Enrolments: 435,224

Master Degree and Graduate Certificate Course Enrolments: 8,865

The total number of Master degree and Graduate Certificate enrolments since Charles Sturt University and IT Masters launched our first qualification in 2003.

Short Course Enrolments: 426,359

The total number of enrolments in our free short courses that we offer as a taster of what it is like to study via Distance Education with Charles Sturt University.

ADF Cyber Gap Program & ITM-CSU Student Testimonials

Robert

Graduate Certificate in Cyber Security
ADF Cyber Gap Program 2021

Your background is in networking. Why did you decide to pursue cyber security, and why at ITM-CSU?

Networking provided me with a great foundation to build Cyber Security knowledge upon. As a network engineer I have a lot of exposure to many security technologies and systems. However as security is increasingly becoming the focal point for technological decisions; design and implementation, I found myself asking a lot more security-related questions. I decided that I would prefer to be the person that answers these questions, rather than ask them.

When I gained the opportunity to enrol in University qualifications though the ADF I chose IT Masters / CSU because of the familiarity with Cyber Security related education gained thorough the Short Courses offered by IT Masters. This helped greatly to settle into online learning, understand the material, and apply it to my current role.

You've completed quite a few short courses with ITM. What made you decide to go one step further into post grad study?

The opportunity from the ADF Cyber Gap Program meant that I could reach further than I normally would on my own.  I had considered post grad study for some time but there was always something getting in the way. After I was accepted into the ADF Cyber Gap program the decision to jump into a Grad Cert was an easy one with zero regrets.

Has your study with ITM-CSU and the ADF Cyber Gap Program changed how you see your career progressing?

Definitely. In my current role I am branching out to make business decisions affecting areas such as Business Continuity, Incident Response and Asset Maintenance among others. I see these opportunities only growing as I learn more and take on more responsibility.

Any tips for keen applicants in the next round?

“Be persistent and tenacious”, were the words said to us by the Program Director on our program induction session.  It might sounds cliché but be confident in yourself. It is not about what you know now, but your potential to learn and desire take on new challenges. Don’t worry if you are new to Cyber Security or even IT in general.  That isn’t what it’s about.  Someone who is confident, has a keen work ethic and is eager to learn will succeed over someone who may already be competent but lacks the desire and passion.

What is the best aspect of the ADF Cyber Gap Program from your experience?

The people I engaged with; fellow participants and mentors from the ADF and APS, has been the best experience of the program for me.  This has been online in forums helping others with learning, though zoom meetings with mentors, and in person through meetups.  Despite varied backgrounds of education and experience everyone has something in common.  Unfortunately we weren’t able to meet up officially due to COVID but if this hurdle is crossed the experience can only be better.

Katherine Taylor

Graduate Certificate in Cyber Security
ADF Cyber Gap Program 2021

You decided to pursue cyber security with no IT technical skills behind you. What is one tip you would give to someone who wants to get into the cyber security field?

I say go for it! Even though I don’t have a strictly technical background, I’ve always been interested in technical things and like to understand how things work. It was a pretty steep learning curve in first semester but I learned so much and felt really satisfied. If you’re prepared to put in the hard work to get up to speed, then it is totally worth it.

Has your study with ITM-CSU and the ADF Cyber Gap Program changed how you see your career progressing?

Yes – the course is a great combination of industry-specific subjects and the more academic theoretical subjects. The ADF CGP challenges and mentoring on top of that have also been really useful with insight into the hands-on aspects of cybersecurity and I have gained more of an idea of what technical areas I’m interested in (and also what I’m not interested in!)

What is the best aspect of the ADF Cyber Gap Program from your experience?

The mentoring component is really helpful especially to someone new to the industry. My mentor is providing me with career advice and direction that I might not have had otherwise.

What was each stage of the ADF Cyber Gap Program application stage like?

The application process similar to a job application with a written component addressing certain scenarios. It’s worth putting the time and effort into the application and really considering your answers.

How have ITM-CSU helped you during the application process?

