Cyber Scotland Week 2020 - SQA introduces latest Cyber Security qualification

17 February 2020

SQA has been paving the way for young people to launch successful careers in Cyber Security since the launch of its National Progression Awards (NPA) in 2017.

Over the past two years, SQA has also rolled out its college-level Higher National Certificate (HNC), and now its Higher National Diploma (HND) has been added to SQA's portfolio of Cyber Security courses.

These vocational qualifications will open routes into employment within the cyber security sector which were traditionally only available to those who had completed a degree in computing.

Watch this video to find out more about the new HND

Alistair Wylie, Head of Qualifications - Technology, Engineering, and Construction at SQA, says: ¿The IT skills gap is widely known about, but it is perhaps most pressing in cyber security. By collaborating with academics and industry specialists, including Glasgow Clyde College and the University of Glasgow, SQA has developed courses which will appeal to candidates, and also equip them with the skills needed by employers.¿Cyber Scoltand week logo

The offering seems to be having an impact. Entries for the HNC in Cyber Security are up 50 per cent on 2018-19 figures, while there are over 80 students across the country studying for the HND at colleges including Glasgow Clyde College and City of Glasgow College.

Joe Harkins, Lecturer at West College Scotland, who led the development of the new HND course, said: ¿The qualification has been designed to equip students with not only the technical skills required for a job in computing but also the general skills that make them work-ready. Topics such as 'Professionalism and Ethics in Cyber Security' and 'Working in Cyber Security' introduce students to the wide range of jobs in computing and the unique challenges that they provide.¿

David Kincaid, a Cyber Security student at West College Scotland, says it's an exciting time to join the industry: ¿There are a vast amount of opportunities. You could work for Police Scotland doing digital forensics, looking for evidence of crime. People need to be out there protecting data and you can do that anywhere - you could learn here and then travel around the world working in the industry.¿

To extend the portfolio even further, and give increased opportunities to enter the sector, SQA is also developing a series of Professional Development Awards (PDAs) in Cyber Security at SCQF levels 7, 8, and 9. The PDAs, which will be available later this year, have been designed for professionals working in the sector to help them develop their skillset or make the transition to a new career.

Watch these videos for more information on SQA's Cyber Security portfolio, and visit