What is a botnet

Academy Xi Blog

Cybercrime Update: What is a Botnet?

By Academy Xi

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What is a botnet

Short answer: something you want to protect all your devices from! Discover how botnets work, what they can control and how to bolster your security to keep the blighters at bay.

What is a botnet and how does it work?

A botnet is a network of internet-connected devices that are infected with malware and controlled by a single entity, known as a botmaster. These bots can be computers, mobile phones, or Internet of Things devices. 

 After the malware has infected a device, the botnet connects with it and receives instructions from the botmaster, which can use it to perform a host of malicious activities. These could include stealing personal data, continuing to spread the malware, mining cryptocurrency or launching a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack. 

What is botnet controllable?

Literally any device that has been infected with malware can be botnet controlled. Having a device that is botnet controllable is a serious threat to the security of your data and can disrupt any services you provide.

How do hackers control a botnet?

Anyone with the required tech know-how can create and control a botnet. The malware used to infect devices can be distributed through a wide range of approaches, including social media tactics, distribution of infected downloads and those oh-so popular phishing emails. Any devices with weak security measures in place are particularly vulnerable to being infected and used in botnets.

What are botnets used for?

Cybercriminals use botnets to conduct malicious activity such as theft and sales of finances and data, or to run crypto scams and sabotage services. They are a serious threat to online security and can cause endless reputational damage to organisations. Let’s take a closer look.

  • Financial and data theft

Using techniques such as keylogging or phishing, botnets can steal financial information including login and credit card details. Once obtained, this information can be used to make fraudulent transactions or steal funds directly from accounts.

 When it comes to stealing data, approaches such as data exfiltration or spyware can come into play and the information sold on to other cybercriminals.

  • Cryptocurrency scams

Mining of cryptocurrency is often done using botnets, with cybercriminals also using them to launch crypto scams like Ponzi schemes.

  • Service sabotage

DDoS attacks can be launched via botnets, resulting in a specific site or online service being inundated with traffic to the point it is no longer available for users to access. This approach can be taken as a form of protest, extortion or to disable a particular industry or competitor.

  • Selling on to other criminals

Existing botnets have been known to be sold or even rented out  on the dark web to other criminals. The new owner, or leaseholder, uses them to spread more malware or launch new attacks.

Botnet architecture

The architecture of the botnet is how they are structured and managed. The two main varieties of botnet architecture are the client-server model and P2P. Client-server models involve a central command and control server, which manages the bots, while the P2P botnet is decentralised, with no single point of control.

Types of botnet attacks

A range of attack types can be carried out by botnets, including Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, as mentioned earlier with regard to service sabotage. Phishing attacks are also common, when large volumes of phishing emails are distributed with the aim of tricking people into sharing personal data such as passwords or credit card details. 

The most extreme approach is a brute force attack, where every possible combination of username and password is attempted until the botnet finds the right one to gain unauthorised access to a system or network.

How to protect yourself from botnets

The best precautions to take to protect yourself from botnets include regular updates of your software, frequently changing your passwords and ensuring the passwords you create are strong (not predictable or used for any other logins). Implementing security measures such as antivirus software and firewalls can also help prevent your devices from being infected.

How to get into Cyber Security

Completing practical, hands-on training in cyber security is a great way to get a foothold in the industry. Whether you’re already an IT professional seeking to upskill, or keen to launch a tech career from scratch, ensuring you have all the fundamental skills under your belt is a must. 

Our Cyber Security Engineering: Transform course will give you technical skills and strategic mindset that today’s Cyber Security Professional needs, taking you from beginner to job-ready and also offering access to a Career Support Program that helps 97% of graduates straight into the industry. 

If you have any questions, our experienced team is here to discuss your training options. Speak to a course advisor today and take the first steps in your Cyber Security journey.

Product Roadmap

Academy Xi Blog

How to create a perfect Product Roadmap

By Academy Xi

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Product Roadmap

Want the direction and progress of your product development to be clearly communicated to all involved? Get everything aligned and documented with a product roadmap.

What is a product roadmap?

Product roadmaps are strategic project plans that include details of the goals and objectives for the development process over a predetermined time frame. One of the main functions of the roadmap is to align all teams and stakeholders involved with the product on the direction and progress of its development.

By using a roadmap, efforts can be prioritised, expectations managed, potential issues identified and teams kept focused on delivering value to customers, while also meeting business goals. 

In this article we’ll dive in and check out:

  • Essential elements of product roadmaps
  • Types of product roadmaps
  • How to build a product roadmap
  • How to start a career in Product Management 

Essential elements of product roadmaps 

Amongst other elements, a product roadmap typically includes a timeline, product features and goals. 

  • Timeline

Timelines capture the important milestones and overall schedule of your entire product development process. Having a timeline is critical and helps all teams plan and prioritise to keep the processes on track.

