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What does it Take to Close the Demand Gap for Cybersecurity Talent?

 

As Singapore continues our drive towards becoming a Smart Nation, digitalisation is expected to permeate every aspect of our business environment and everyday life. In tandem, we need to have a vibrant cybersecurity ecosystem that is made up of professionals with requisite skills to protect our cyberspace.

 

With digitalisation, our enterprises will need to adopt cybersecurity technologies to protect their networks as well as digital assets. At the same time, our ICT professionals in industries will also need to continuously level-up their technical competencies so that they can support the cybersecurity needs of their enterprises.

 

In response, the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), in collaboration with partner agencies, initiated various programmes targeted at boosting the quantity and quality of cybersecurity professionals as well as encouraging excellence within the local cybersecurity community.

 

ESTABLISHING A SKILLS FRAMEWORK FOR CYBERSECURITY

In 2017, CSA, together with SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), Workforce Singapore (WSG) and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), launched the Skills Framework for Infocomm Technology (ICT) to help individuals, employers and training providers promote ICT mastery and lifelong learning. The cybersecurity track of the Skills Framework was co-developed by CSA with IMDA. The cybersecurity track was developed with reference to internationally-recognised standards and represents Singapore’s perspective of the skill sets required for the profession. The Framework will be reviewed and updated periodically to ensure its continued relevance to the evolving industry trends.

 

The cybersecurity track outlines clear and de ned cybersecurity career pathways, enabling cybersecurity professionals and employers to better understand the types of skills and competencies required for different cybersecurity job roles. In addition, it provides a useful reference for Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) and training providers in their development of industry-relevant academic and training programmes.

 

The cybersecurity track of the Skills Framework was also adapted to develop the Cybersecurity Competency Framework (CSCF) for the Public Service. The CSCF guides the professional development of cybersecurity professionals in the Public Service through recommendations on targeted training, certi cations and career progression. It also supports the Cybersecurity Professional Scheme in attracting, developing and retaining cybersecurity professionals in the public sector.

 

ATTRACTING TALENTS INTO THE CYBERSECURITY INDUSTRY

To provide opportunities for fresh and mid- career professionals in adjacent disciplines, such as ICT or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), to take on cybersecurity job roles, CSA partnered IMDA to launch the Cyber Security Associates and Technologists (CSAT) programme in 2016. By collaborating with companies which are CSAT Training Partners, the programme trains and upskills professionals for cybersecurity job roles. Trainees will have the opportunity to undergo structured on-the-job training programmes identi ed by CSAT Training Partners. There are currently nine companies on board the CSAT programme.

 

Since 2017, CSA has been jointly organising the Cybersecurity Career Mentoring Programme with Singapore Computer Society (SCS) to connect students and young professionals with industry mentors. Held on a quarterly basis, industry practitioners and leaders not only provide mentorship and guidance, but also impart insights about career development opportunities in each of the cybersecurity specialisations.

 

RAISING PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS

Continuous skills deepening and raising industry standards to align with internationally-recognised benchmarks are key to enhancing the quality of the cybersecurity ecosystem. This is why CSA actively seeks internationally-recognised certi cations as benchmarks for critical cybersecurity competencies. 

 

In 2016, the Council of Registered Ethical Security Testers (CREST) Singapore Chapter – the rst CREST Chapter in Asia – was set up by CSA in collaboration with the Association of Information Security Professionals (AiSP), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), IMDA, Government Technology Agency (GovTech) and Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), to offer certi cation for penetration testing services in Singapore. CREST is an internationally recognised accreditation and certi cation body that subjects accredited companies to regular and stringent assessment and quali ed individuals to rigorous competency examinations. Through leveraging standards set by CREST, CSA aims to raise the competency standards of our cybersecurity professionals (i.e. penetration testers) and enhance their professionalism. This in turn will provide buyers of penetration testing services in Singapore with con dence that the work is being carried out by quali ed individuals with up-to-date knowledge, skills and competence. 

 

RECOGNISING EXCELLENCE

To give recognition to outstanding professionals, enterprises and students who have contributed to the cybersecurity ecosystem, the inaugural Cybersecurity Awards was launched in 2017. The Awards was organised by AiSP and supported by CSA, as well as seven other professional and industry associations1. By giving due recognition to the contributions of the cybersecurity professionals and enterprises, the Awards aims to inspire them to excel and contribute to the cybersecurity ecosystem.

 

Ever-changing technological developments and fast-paced growth in recent years have placed the cybersecurity industry in the limelight. There is room to grow for professionals and the industry alike. CSA, in collaboration with its stakeholders, will continue to forge ahead to enhance the vibrancy of the cybersecurity ecosystem in Singapore.

 

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