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Technology meets talent: pursuing a career in cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is a huge part of the digital transformation conversation and it’s becoming an increasingly important function within businesses across industries. As such, digital professionals with cybersecurity skillsets are in high demand across the region.
If you’re a professional pursuing a career in cybersecurity, you are definitely in the right place. We have seen an increase in cybersecurity job placements of 110% from 2017 to 2018. The following are some insights into the market, including the state of the current cybersecurity job market, insights into the industry, and advice for job seekers.
Current state of the cybersecurity job market
Cybersecurity professionals are upbeat about the growing demand for their skills as well as the increasingly dynamic and diverse job openings. With the types of roles rapidly expanding — these currently range from security management, to threat and vulnerability management, to R&D and much more, the number of unfilled vacancies is also rising fast.
For industry veterans with years of professional experience, opportunities abound. For graduates looking to pursue a career within cybersecurity, this isn’t always the case. Chen Kin Siong, director at Insider Security, explains that there are numerous online portals that allow aspiring cybersecurity professionals to showcase their work. This approach can supplement years of professional experience, demonstrating a candidate’s ability to handle code and work within a particular domain.
Likewise, those working in other IT domains have transferable skill sets that could undoubtedly be applied to cybersecurity roles. “On-the-job training is essential to learning the ropes,” notes Kin Siong.
Max Leong, chief information security officer at D’Crypt, believes that aside from experience and technical proficiencies, cybersecurity professionals also require soft skills.
“A challenge that cybersecurity professionals face is educating the public,” says Max. As one example, standard anti-virus software is often inadequate in meeting a typical company’s needs. In practice, those in the industry need to share the urgency. “And it’s important to use language understood by all stakeholders,” he notes.
Whether working within an in-house position or performing a role of a solution provider, job descriptions and working environments for cybersecurity can vary greatly. Larger firms usually require personnel to carry out a single specific task – while smaller firms may need employees to carry out an array of assignments.
Similarly, tech firms are usually flexible in areas such as working hours and dress code, whereas other sectors tend to be more structured. The cybersecurity working environment, Max enthuses, offers something for everyone.
Careers of the future
The majority of today’s cybersecurity jobs can be found within large MNCs and in sectors such as banking and finance, healthcare and IT. These businesses have robust cybersecurity systems, with experienced practitioners, tried and tested hiring procedures, and a continuous need for talent.
A noteworthy impediment to scaling Singapore’s cyber defences is the length of time that firms can take to hire. Shinjika Shukla, associate director, Technology Practice at Michael Page, explains that the ideal solution is for companies to act fast, streamline internal procedures and for candidates to be patient during the hiring process.
“Recruitment firms like Michael Page play an essential role in bridging the needs of cybersecurity talent and prospective employers,” says Shinjika. “With extensive industry knowledge, we provide insights and counsel to both parties, ensuring that roles are appropriately filled, and that Singapore continues to fight cybercrime.”
Advice for technology professionals
Here is some expert advice for technology professionals looking to find success in their cybersecurity careers.
Understand your audience
While CIOs or CTOs will understand your advocacy for cybersecurity, you need to remember that there are other key decision makers who are not technology trained. You may need to demonstrate the importance of security by illustrating how the lack of it will impact reputation, which will translate to financial loss in the long term.
Break the glass ceiling
If you have been a technology professional for decades or have reached a work plateau, cybersecurity is an opportunity for you to expand your career in a different trajectory. With the growing demand for new skills, cybersecurity professionals will need to follow new threats and keep upgrading their skills. Do not be afraid to take on extra courses such as the CISA, CISSP, CEH or CSCA.
Narrow IT security gaps
Professionals will need to ensure a company’s IT landscape, security and policies are in line for a smooth audit process. Based on the constant release of new regulations, cybersecurity experts will have to recommend new strategies to the business in order to stay compliant and avoid potential penalties.
Ready to take the next step in your career? Browse cybersecurity and IT job opportunities at Michael Page.