ITM CSU were really helpful with my application for the Grad Cert in Cyber Security – In fact, I wouldn’t have applied for the Cyber Gap program without the support and encouragement of the ITM CSU staff. 

Any tips for keen applicants in the next round?

The great thing about Cyber Security is that it is such a vast field that requires a diversity of skillsets and backgrounds. If you have an interest in the field, don’t be discouraged if you don’t have technical background.

Paul Whiting

Graduate Certificate in Cyber Security
ADF Cyber Gap Program 2021

You've got a few industry certifications and postgrad qualifications under your belt. What made you decide to pursue cyber security with ITM-CSU?

I had taken a number of the free short courses with ITM, so I was very familiar with ITM and CSU. I was considering taking a course but couldn’t really afford to undertake any further study. Paul Laurenson, the ITM Enrolment and Credit Co-ordinator, was aware of this and contacted me to make me aware of the ADF Cyber Gap Program. When I found out I was successful, although I could have enrolled at any institution, the online delivery format at CSU really suited my work and family commitments. It was an easy choice to go with CSU. 

Has your study with ITM-CSU and the ADF Cyber Gap Program changed how do you see your career progressing?

I’ve been working in the IT industry for over 30 years and have been fortunate to have had a number of different roles during this time. I’m currently a Project/Delivery Manager with a consulting company, and the study with ITM-CSU and the ADF Cyber Gap Program (CGP) has provided me with a deeper appreciation of the potential cybersecurity risks and control measures we can put in place.

Our company is also looking at launching a new managed service offering, and the Cyber Security Management I’ve studied means I’m well placed to help develop and manage that service with the clients we’re bringing on board. During my career, I’ve been extremely lucky that none of the companies I’ve worked for, or clients I’ve worked with, have suffered a cybersecurity incident. I’ve been fascinated, and a little terrified, by what I’ve learned this year about the cyber security domain. I’m keen to continue studying and to keep an open mind about where it might lead me. When I finish this year, I’ll be capitalising on what I’ve learned to work towards some more cyber security credentials. 

What advice do you have for people wanting to make the move into cyber security?

Definitely apply for the ADF Cyber Gap Program. Besides the financial support during your studies, there are other benefits such as:

  • the support of a mentor working in cyber security for the federal government
  • an online training course to develop hands-on skills in threat analysis
  • career support and guidance with an emphasis on working in the federal government.

There is additional information you pick up from the other CGP participants. You are also made aware of cyber security job opportunities with the federal government, and advice is provided on how to apply for these roles. 

What was each stage of the ADF Cyber Gap Program application stage like?

It was very simple really. I filled in an application form which I downloaded from the CGP website, sent it in via email, and waited to hear back from the ADF. Between submitting my application and waiting to hear back from the ADF, I had to enrol in the course I wanted to do. In my case, it was the Graduate Certificate of Cyber Security at CSU. I found out my application for the Cyber Gap Program was successful via email as well – the process might change slightly from year to year. 

Any tips for keen applicants in the next round?

Fortunately, there weren’t any rounds to go through. It simply came down to the application I submitted. Besides basic personal information, when I applied there were 3 longer form questions of a certain word length (approximately 300-350 words). I created an MS-word document, copied the text of these 3 questions into this document, and wrote my reply beneath each question.

With my first attempt at answering these questions, I didn’t worry about the length, I just concentrated on capturing the ideas and content I wanted to use. When I finished, I used the Word Count feature to determine how short or long my response was to each question. Obviously, if it was short, I could add more content but if it was long then I would have to trim words out or rewrite parts of my response in order to have my answer be within the word limit and be as concise and punchy as possible. Once I was happy with my answers, I copied them into the application form, scanned it, and emailed it to the ADF. 

What is the best aspect of the ADF Cyber Gap Program from your experience?

There are many elements of the program that attracted me to it. Unfortunately, due to the Covid restrictions, there are some elements that we haven’t been able to participate in such as the week-long event in Canberra that I was particularly looking forward to it. This event was an opportunity to meet with the other participants, our mentors, and public servants with the aim of providing us with an understanding of working in cyber security for the federal government.

