Increasing demand for cyber security professionals coupled with the Government’s drive to support growth of the sector means more opportunities will be made available to new graduates and they can expect great career prospects.
The global cyber security market, worth US$63 billion in 2011, is expected to double to over US$120 billion (S$167 billion) next year. The sector is growing at a faster clip in the Asia-Pacific, and is expected to reach US$26 billion next year, Asia One Business reports.
Employers are now feeling the acute shortage of information technology security professionals today. Information and communications technology graduates in recent years, especially those entering the cyber security field, generally get a starting salary that is 10 to 15 per cent higher than their peers from other faculties.
This is not a bubble, but the sector will grow sustainably for the next five to 10 years especially as countries and businesses become much more connected. Burgeoning demands of the sector indicate an increasing demand for skills in wide variety of job roles to include security architects, cyber security specialists, coding developers, and research and development professionals.
Unveiling the National Cyber Security Strategy earlier this month, the government intends to bridge the industry-academia divide by establishing more sponsorships and scholarships. This will lead the way in building clearer career pathways for professionals by developing a cyber security scheme of service for the public sector and encourage practitioners to opt for certification courses.
The demand for cybersecurity talent is outpacing the supply of qualified workers, with highly technical skills the most in need. skills such as intrusion detection, secure software development and attack mitigation were found to be far more valued than softer skills including collaboration, leadership and effective communication.
“The security industry has talked at length about how to address the storm of hacks and breaches, but government and the private sector haven’t brought enough urgency to solving the cyber security talent shortage,” said Chris Young, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Intel Security Group.
“To address this workforce crisis, we need to foster new education models, accelerate the availability of training opportunities, and we need to deliver deeper automation so that talent is put to its best use on the front line. Finally, we absolutely must diversify our ranks.”
“Employers need more effective strategies and incentives to recruit and retain top cybersecurity talent. While salary is often the common motivating factor in recruitment, training, the reputation of the prospective employer’s IT department, and potential for advancement, matters as much in retaining the talent,” says David Allott, Director for Cyber Defense at Intel Security Group – Asia Pacific.
Companies need to be strategic in deciding what skills will be needed to combat future cybersecurity threats and how new technologies can offset workforce shortages.
The shortage of cyber security talent only underscores the importance of empowering employees to be the first line of defence against cyber-attacks. Companies cannot rely only on their in-house IT team to secure its digital assets.
“Organisations need a 360 degree approach to cybersecurity. This ranges from risk assessment and penetration testing, to having round the clock real-time threat monitoring, to being able to recover quickly with minimum losses. Firms should already have remediation measures to make sure that these breaches do not happen again.”
“Cybersecurity awareness training programmes are critical in empowering employees to be the company’s first line of defence against cyber-attacks and creating a culture of cybersecurity within the organization,” says Foo Siang-tse, Managing Director, Quann. “Without such training programmes, it is unlikely that employees will be properly trained and equipped with the knowledge, much less be motivated to adhere to the firm’s cybersecurity protocol.”