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MDEC: Cyber security specialist in high demand, commands lucrative pay


(R-L) Madden, National Security Council cybersecurity director for policy, awareness, capacity building, and international division Syariffah Rashidah Syed Othman, British High Commissioner to Malaysia Vicki Treadall and Yasmin during the MOU exchange between MDEC and PGI - MDEC

(R-L) Madden, National Security Council cybersecurity director for policy, awareness, capacity building, and international division Syariffah Rashidah Syed Othman, British High Commissioner to Malaysia Vicki Treadall and Yasmin during the MOU exchange between MDEC and PGI - MDEC

Cyber security looks to continue being a highly lucrative career, even as Malaysian agencies and educators attempt to bring fresh blood into the market. 

Protection Group International (PGI) chief corporate development officer Sebastian Madden said IT professionals that up-skill to specialise in security could easily see a 20% pay bump, while many studying the field were already landing job offers before graduation.

"Demand is outgrowing supply and pushing up pay, as companies compete for the best talent," he said, adding that the demand was growing exponentially as countries introduced regulations which made cyber security mandatory for certain industries.

It was estimated the global shortage in the field would reach 1.5 million by 2020. 

To address this imbalance, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) was collaborating with PGI, the Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) and security solutions provider Tecforte to drive the Platform for Real Industry Driven Project Exchange (PRIDE) talent programme.

MDEC chief executive officer Datuk Yasmin Mahmood said this was especially timely as increasing wave of cyber threats risked impeding the nation's goals to develop its digital economy.

A study by AT Kearney found that the top 1,000 ASEAN companies could lose US$750bil (RM2.96tril) in market capitalisation from cyber security breaches. Due to that, security spending was forecasted to grow 15% on a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR), between 2015 to 2025. 

Citing a December 2017 LinkedIn report on cybersecurity talents in Malaysia, Yasmin said a study found that 21% of the workforce were made up of women, compared to the 11% in the United States.

"But the overall situation is cause for alarm as the funnel of new talent is too small and not enough to sustain and support growing demand of our Digital Economy," she said. 

MDEC would be collaborating with PGI to roll out Security Operations Centre – Incident Responder (SOC-IR) programme targeting 72 professionals to be up skilled, primarily lecturers, Malaysia managed security services providers, government agencies and critical national information infrastructure enterprises. 

This programme would "train the trainers" making them qualified to teach others too. 

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