The aspect that I’ve appreciated the most is my mentor. He has been a great sounding board to answer the questions I’ve had about the field, the industry, and working in the public service in Canberra.

Joseph

Graduate Certificate in Cyber Security
ADF Cyber Gap Program 2021

How did undertaking short courses lead to your decision to apply for the Grad Cert in Cyber Security?

Undertaking the short courses gave me the exposure to the types of subjects, materials and delivery methods used and I found them all interesting. I think the format of the short courses worked well as you would have one lecture a week and then some summary questions, which is what you do for each subject once enrolled. The opportunity to obtain a subject credit for completing 3 short courses and passing the multiple-choice exams was also a great incentive which I took. The credit application was a quick and easy process.

What made the experience with our short courses so positive?

The mentors were a large part of this and very knowledgeable and always happy to answer questions from the group. The material was interesting and presented very professionally and very easy to follow. I felt the topics were well explained and also catered for people that were not experts in cyber security.

You started out in helpdesk and networking and systems support. How was the transition into cyber security?

I have not transitioned to a cyber role yet as I am still finishing my training which will be completed in about 8 weeks. I have already updated my resume and keeping an eye on potential opportunities to move into and remain very keen to.

How was the ADF Cyber Gap Program application process?

The application process is very straight forward and doesn’t take too much time. Most of the things you supply are just personal information, qualifications, work history, referees etc. They will ask you a few questions, we received three and they were things like why you are interested in cyber security, explaining security concepts to others, and working across larger teams to achieve goals.

Any tips for keen applicants in the next round?

Be honest and be genuine. Tell them why you want to move into cyber or why you deserve the opportunity. For myself I was genuinely interested in the Australian Defence Force and Australian Public sector, so I worked that into my answers. I also made mention of my ongoing commitment to learning and upskilling and was keen to take on more training and challenge myself.

What is the best aspect of the ADF Cyber Gap Program from your experience?

There are so many great aspects of the program I have enjoyed so far:

  • The challenge labs are a great activity and a chance to learn about things. My favourite sections of this was working with the vulnerability scanners and malware analysis.
  • The capture flag event was great fun as well, very challenging and learnt quite a bit from it. The different categories tested me and gave me of some areas I need to work on such as scripting in Python. Cryptography and Steganography were my favourite.
  • The groups of students have been a great support to one another on the forums and the information provided has been amazing.
  • You are assigned a mentor as part of a smaller group about 20 people and they organise 1-1 sessions and demonstrations as well as career advice and upskilling information.
  • The organisers and admin staff have done a fantastic job of communication and organising everything.

Curt

Graduate Certificate in Cyber Security
ADF Cyber Gap Program 2021

Why did you decide to pursue cyber security at ITM-CSU?

I had originally investigated and applied at 4 universities based on reputation and offering for cyber security. CSU was chosen overall due to their great response, support, class offerings and all round great attitude. It has been a fantastic experience. 

Has your study with ITM-CSU and the ADF Cyber Gap Program changed how you see your career progressing?

Yes definitely. It has changed how I look at moving forward with my career, and how I will pursue further progression. It has given clarity to avenues that are available to me, and how best to tackle those opportunities.

What advice do you have for people wanting to make the move into cyber security?

Study! Study hard and make the most of the material presented to you and keep it. Try to look into an area that interests you, there is a lot of great material online to give insight.  You will be shown the door but only you can walk through it. Don’t cheat, your knowledge and skills will be tested!

What was each stage of the ADF Cyber Gap Program application stage like?

The application process was straightforward and easy to complete. I had to fill out an online form, present my case as to why I should be chosen for the program, and prove I was willing to undertake secondary education to better myself and the Australian IT industry.

Any tips for keen applicants in the next round?

Do something now, get involved today. Be it small, through online short courses before you start your secondary education. You can enrol in the numerous security certifications through various organisations, SANS, NIST, AZURE, for example. Or be it community driven, like online CTF events (if you’re not sure what CTF is google it, get started today), these will give you a leg up. It shows drive, dedication, passion, and resilience. Be genuine. 

What is the best aspect of the ADF Cyber Gap Program from your experience?

