More Professionals Needed to Fill Cybersecurity Roles

Shinjika Shukla

Shinjika Shukla, 31, is an associate director at recruitment agency Michael Page Singapore. She has been recruiting mid to senior level technology roles since 2011 with PageGroup across Singapore and India.

Michael Page recently reported an increment of 110 percent in the number of cybersecurity jobs placed from 2017 to 2018. We delve further into the topic with Shinjika, who spoke about how workers and businesses can ride the wave.

Q: What are your thoughts on this trend, and do you see it persisting?

Digital transformation is the need of the hour. Companies are ensuring that they strengthen their internal capabilities to counteract the cyber risks and vulnerabilities they may be exposed to due to digitisation.

These transformation projects have led to an increment in the demand for cybersecurity professionals. Multiple such vacancies remain unfulfilled due to a lack of candidates with good problem-solving skills and critical thinking abilities backed by strong ICT (infocommunication technology) fundamentals.

We forecast a continued increment in demand for cybersecurity professionals in 2019 as more and more employers are undergoing digital transformations and process automation.

Q: Is the increased focus on cybersecurity transforming other jobs in ICT?

Traditional IT security roles involved process monitoring within the security operations centre. As technology evolves, so do the cyberattacks. A point to take note is how cybercrime is driven by human psychology and behaviour. This leads to the cyber defence teams evolving beyond traditional methodologies and investing in combining human science with technology solutions to predict future cyberattacks and overcoming them with strong defence.

Cybersecurity is increasingly being paired with emerging technologies such as data science, analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, to name a few. To forecast future cyberattacks, the cybersecurity function is also leveraging marketing professionals to create internal and external awareness, and understand how online trends are captured.

Q: Where is the demand for cybersecurity talents coming from, and why?

Companies are increasingly looking to digitise and automate processes to meet consumers’ demands. The increment in almost all processes going online exposes companies to cyber risks and vulnerabilities.

Companies trying to stay on top of market or consumer demands and trends have to embrace digitalisation which comes with its own cyber perils. This leads to an increase in the demand for cybersecurity professionals who will ensure consumer data, payment process, etc are safe and secure, thus ensuring the success of these digital transformation and automation exercises.

Q: What can companies facing a shortage of cybersecurity talents do?

It is important to provide upskilling and reskilling opportunities to existing employees and the talent pool. Providing training opportunities, enrolling them in certification courses, giving them exposure to networking and cross-sharing capabilities on collaborative platforms are a few ways to support the continuous technical growth of your ICT employees.

Q: What are the different roles within cybersecurity? To fill them, what skillsets are necessary?

Security Management, vulnerability management, and research and development. Strong IT fundamentals along with strong problem-solving skills will be key in any cybersecurity role.

Cybersecurity is a transferable skillset and industry agnostic. ICT professionals with strong understanding of IT fundamentals in infrastructure and applications backed with strong problem solving and analytical thinking skills should do well in these roles. It is important to approach the cybersecurity profession with humanised skillsets because technical skillsets are easier to teach.

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