? Do you think this reflects the demand in the job market?

We’re currently seeing significant growth in cloud related training, especially Microsoft Azure and AWS. Cyber Security is also a hot topic at the moment which is why we’ve partnered with the leading cyber security vendors, (ISC)2, EC-Council, ISACA, CompTIA, and Axelos (RESILIA) to deliver the most in-demand cyber security training in the Australian market. In terms of IT Service Management, ITIL is always a very popular option, and with the recent release of ITIL 4, this has reinvigorated demand. DevOps is also experiencing significant growth.

This closely represents what’s happening in the jobs market, for example the number of unfilled cyber security jobs is predicted to reach 3.5 million by 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures research. We recently added the industry leading CISSP course and certification. We reached 30 students in record time, in fact the quickest of any course DDLS has ever brought into the portfolio.

4) What advice would you give people looking to get into IT, or to upgrade their skills? What training do you think would serve them best?

It really depends on where their interests lie. There are so many areas of speciality within IT, Developer, cloud administrator, data scientist, there is honestly something for everyone.

However, if I were to pick one area - the need for Cyber Security Professionals is really ramping up, and there is currently a significant skills shortage in this area, so if I wanted to be guaranteed a job, with a decent pay packet, Cyber Security is where I’d be heading!

5) Tell me about your trainers. Are they mostly full time, or are they people taking time out from roles that reflect the skills they teach? IT is a fast-moving industry. How do they keep up to date?

We have over 100 highly qualified, cross-vendor-certified instructors with technical expertise, proficiency and extensive hands-on experience. We have a mix of both full-time and contract instructors, all of which are required to go through rigorous training to ensure DDLS

meets the stringent criteria set by our partner vendors. Given the dynamic nature of our industry, our trainers never stop learning - they are required to keep up-to-date with the latest products and releases from our vendors on a regular basis. And of course, they get to train people from world-class organisations, down too small to medium sized organisations, hearing about their challenges, and how training can help solve them, they are also curators of businesses technology and process problems. DDLS’ trainers are constantly rated above industry average, scoring an average rating of 8.1/9.

6) Tell me about the Australian Institute of ICT (AIICT), which your bought in 2018, What does it offer and how does it complement DDLS?

Owned and operated by DDLS, AIICT is an online training provider offering industry recognised Diplomas in ICT and Web Development, as well as Recognition for Prior Learning for practising professionals seeking to formalise qualification for their skills and experience.

The qualifications offered by AIICT are perfect for those wanting to get into the IT industry and are a great spring board onto areas of specialisation offered by DDLS. From a target audience perspective, AIICT is targeted more towards the consumer market, whereas DDLS is focused more on Corporate IT Training.

7) Looking ahead how do you see the demand for IT skills changing? Are there any new areas of IT that you are planning to offer training in?

Keeping our portfolio relevant requires a combination of crystal ball gazing combined with solution road maps of existing vendors, but listening to the needs of our clients is the single biggest driver. We hear the industry talk about BlockChain for example, but this isn’t yet business as usual for most businesses.

We see data manipulation, process and systems automation and development as areas we want to strengthen our offering. I hate to mention cyber security again, but we need to expand our portfolio to include content of cyber auditors and training aligned to the very specific needs of the CIO and CISO.

We have software testing, courses that focus on securing the cloud, irrespective of vendor. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning coming soon, as well as recently introduced DevOps Leader and AgileShift. You can see that the days when a training provider could meet the needs of its clients with Novell and Lotus training are long gone.

8) How do you seen new technologies like augmented and virtual reality impacting the IT training industry?

This is the magic lamb of learning, except the wishes are not limited to three. Imagine you want to teach people the geometry of building a wall to a plan. The immediate barrier to offering this is physical resources. You could build a VR solution to provide a high degree of skill without wasting a brick.

Augmented reality would then ensure that the first attempts at physical wall building are more likely to be correct, before the next generation of tradies are released to refine (not learn) the skills they have already gain via VR and AR. You can train more people, more quickly.

That same approach properly more easily translates to trade or health care skills than a cloud architect, but the opportunity is clearly huge.

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