Clarity and opportunity, from speaking with seasoned cyber professionals, mentorship, a vast community of likeminded individuals, opportunity to further your knowledge and understanding with cyber, exposure within the cyber community, to cyber engagement and ADF opportunities. This gave me an otherwise impossible opportunity to be a part of something that will make a difference, allowing me to further myself in more ways than I can list here. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose!

Adam Pierzchalski

Graduate Certificate in Cyber Security
ADF Cyber Gap Program 2021

What made you decide to pursue your Grad Cert?

My background is in Performing Arts and Hospitality (these two industries us actors have to learn how to juggle from the get go :)), so when the pandemic in 2020 obliterated both sectors, I decided to look into gaining completely new skill. As I have also sunk my teeth into multimedia and web design in the past – I thought going back to Information Tech via a fascinating world of Cyber Security would be a good idea. Charles Sturt Uni appeared to be the most accessible with their advice and options for online PostGrad studies and so I was lucky to get accepted. 

You were successful in securing a place in the ADF Cyber Gap Program (congratulations!). When you heard about the program, why did you think it would be a good option to pursue?

I have spent quite some time on the phone with a great career/study advisor from Charles Sturt Uni – his name is Leif. It was his suggestion to apply for ADFCGP. The main reason behind it for me as a mature aged student was the financial support from ADF to do the course.

Apart from that as my year with CGP progresses – they are mentoring me throughout my studies in many ways! They help with gaining more hands on experiences through portals and labs that they have set up for us. You are also assigned to your own personal mentor that is a person with a lot of experience and I am learning the practical side of CyberSec through group online sessions or even private sessions online.

Prior to starting your Grad Cert you completed 3 short courses. What was your experience like with those?

The 3 short courses are not only a great introduction and warm up towards the subjects of the course, but if you pass those 3 courses and get a certification for each, you get a credit that will exempt you from one of the units. If I decide to continue towards Masters – I will definitely use that credit!

You're almost a session into your Grad Cert now, how is the experience going?

The best thing about this course is that you can really do it in your own time. If you can’t attend the life online sessions – you can access all of them as recordings. The lecturers are also very knowledgable industry people and they are very approachable, so you can contact them via email or phone if you have any issues or if you feel like you’ve fallen behind.

How was the ADF Cyber Gap Program application process?

In my case the process was very straightforward: I had to wait until my admission proof into the course came back and then right on the deadline I have submitted my application. 

Any tips for keen applicants in the next round?

The main tip here is to not hesitate, just go for it. I went with the attitude that I have nothing to loose by applying. The other tip is make your application relevant to anything you are being asked to answer plus don’t be afraid to share how from your personal experience the area of CyberSec is relevant to you. Even if you think you are coming from totally unrelated industry – the skills the you might bring into it could be very valuable.

I also wanted to add that a good reason to go for ADFCGP is that it provides you with a perfect counter balance to the uni course: the units that I’ve had so far are very theory heavy with some elements of practical while the support I am getting from ADF is very practical and I am being encouraged to practice the hands on skills on many platforms.

We are also suppose to have a massive gathering in Canberra for about a week at the start of Sept, where we all meet face to face with other peers and our mentors, take part in lectures and CTF activities etc. of course only if COVID situation allows that to happen.

Mark

Graduate Certificate in Cyber Security
ADF Cyber Gap Program 2021

You've been a software architect for over 17 years. What pulled you towards cyber security?

I have always liked learning new things as well as complimenting my software development knowledge. I believe it will make me a better developer enabling me to write more secure code by understanding the cyber threats. Obtaining certification in the cyber security area will also make me more marketable to employers.

Has your study with ITM-CSU and the ADF Cyber Gap Program changed how you see your career progressing?

I believe the knowledge I have gained is invaluable as well as it opens up new opportunities to other areas. At the start of the course it was difficult, getting into a rhythm and I had doubts whether I could do it at the age of 50 but this has been my motivation to show my children you are never too old to learn or go back to university.

What advice do you have for people wanting to make the move into cyber security?

