Cybersecurity Rise in Job Demand & Salary in Malaysia Makes it a Top Course to Study
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Digital or IT-related jobs, including Cyber Security professionals will continue to stay in demand for the next decade. And, with a growing number of large-scale cyberattacks, it’s no surprise that cybersecurity experts are high on the wanted list. Malaysian organisations need such professionals to safeguard their IT operations. The increasing threat of cyber security has created huge demand for security experts who can safeguard the IT systems of organisations against malicious cyber-attacks.
According to Frost & Sullivan’s digital talent study, Malaysia needs 10,500 Cybersecurity talents in 2020. Therefore, Malaysian students who have an interest in computing courses and are good in Mathematics should consider a career in Cyber Security as it has a future high job demand & salary.
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Malaysia’s Cybersecurity Potential
Regulators in Malaysia have been increasing their requirements in the areas of technology risk and cyber security. As a result, technology governance is starting to become an independent function in every organisation, particularly within financial institutions.
Hiring for positions like CISO (chief information security officer), IT security risk professionals and IT audit analytics will surge significantly in the coming quarter to not just enforce regulations but also assist in technology implementations.
Cyber resilience is another area that is rapidly gaining recognition in overcoming ‘smart’ attacks and cyber-crime. Detection and training against these threats has become an everyday subject along with adopting data analytics to perform audit works for the third line of defence.
The ideal candidate for such roles would be adept at using large data sets to find opportunities for reducing risk, detecting fraud, optimising cost and operations efficiency and using models to test the effectiveness of different courses of action.
When it comes to potential in the cybersecurity industry, Malaysia is one of the best ranking countries in the ASEAN region. Here are the details:
- 3.5 Million: A study by CyberSecurity Ventures shows that by 2021 there will be a deficit of 3.5 million cyber security professionals in the world
- 10,500: Number of cybersecurity talent demand in Malaysia by the year 2020 (Source: Frost & Sullivan’s recent digital talent study)
- Top 10% of job opportunities in Malaysia is related to cybersecurity. (Source: Talent Pool Report Pro – Oct 2017)
- 21%: The percentage of women in Malaysian cybersecurity Workforce (Source: Dec 2017 LinkedIn Report)
- USD 632.6M: Estimated value of Malaysia’s overall security services market in 2021 (Source: IDC market Security product and services forecast, 2H16)
- Over 10,000 cyber incidents reported per year in Malaysia 4. 7,667 reported cyber incidents between January-September 2019
- 30% of the cybersecurity environment to incorporate cognitive/AI technologies by 2018 6. 70,624 hacked servers were up for sale in 2017
Rise in Cybersecurity Incidences in Malaysia
Cybersecurity is very much a global issue. When attacks happen in the US, chances are, they will trickle down to other parts of the world too.
According to Forbes, the global cybersecurity market reached $75 billion for 2015 and is expected to hit $170 billion in 2020.
In Malaysia, specifically, cybercrimes have increased at an average of 10,000 cases per year – the highest number involves online scams and hacking information systems of organisations.
CyberSecurity Malaysia receives between 9,000 and 10,000 incident reports each year on various matters of contention happening in cyberspace.
The cyber security specialist agency under the Communications and Multimedia Ministry has recorded 7,667 cases of cyber-related incidents for the first nine months of 2019, compared to 6,182 cases recorded during the same period in 2018.
The figures from the agency showed that for January through September 2019, a total of 1,025 cases of intrusions have been recorded, intrusion attempts (69) and malicious codes (515), creating fear of the security of the country’s information technology infrastructure.
For the whole of 2018, 1,805 intrusion attempts were recorded, intrusions (1,160) and malicious codes (1,700).
More malicious codes are used to cause security breaches or intended to damage systems.
TMR reported that there are 178 cases of data breach to date, almost a 200% jump than the 63 attacks recorded last year, according to Malaysia Computer Emergency Response Team of CyberSecurity Malaysia’s figures.
In 2017, only 19 cases were reported in Malaysia but the advancements in hacking techniques and the almost muted responses to calls to enhance complex network systems had made many organisations vulnerable targets.
A survey by Chubb of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) revealed that 84% of SMEs in Malaysia were affected by cyber incidents in the past year.
Asean’s cybersecurity spending is forecasted to grow 15% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) between 2015 and 2025. In addition, Malaysia is one of the top three Asean countries that are expected to contribute 75% of the cybersecurity services market share by 2025
Cybersecurity Job Demand in Malaysia
According to a Frost and Sullivan survey, the demand for cybersecurity-related jobs would hit 10,500 by 2020. Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) shares that Malaysia is one of the best ranking countries in the Asean region based on potential in the cyber-security industry.
Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation chief executive officer Datuk Yasmin Mahmood said it was forecasted that by 2020, the industry would see a talent gap of about 6,000 given its current trajectory.
Additionally, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has teamed up with global technology and information security association ISACA to address the shortage of cyber security professionals in our country. Cybersecurity strategists, cyber troopers and cyber warfare analysts are in demand in the market.
Cybersecurity concerns, and corresponding countermeasures, will also likely be a major investment theme as major cyber-attacks continually made making headlines. Candidates who are skilled in OpenSource, DevOps or cyber security are limited in number but essential to digital development plans, so they will be highly sought after.