  • Product features

Key functionality or capabilities that the product will offer are covered in product features, as is the value proposition and a clear overview of what the product will actually offer or do. 

  • Product goals

Objectives of the business that are encapsulated within the product goals need to be crystal clear. These could include any key performance indicators, such as revenue targets. 

Types of product roadmaps

There are several product roadmap types. We’ve rounded up some of the most commonly used to get you started:

  • Waterfall product roadmap

A more traditional approach to product development, the waterfall roadmap involves a process of ideation, planning, design, development, testing and implementation. The timeline is often fixed and the features predefined. 

  • Agile product roadmap

Unlike the waterfall approach, agile roadmaps involve frequent product releases and ongoing feedback from customers. The focus here is quick delivery of value and adaptation to ever-changing market conditions.

Agile product roadmap

Image source. Agile Product Roadmap

  • Product launch roadmap 

New products or new product features are guided by this approach. Milestones, tasks and resources that are needed for a successful launch are all captured within the roadmap.

  • Sprint plan roadmap

Short term goals are in the spotlight for sprint plan roadmaps. Usually covering a shorter period, they outline the key tasks that the team will be working on in that time frame.

  • Kanban roadmap

Kanban roadmap
Based on the Kanban methodology, the core of this method is improving efficiency and reducing waste in the product development process.

How to build a product roadmap 

As discussed, the type of roadmap you select will have its own nuances, but the following steps are common to most map types:

#1. Define the product vision and strategy

The first step is to define your product purpose and this can be done by clarifying the vision and strategy. Having a clear understanding of the target audience’s needs and how your product will address and hopefully solve these needs is a vital starting point. 

#2. Collaborate with other stakeholders

Other teams such as development, marketing and customer support are all vital collaborations to nurture. You will be more likely to create a realistic and achievable road map by being aligned with relevant teams. 

#3. Determine features to prioritise

It’s vital to identify and clarify the most important features that will help deliver the most value to customers and achieve business goals. 

#4. Build a roadmap template

A visual representation of the product roadmap, a template should include key details such as the timeline, product features and goals.

#5. Make changes when needed

Product roadmaps are by no means a ‘set and forget’ document. Update your roadmap regularly based on feedback from customers, market shifts and team progress.


How to start a career in product management 

Whether you’re looking to upskill or venturing into a new career with Product Management, quality industry-focused training is highly recommended to ensure you’re equipped with the right skills and mindset.

At Academy Xi, our Product Management courses are built with experts from Accenture, MYOB, PwC and Deloitte, offering you only the latest frameworks and techniques to ensure you’re able to hit the ground running in your first Product Management role.

For those upskilling, Product Management: Elevate will see you gaining immediately applicable Product Management skills and give your professional development a serious boost.  

Product Management: Transform will take beginners to job-ready with in-depth practical training, live client projects and coaching from a Career Support Program.

If you have any questions, our experienced team is here to discuss your training options. Speak to a course advisor today and take the first steps in your Product Management journey.

Academy Xi Blog

Market update: game developer demand and salary in Australia, 2022

By Academy Xi

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A growing games industry exists in Australia, with the sector contributing $226.5million in revenue in 2021, which was a 22% increase on the previous year. Want in on the action? Read on.

Globally the gaming industry is worth $240 billion and predicted to reach $294 billion by 2024. Within Australia, 83% of gaming revenue is coming from overseas and now the Australian government is finally recognising the massive growth of the sector. Support on both federal and state levels is on offer in the form of tax incentives (the Digital Games Tax Offset or DGTO came into effect in 2022). 

Attracting employees with the right specialised skills is reported as being one of the difficulties faced by Australian gaming development studios. The global demand for experienced staff demonstrates that if you’re keen to get into the industry, now’s the time to strike.

What is a video game developer?

Game developers bring video game designer’s ideas to life by developing the code which creates the audio and visuals that make it a playable game. Video games exist across a number of platforms such as game consoles (we’re looking at you XBox, Playstation and Nintendo), mobile phones, PCs and different web browsers.

Are game developers in demand in Australia?

Recognised as a strong contributor to the national economy, the projected job growth for game developers over the next five years is tipped to be 25%

With a projected industry growth of 7% annually and a shortage of skilled workers to meet the increase, it’s safe to say that game developers are in demand.

How much does a video game developer make?

The average Australian salary for game developers hits roughly the $100k mark, with entry-level positions likely paying less. However, with plenty of opportunities available, you may find yourself climbing the ranks faster than in other industries. 

Keep in mind that if you specialise in certain aspects of gaming, you could command a higher salary.