No regrets, I wish I had done it sooner, interesting topics and lecturers. I had completed some of the free short courses that CSU offered a few years prior to starting my graduate certificate. These were great so I knew I wanted to study. For me it was finding the right time with family life, work and study balance. I would recommend trying one of the free short courses CSU has to offer, stay committed and give it a go.

What was each stage of the ADF Cyber Gap Program application stage like?

It all happened so quickly, I applied online. I need to be enrolled in a course then applied for the ADF Cyber Gap program online. Make sure you meet the requirements they were provided online on the ADF site.

How have ITM-CSU helped you during the application process, and beyond?

It-masters at CSU have been very helpful whether it was relating to paying fees, or picking subjects for the semester. They have been quick to respond via email or provided me with the information over the telephone.

Any tips for keen applicants in the next round?

I think they pick people who are dedicated and show a key desire to learn to better themselves. Again give CSU or ADF a call or send them an email if you have any queries they are always happy to help you along the way.

Giles Wheeldon

Graduate Certificate in Cyber Security
ADF Cyber Gap Program 2021

Why did you decide to pursue cyber security at ITM-CSU?

It was a CSU email that I received after signing up for a short course that alerted me to the Cyber Gap Year opportunity. I would not have learned of the program otherwise, and I was motivated to apply immediately. I chose CSU because of the fully online delivery that suited my study preference and work commitments. 

Has your study with ITM-CSU and the ADF Cyber Gap Program changed how do you see your career progressing?

Despite having my Bachelor in Computer Science, I had only a rudimentary understanding of cyber risks and cyber security. I have always had an interest in joining the Defence Force but believed that by doing so I would be forgoing a career in computing. The program opened my eyes to the cyber opportunities available in the Defence space in particular. 

What advice do you have for people wanting to make the move into cyber security?

As with anything, have a look at the opportunities available and get as much information as possible to help you decide if it’s a career you can see yourself in. If you have an interest in computers, investigation and problem solving, you will probably find something to like in cyber security, or cyber in general. 

What was each stage of the ADF Cyber Gap Program application stage like?

Applying as a potential candidate was an experience very similar to applying for a job. You put forward your credentials and your answers to some targeted questions. While deep experience with computers is not required, I would highly recommend that applicants consider their aptitude with information technology before applying, as the skill-based assessment in particular is heavily geared towards those who can comfortably use varied and sometimes unfamiliar software suites to find hidden messages and clues. 

Any tips for keen applicants in the next round?

Make sure you thoroughly vet your submission and if possible, have someone with a keen eye for detail to look over everything for inconsistencies or errors. I cannot say with certainty why my application was successful, but I believe it can be credited to a well written submission and my strong background in cyber. 

What is the best aspect of the ADF Cyber Gap Program from your experience?

Having the opportunity to connect with current and previously serving members of the ADF. Unfortunately, the pandemic threw a wrench in the planned work experience component of the program – I had been inspired by the thought of visiting the cyber department of a RAAF base and the failure of this to materialise was a low point of the year. Despite this, I feel extremely fortunate to be a candidate of the program, and believe that it will have a huge impact on my future career.

Anthony Yaremenko

Graduate Certificate in Cyber Security
ADF Cyber Gap Program 2021

How did you get your start in the industry?

Security challenges kept on coming up in various discussions with States and Territories, with a lot of overlap and duplication of effort occurring across the country. Started working in security as a direct result of need raised by our stakeholders.

Has your study with ITM-CSU and the ADF Cyber Gap Program changed how you see your career progressing?

Absolutely. IT is dynamic in its own right and cyber-security even more so.

What was each stage of the ADF Cyber Gap Program application stage like?

The program application process itself was fairly straightforward. Supply the relevant information, answer some questions, cross your fingers and hope you get selected!

Any tips for keen applicants in the next round?

Be honest, and try to highlight something positive and quirky that makes you memorable.

What is the best aspect of the ADF Cyber Gap Program from your experience?

It would have to be the various boot camps and capture the flag type exercises that the ADF provide. A lot of fun! Really took me out of my comfort zone but I was exposed to so many cool tools and attack/defence approaches it was a blast.