Andrew Paul, computing lecturer at Northern Regional College explained the significance of the collaboration with IMSM:
“Cyber security is a huge topic in the computing industry and our increasing reliance on technology means that it impacts on all aspects of our lives. The College has been developing the Cyber Security module over the last 18 months and we are delighted that our work has culminated in this exciting project with IMSM. Their ambition is to increase the quality of work in the industry by educating for certification and consulting to meet internationally recognised standards (ISOs), mirroring the ambitions that the College aspires to for all its students.
“Thanks to this collaborative project, we will be able to offer practical cyber security training and techniques to our students. Normally, cyber security teaching would be theoretical and taught from textbooks but we’ve already flipped the classroom to allow students to get real hacking experiences, with IMSM then coming in to ‘spice up’ the auditing, standards and legislative content and give our students practical hands-on and industry derived experience in every section of the course.”
Andrew continued: “The world has changed as a result of the pandemic, and the demands on technology and changes in approach mean that cyber security is a concern for all businesses and organisations. This collaboration with IMSM, coupled with the professional competency and experience of our lecturers, will allow us to provide excellent opportunities for our students to keep in touch with latest trends and industry standards and to always be able to turn theory into practice, no matter what the challenges of global connectivity or working from home may be.”
He said that while many junior software engineers coming out of university or college know the theory of cyber security, they do not have the relevant experience to put their knowledge into practice, particularly when considering auditing procedures and expectations.
“Work experience has always been a key part of our Foundation Degree programme and the additional experience and professional development that our students will get with IMSM will be a further, invaluable boost for their CVs and enhance their employability compared to peers elsewhere,” he added.
Welcoming the collaboration with Northern Regional College, Maria Dimitrova, Head of Business Development and lead auditor at IMSM said: “Cyber security and ISO 270001 are so important for businesses, but it is essential to understand how it all fits into an organisation’s processes from a practical point of view.
“ISO 270001 is the best set of good practices that we can refer to. It has 114 controls and helps organisations protect their information, from HR, operations, legal compliance, business development and so on. This is a great opportunity for students at Northern Regional College to learn how the theoretical and academic competencies are used in an organisation from a practical point of view.”
Angela Breen, Northern Ireland Area Manager for IMSM said she was looking forward to engaging with the Foundation Degree Computing students at the College:
“IMSM has a societal obligation to promote Cyber Security so we are happy to help and play our part to help people to safe online. The work experience and accredited professional development training the students will get with IMSM will be a tangible outcome and will enhance their CV.”