UK skills shortage holding back fight against cyber attacks

The UK’s fight against cyber-crime is being hampered by a lack of relevant skills, engineers warn.

Small businesses are coming under increasing attack from hackers, according to new government data, but a survey by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) found only 30 per cent of such companies felt they had sufficient cyber protection.

Recent research by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) found that 87 per cent of small businesses (and 93 per cent of large ones) experienced a breach in their cyber security in the last year, an increase of over 10 per cent.

But the IET survey of 250 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) found only 14 per cent of them said cyber security threats were the highest priority and that they already had sufficient skills and resources in place to manage the threat.

The IET’s cyber security lead, Hugh Boyes, said the problem was both a lack of engineers going into the cyber security sector and a failing of universities to include an awareness of the issue in the computer programming courses

‘It’s a combination of software skills and system engineering skills,’ he told The Engineer. ‘For example, many university engineering courses teach students basic programming skills but don’t focus on the trustworthiness of the software they produce – making it secure and reliable.

‘Because of the interconnection of systems, we need to increasingly think about how a piece of hardware or software works with everything else …

‘A lot of courses focus on the maths of engineering rather than the big picture of building systems and the consequences if it goes wrong.’

The government-run Technology Strategy Board recently extended its voucher scheme offering SMEs the chance to bid for up to £5,000 from a total pot of £500,000 to improve their cyber security with outside expertise.

But the IET survey found that only half of the SMEs contacted were aware of the government’s Cyber Security Strategy.

The IET is also developing its own scheme to sponsor cyber security masters degree courses at selected universities, which aims to give the sponsored students cyber security skills they can apply in their current job, or the opportunity to develop a career in a cyber security role.


A Free, Open, Curriculum for Web Education



WaSP InterACT is a community driven project that offers a free, open, curriculum for web education.

Schools that teach web design struggle to keep pace with our industry, and those just starting their curricula often set off in the wrong direction because the breadth and depth of our medium can be daunting. The WaSP InterACT curriculum project seeks to ease the challenges schools around the world face as they prepare their students for careers on the Web.

WaSP InterACT is a living curriculum designed to change and keep pace with the fast moving industry. Its courses are divided into several tracks that provide students with a well rounded foundation in the many facets of the web design craft.

Anyone can get involved and contribute!

(via swissmiss)

MF, studio, dbda

Online education tools help improve financial literacy

A new study conducted in the US by Wells Fargo, in partnership with Visa, has shown dramatic improvements in financial literacy as a result of an early online education intervention. 

The study invited new college student credit cardholders to participate in an online education programme to increase awareness of building good credit. The programme, hosted on Visa’s ‘Practical Money Skills for Life’ website, consisted of two lessons and quizzes designed to improve the cardholders’ understanding of responsible borrowing and credit management and demonstrate the effects of this education on their credit behaviour.

The results showed that students who responded to the invitation and completed the lessons (3,563 in total) did remarkably better on a number of credit related metrics than those who did not, this included:

  •  51.2% less likely to file for bankruptcy
  • 45.1% less likely to be 60 days past due date
  • 22.8% less likely to have late fee accounts
  • 20% fewer revolving monthly balances (even though use of credit cards increased)

Providing learners with online education environments, especially ones that include games, other competitive opportunities and potential interactions with peers are increasingly being used by financial institutions to help increase knowledge, build skills and encourage responsible financial behaviour. One example being used extensively across the UK is Nationwide Building Society’s ‘Nationwide Education’ personal finance programme for ages 4 to 18+.

Read the full report and visit Nationwide Education.

Nicki, Business Director, dbda

National Grid awarded ‘Beacon’ status by the Learning and Skills Improvement Service

Featured  in the Design and Technology with ICT Education Show, National Grid have been awarded ‘Beacon’ status by the Learning and Skills Improvement Service, placing them in the top 10% of education providers in the UK.

Read more of this post

dbda launches online Webshop!

The dbda Webshop is now the home of all dbda and The Children’s Traffic Club products at

dbda Webshop

There is a special offer of a 5% discount on all orders placed before 28th February 2011 (please note, the prices shown on the Webshop already include this special offer discount).

Customers can still order products over the phone or request a FREE catalogue by calling dbda on 0870 333 7771 or emailing

The Children’s Traffic Club members and participating authorities are entitled to a 20% discount.

To arrange your discount, find out how to become a member or participate as a local authority, call The Children’s Traffic Club on 0870 010 4440.

Hurry to get your discount!


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