With so much data that needs to be protected from theft or damage, governments and businesses need trained professionals in Computer Security or Cyber Security to ensure sufficient protection
Salary for Cybersecurity Specialists in Malaysia
As it can be seen above, Cybersecurity ICT professionals can command higher than the average monthly salary of their respective job categories. Why are the salaries so high? One explanation is that there is a critical shortage of specialised cybersecurity professionals worldwide who are able to protect organisations from sophisticated online attacks.
- According to Randstad Malaysia, a Cybersecurity Engineer with 5-8 years experience can earn between RM8,000 to RM15,000 a month.
- According to Hays Salary Report 2020, the salary for Cybersecurity Specialists in Malaysia per year:
- Digital Forensics (EnCase/Blacklight/Wireshark) RM180 – 360k
- Incident Respond Specialist (EnCase/Blacklight/Wireshark) RM168 – 300k
- CybersecurityConsultant (EnCase/Blacklight/Wireshark) RM 216 – 300k
- Malware Reverse Engineer (EnCase/Blacklight/Wireshark) RM 240 – 360k
- Digital Forensics (Blackduck) RM240 – 360k
- Incident Respond Specialist (Blackduck) RM168 -300k
- Cybersecurity Consultant (Blackduck) RM216 – 300k
- Malware Reverse Engineer (Blackduck) RM240 – 360k
- Michael Page Salary Benchmark 2020
- Financial Services – Base salary range for 12 months (MYR’000)
- IT Security Engineer 60 – 77
- Assistant IT Security Manager 120 – 144
- Senior IT Security Manager 180 – 228
- Technology & Communications – Base salary range for 12 months (MYR’000)
- IT Security Engineer 72 – 108
- Senior IT Security Specialist 108 – 144
- Financial Services – Base salary range for 12 months (MYR’000)
- According to Kelly Services 2019 Salary Guide an Information Security Manager with 5-8 years experience earns between RM12,000 – RM20,000 a month while a Security Analyst with 3-5 years experience earns RM6,000 – RM8,000.
- According to Robert Walters Salary Survey 2020, the average salary per year for IT Governance & Information/Cybersecurity:
- Chief Information Security Officer 360 – 540k
- Business Information Security Officer 216 – 300k
- Security Manager 144 – 228k
- Security Governance 96 – 168k
- Security Specialist 72 – 144k
- Penetration Tester 72 – 156k
- IT Audit Manager 102 – 204k
- IT Risk Manager 120 – 240k
- According to PIKOM Salary Report 2018, the average monthly salary of the top five paying cybersecurity jobs for the Entry Level category ranged from RM2,500 to RM3,400 in 2017. Security Analyst (e-security) was the position with the highest average monthly salary at RM3,400, followed by Network Security Engineer (RM3,000), Security Operator (2,750), Security Engineer (RM2,650), and Security Analyst at RM2,500.
- In the Senior Executive Category, Two positions, Security System Engineer and IT Security Incident Response Analyst, commanded an average monthly salary of RM15,000 to RM15,500 respectively, which is more than double the overall average monthly salary of ICT professionals in this category at RM7,057. The average monthly salary of the three remaining top jobs in this category ranged from RM10,500 to RM12,500.
- Senior Manager Level Category – The top paying position in this category was an IT Operations Security Senior Manager with an average monthly salary of RM20,500, also higher than the overall average monthly salary of RM19,147. The other top paying cybersecurity jobs in this category were Information Security Architect (RM17,500), Cybersecurity Senior Manager (RM17,000), Business Information Security Officer (RM15,225) and Senior Manager for IT Security and Infrastructure (RM13,000).
- As it can be seen above, Cybersecurity ICT professionals can command higher than the average monthly salary of their respective job categories. Why are the salaries so high? One explanation is that there is a critical shortage of specialised cybersecurity professionals worldwide who are able to protect organisations from sophisticated online attacks. In Malaysia, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has teamed up with global technology and information security association ISACA to address the shortage of cyber security professionals in our country. There are currently 6,300 cyber security professionals in Malaysia and a target has been set to provide 10,000 professionals by 2020.
- Cybersecurity concerns, and corresponding countermeasures, will also likely be a major investment theme as major cyber-attacks continually made making headlines. Candidates who are skilled in OpenSource, DevOps or cyber security are limited in number but essential to digital development plans, so they will be highly sought after.
Professionals who have prior experience in cybersecurity, either from agencies or with portfolios in banks and FIs, will be highly in demand in 2020
When it comes to fintech and banktech, Randstad’s report points out that an area with exceptionally high talent demand is cybersecurity. Citing Frost & Sullivan reports, the potential economic loss from cyberthreats can be estimated at a hefty US$12.2 billion (RM50.4 billion), which is more than 4% of the total GDP (US$296 billion).
“Professionals who have prior experience in cybersecurity, either from agencies or with portfolios in banks and FIs, will be highly in demand in 2020,” the report continues.
It adds that fintech firms and banktech teams are focused on building their capabilities in machine learning and artificial intelligence (ML/AI), as well as robotics process automation (RPA). According to a Forrester report, the global RPA market will increase to US$2.9 billion (RM11.9 billion) by 2021, from US$250 million in 2016 (a 1,160% jump).