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Certificate in Cybersecurity Professional Practice and Leadership (CPPL)

Course introduction
Cyberspace is deeply interwoven with commerce and industry, government service delivery, business, health and the daily lives of citizens. Regrettably, this offers fertile ground for opportunistic cybercrimes. The financial damage caused, including instances of personal data loss, increases dramatically each year. Threats and attacks are becoming more dynamic and complex. Detecting and attributing attacks and threats to malicious actors are a major challenge to cybersecurity experts. Cyberspace therefore requires resilience to secure effectively.

This complex global problem requires rapid responses from the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and the Chief Information Officer (CIO) to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and the availability of data assets controlled by the organisation. Organisations therefore need a proactive, holistic and flexible leadership approach.

The cybersecurity discipline includes technologies, policies, procedures, practices and culture designed to secure the organisation and the information it controls.

Given the real-world security challenges in South Africa and across the African continent, data protection, privacy and cybersecurity legislative frameworks are under development requiring cybersecurity governance compliance. The CISO and CIO will therefore require a higher level of knowledge of the broader cybersecurity domain. This Wits Certificate course in Cybersecurity Professional Practice and Leadership is therefore designed as an interdisciplinary course, focusing on security technologies, digital innovation, national policy, standards, law and regulation. The course incorporates elements relevant to creating a culture of cybersecurity awareness and resilience. The course also focuses on developing relevant strategic responses to the security challenges posed to the digital communications ecosystem. Specifically designed to build the foundational analytical skills for the CISO in this emerging field, this course is a must for any organisation.

Course providers
Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) and the LINK Centre

Course Administrator
Nokhanyo Yolwa
, Short Course and Degree Coordinator, LINK Centre,, tel: +27-71-939-8867

Course Convenor
Dr. Kiru Pillay,, cc:

Course aims
To advance the knowledge of organisational leaders in general, and of cybersecurity professionals and aspiring CISOs, with respect to building successful cybersecurity leadership, in the face of increasingly sophisticated threats and attacks.

Course outcomes
Upon successful completion of the course, the participant will be able to:

  • analyse the cybersecurity domain and the interdependencies between cybersecurity and traditional information security;
  • categorise the range of threats and threat actors facing organisations and nation-states;
  • identify the effects of cyberattacks on organisations and the various levels of defence required to secure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of critical information;
  • formulate a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy by critically analysing the current organisational environment;
    demonstrate the value of the various cybersecurity roles and responsibilities and the benefits to institutional governance;
  • critically evaluate the technology options available to defend the organisation, and consider solutions for ensuring the confidentiality, availability and integrity of connected systems; and
  • understand and apply the cybersecurity policy, legal and regulatory measures to the governance, risk assessment and risk management processes of the organisation.

Who should register

  • current and future CISO, CIO and other cybersecurity professionals from corporate organisations, government departments, state-owned enterprises, and individuals who require formal training in the emerging domain of data privacy and cybersecurity
  • lawyers, public policy officials and individuals who have an interest in privacy, data protection and cybersecurity

Course content
This Wits Certificate course in Cybersecurity Professional Practice and Leadership includes the following modules: 

  • Module 1: Introduction to the cybersecurity domain, including culture, risk and governance, technical concepts and leadership roles;
  • Module 2: Policy, legislative, regulatory and institutional frameworks underpinning the cybersecurity domain, including standards, audit and readiness frameworks, security architectures design and methodologies;
  • Module 3: Emerging cybersecurity technology trends and future-proofing organisations;
  • Module 4: Cybersecurity strategies, training and certifications; and
  • Module 5: Research paper on a key topic in cybersecurity.

Course level
This course is aligned to NQF Level 8 in the South African National Qualifications Framework.
(Note: According to the requirements of the South African Council on Higher Education (CHE), short courses are not accredited at NQF levels. However, the LINK Centre aligns each of its courses to a particular NQF level -- as a means to guide the course's level of difficulty and level of assessment.)

2024 course dates/times
To be announced.

2024 course fee

Admission requirements

  • entrants are required to hold an NQF level 7 qualification/certification
  • at least 5 years of relevant work experience is preferred
  • if the entrant has 8 or more years of relevant work experience, the NQF level 7 qualification requirement may be waived

Requirements for successful completion
The participant is required to:

  • attend 80% of the contact sessions
  • pass all 5 modules
  • obtain a 50% minimum mark in all formative and summative assessments
  • present a short research paper, on any of the topics covered in the course, that demonstrates one or more key research techniques

Methods of assessment

  • each of the first four modules carries a 15% weighting (for a total of 60%)
  • Modules 1 to 4 each require a group assignment (30%) and an individual examination (70%)
  • Module 5 is a research paper with a weighting of 40% towards the aggregate mark for the course

To apply for registration in the 2024 offering of this course, please complete and submit this online form.