Skills needed to be a game developer

It goes without saying that having a true passion for video games really is paramount if you want to be a game developer. In addition to your love for all things gaming, the following skills and attributes are also needed in your kit:

  • Proficiency in programming languages (C# and C++ for example)
  • An analytical mindset
  • Creative thinking
  • Great at working solo and as a part of a team
  • Be across the latest gaming trends

Do your homework

If you’re interested in working in the gaming industry, it pays to know about the companies in the field. Scan through game developer job listings to see who is who and learn about which services they offer. You can also read through the job descriptions to gain an understanding of the skills and experience required to join their ranks.

If there’s a studio you’re particularly interested in, check their website directly to see if they’re hiring and the skills they require. You can also ask about work experience or internship opportunities to get your foot in the door, which can be a great way to network while you gain a relevant qualification

How to become a game developer

How to become a game developer It’s a wise idea to have some training under your belt to become a game developer, in software engineering ideally, as a proficiency in relevant programming languages is required.  Some developers are self-taught, but it can be a much longer road to get up to speed, particularly when you consider that you might be up against people with computer science qualifications when applying for positions in game development companies. At Academy Xi, we offer industry-approved training via an intensive approach, so you can get yourself out there into the game development workforce sooner rather than later, instead of sinking four years into a university degree.  Our tech training options will give you the foundations required enter into the world of gaming, whether you want to upskill, or become a full-stack developer: If you have any questions, our experienced team is here to discuss your training options. Speak to a course advisor today and take the first steps in your game development journey.

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Skills and responsibilities of a game developer

In addition to writing code, a working day for a game developer often includes using application program interfaces (APIs) to develop their work across different software, analysing video game designer’s concepts and design specifications, as well as programming the artificial intelligence (AI) for non-player characters and the terrain of the game.

Academy Xi Blog

Behind the scenes: how Academy Xi drives student success

By Academy Xi

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Businesses want to be customer-centric, but few come close. How do we put our students front and centre, and deliver the best-in-class training in the digital space? Let’s take a look behind the scenes. 

Continuous learning is not just another fad: for many, it’s now a part of life. Learners from all backgrounds are flocking to short, skills-focussed training more than ever before. Motivations vary wildly – from kickstarting careers to reclaiming confidence, from helping businesses soar to simply learning for enjoyment. 

Check how we at Academy Xi, Make it Happen, for you and your future. 

So what does Academy Xi do differently to deliver the best experience and outcomes for our students? 

Sounds cheesy, but it really is a team effort, weaving human-centred design principles into everything we do. We chat to our leadership to learn more. 

Product Development 

Tiffany McHugh, Head of Product (Learning), explains Academy Xi’s approach to delivering highly engaging content for online learning. 

The Product Team at Academy Xi is made up of highly experienced, technically skilled learning designers who are using Human Centred Design principles to create world class online learning – essentially practising what we preach! With backgrounds from instructional design, teaching, education management, and multimedia design & production, the team uses a mix of learning theory and digital practices to design experiences, not just course content. 

At the heart of it, we aim to demystify technology in a rapidly changing industry. Our job is to explain complex ideas in simple terms, using plain friendly language, supported by plenty of real world examples and industry stories. No lofty jargon, no unexplained terminology, no intimidating concepts – we aim to make our courses as accessible as humanly possible. 

Our courses are particularly unique in that we create our own learning frameworks; these are deeply researched, co-designed with industry experts, and delicately balanced sets of design, business and technical skills that employers in digital industries want. These frameworks underpin all course material we create in-house, ensuring we deliver the learning outcomes students need for their careers now, and into the future. 

The result is a suite of online courses that give students the perfect mix of skills, practice and knowledge they need to confidently advance their careers, or even start a new career

The courses are easy to progress through, using a combination of multimedia content, plenty of interactivity, lots of social engagement opportunities and regular learning support from the mentors and student experience teams. Our learning platform is specifically selected for the best user experience possible, and feedback confirms this to be true – our students love it! 

Learning is a two-way conversation, so we design-in plenty of opportunities for learners to check their growing capability, get feedback and test ideas with others.

We also update our course content regularly to make sure what we teach is as current and fresh as you will find anywhere in the world. 

I was blown away by how the course was put together and loved the fortnightly catch ups with my group. The course structure and delivery kept us all engaged with the topics we were covering each week and a lot of the resources were very comprehensive and super helpful. I liked the mixture of mediums used for course instruction – video content, written and live tutorials – it worked well. I also really enjoyed the quizzes and having break out rooms to discuss concepts with my classmates.” – Imogen Abandowitz, Digital Marketing Elevate graduate

Student Experience

Chris Veness (Head of Design & Business Portfolio)  and Renju Phillip (Head of Technology Portfolio) chat to us about how the student experience is shaped by mentors and the student support team. 

