Enhancing Career Prospects in Cybersecurity for Neurodivergent Learners

Image of a human head with a lock inside surrounded by cyber data

Cybersecurity is a constantly evolving threat to organisations of all sizes. Now, the opportunity for jobs focused on this risk is expanding, and Edinburgh Napier University is to promote a short course on Fundamentals of Cybersecurity redesigned to appeal directly to neurodivergent learners.

The course will help them into employment as employers look to increase the diversity of their workforce in this area. Edinburgh Napier is working with a local charity, Into Work – which provides personalised employment advice and practical support to those who previously found it hard to find jobs through either a disability or long-term health condition – to promote the short course.

Spaces on the interactive online course are free to neurodivergent learners, thanks to funding from the Scottish Funding Council. Applicants should self-select, if they think they fit the intended audience. Furthermore, to be eligible for the funded intake, all applicants must be resident in Scotland.

The course, which will run for 6 weeks from 6 June, provides both key knowledge areas and practical hands-on experience: students will explore key areas of cybersecurity, including Cybersecurity Data Analysis and Protection, Network Security, Digital Forensics and Open Source Intelligence. It will also introduce participants to Splunk, Cryptography and Ciphers. Participants will sit an online test and create a report on some practical experience to complete their learning.

The programme leader has extensive experience in inclusive course design and is passionate about supporting neurodiverse learners. Students who completed a recent Neurodiversity Cyber Course with Edinburgh Napier University were full of enthusiasm: “I learned a lot of interesting information, which is helping me in my current role,” reported one. Another student expressed their gratefulness by saying, “I am so happy, I am now a permanent Cybersecurity Admin Assistant.”

A third participant highlighted the practical aspect of the programme, stating; “The cyber security course really opened my eyes to how important it is to have basic knowledge of how to better protect yourself online. The threats to our online security are getting more sophisticated. Because of this course, I now use double-factor authentication on everything and regularly change my passwords. The skills I learned I now actively apply to my current role around data protection”.

Employers are keen to ensure graduates of the course get opportunities to put their knowledge into practice as they commence their careers. The Edinburgh-based Leonardo, for example, provides supported work placements and internships. In addition, they altered the language used in their job adverts, inviting a more diverse group of people to apply for vacancies, and made necessary changes to certain roles to accommodate specific needs.

To apply for the Fundamentals of Cybersecurity short course with Edinburgh Napier, please click here.

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