The Academy Xi Student Experience team has a combined 30 years of expertise in delivering online education and building digital capability. The team’s commitment to delivering a first-class learning experience for our students really sets us apart.

Our learning model empowers students to not only absorb new (and sometimes complex) concepts, but also put what they learn into practice right away. 

We do this by engaging some of the world’s best industry practitioners as our ‘Mentors’. With backgrounds ranging from Customer Experience to UX Design and Data Analytics to Software Engineering, these qualified professionals know what first-class looks like and are very passionate about sharing their knowledge.  

Every person who chooses to study our courses achieves the highest level of commitment and support from our team to ensure they succeed – in the course, and beyond graduation.

We pride ourselves on our small class sizes, which allow students to participate more fully in discussions and get to know each other more intimately.

Academy Xi online training was completely different. I made so many new connections and I felt a sense of community that I didn’t with university training. The class sizes were small, so we actually got to know each other – it was way more engaging.” – Oshi Paranavitane, UX UI Design Transform graduate

Our live sessions are run by Mentors who provide far more than just training –  they supply our students with operational perspectives from their current industry practices, using client scenarios and real case studies to bring the learning to life.

“There’s always this question in your mind of whether I could have learned it on YouTube. You see a lot of stories around software developers or engineers self learning on Udemy. But where this course distinguishes itself is the real people – a supportive peer to peer network. Making use of the unlimited mentoring sessions was critical. [My mentor] Albert did a great job and I didn’t know initially that you could book time with him everyday, but then, after a few weeks when I did that, and started accelerating – it made all the difference.” 

– Barry Nguyen, Software Engineering Transform graduate

Our courses are all designed such that our students learn by doing, and walk away with immediately applicable practical skills. Projects are therefore an important cornerstone of each course. Depending on the course, these may be real-world client projects, or personal projects. 

Live client projects are a unique feature of our Transform courses, which really take learning to the next level. Students work on real business problems and deliver their solutions using learned skills. Our students graduate with real world experience and exposure to relevant industry practices… and have the portfolio or github profile to showcase these projects. 

Our unique training and delivery model ensures the highest level of success to best prepare our graduates for any interview.

“I went in with high expectations, which were all met. I totally understand why people recommend this course, and in particular, Hayden… [the training and project] absolutely enabled me to get the job with Westpac.” –  Yuka Mochizuki, UX UI Transform graduate

Career Support 

Will Phillips, Head of Career Support & Talent Services, explains the different tools used to empower our Transform graduates to secure jobs in their field of choosing.

Everyone’s journey is different when it comes to their career path, and here at Academy Xi we provide our graduates with the tools, support and guidance to help them take that first step towards achieving their individual goals and landing that dream job. During their Transform course students have access to our digital Career Toolkit which establishes the foundations needed to be job market ready, covering topics such as resumé writing, crafting the perfect cover letter, building a personal brand and harnessing the power of LinkedIn for your job search. 

Post-course our graduates can opt into our industry-leading Career Support Program where they have access to a Career Coach to help refine their job search strategy, in a one-on-one setting. As participants in the program, the graduates are in the driver’s seat and are accountable for their own job search, with the Academy Xi team on hand to help them navigate the employment market, providing insights, advice and guidance where necessary. Everything from interview preparation, networking tips and mindset coaching is available as part of the Career Support program, which is tailored to each participant’s needs through our personalised approach.

Our Talent Services team are focused on creating awareness within industry about the pipeline of graduates coming through our courses and tap into our extensive network of employers to seek out potential opportunities that might be the right fit for someone at the start of their new career.

As a team, what motivates us is seeing our graduates land that first role and transform their careers into something new and exciting. We are very proud that 9 out of 10 of our active participants in the Career Support Program land a role in under 180 days. In many ways this last phase is the toughest part of the whole course, it’s not easy to get your foot in the door and it takes a lot of drive and determination. A job search is challenging and there is no golden ticket or cheat sheet to achieve instant results. Everyone’s path is different and those graduates who put in the hard yards and stay motivated are the ones that make it happen.

“The practical up-to-the-minute advice from Dan and the Career Support team was absolutely outstanding. Being able to practice for mock interviews and talk through how to best approach my non-linear career journey, and compose my own narrative for the job market, was critical to land my new role shortly afterwards.” 

Alessio Somma, Service Design graduate

In the words of Matt Hill, Co-CEO, “It’s absolutely fantastic to hear these success stories – from both students and corporate clients –  as it reinforces that our approach to learning is delivering tangible individual and business outcomes. It’s so pleasing to see teams come together to deliver a fantastic result for our students and clients.” 


With Academy Xi, you can make it happen. 

For your business. For your career. For your team. For your future. 

To learn more about our courses for individuals and teams, contact us at admissions@academyxi.com or 1300 098 165.

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