How much do Cybersecurity Specialists earn in Malaysia?
With the threat of a cyber-attack escalating in recent years, cyber security spend has increased dramatically. As there has been a spate of well-publicised attacks recently, the amount being spent by businesses on improving their systems and hiring professionals will only increase. There is an increase in permanent demand for security experts such as security analysts and security architects, cyber threat intelligence analysts, consultants and cyber incident analysts being the most in-demand. Malaysian businesses looking to hire a cyber security specialist must be prepared to pay a higher premium for professionals with these skills as they are in short supply.
Malaysian students who have an interest in computing courses and good in Maths should consider a career in Cyber Security as it will be very high in demand in future. Furthermore, it pays well. Malaysia targets employing 20,000 cybersecurity professionals by 2025 with the right training in artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and Big Data across all industries. The rapid growth of the cybersecurity industry, coupled with threats posed by technological advancements, is resulting in greater job creation in the field.
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Salary for Cybersecurity Specialists in Malaysia
When choosing a course, students should also consider the salary for the career that they will enter into after graduation. Having counseled thousands of students, EduSpiral provides solid information to help students make the right choice for their future.
The demand for cybersecurity experts in emerging markets like Malaysia is so high that companies are turning their roles into highly lucrative careers and poaching students with job offers even before they graduate.
United Kingdom-based cyber-security firm Protection Group International (PGI) says IT professionals who upskill to specialise in security could easily see a 20 percent increase in pay, The Star reported.
Demand is outgrowing supply and pushing up pay, as companies compete for the best talent in Malaysia.
Listed below are the salaries for cybersecurity specialists in Malaysia as reported by the Human Resource Recruitment Specialists in their Salary Guide.
Randstad Malaysia market outlook & salary snapshot 2022
The Malaysian government has also taken strides to spur digitalisation even further. In February 2021, the
government launched its digital blueprint—MyDIGITAL, a roadmap that charts the path towards Malaysia’s vision of becoming a regional leader in the digital economy.
Some of these initiatives include increasing the number of local data centres to provide high-end cloud computing services, rolling out 5G networks, and driving greater cybersecurity adoption.
MyDIGITAL is expected to create 500,000 new job opportunities in the digital economy and, in effect,
contribute 22.6% of Malaysia’s gross domestic product by 2030.
In relation to the rise of cloud technology, there is a huge demand for cybersecurity professionals today. As Malaysian firms of all shapes and sizes go digital and incrementally move their operations online, their
vulnerabilities to cyber threats have also increased.
In PwC’s Digital Trust Insights Survey 2021, cybersecurity is a growing concern for Malaysian organisations, with 70% of Malaysian business leaders saying cybersecurity and privacy are baked into every business decision. Unfortunately, there is a significant lack of cybersecurity experts in the country.
In 2020, Malaysia recorded a shortage of 7,917 experts within the field. This is consistent with global trends, where the speed of digitalisation greatly outpaces the number of skilled talent. The government aims to resolve this shortage with plans of producing 20,000 cybersecurity knowledge workers by 2025 through the MyDIGITAL blueprint.
- CTO / Head of Technology (Enterprise) with 12-15 years of experience can earn between $20,000 to $35,000 a month
- CTO / Head of Technology (Start-Up) with 15-20 years of experience can earn between $40,000 to $70,000 a month
- Head of Security / CISO with 10-20 years of experience can earn between $20,000 to $35,000 a month
- Security Lead / Architect with 5-10 years of experience can earn between $15,000 to $30,000 a month
- Security Engineer with 1-5 years of experience can earn between $4,500 to $16,000 a month
Government-backed digitalisation to boost talent demand
Despite prolonged lockdowns in 2021, demand for talent in the Technology sector remained steady and resistant to disruption. The main driver of this was the recognition of the digital risks that surfaced because of our new way of working during the pandemic, pushing up the demand for cybersecurity and DevOps professionals.
In 2022, the continued acceleration of digitalisation and virtualisation across all sectors will see businesses adjusting to sustainability needs, ever-increasing data volumes, and faster computing and network speeds.
Additionally, under the MyDigital initiative, the Malaysian government is openly committed to advance the country digitally, aiming to attract and drive investments in the digital economy to create at least half a million jobs by 2025.
Accordingly, the demand for roles within software and programming, data analytics, and RPA (Robotic Processing Automation) will strengthen rapidly in the coming year. At the same time, the acceleration of the Fintech sector will lead to stronger demand for Product Developer, Product Management Lifecycle, and UI/UX Specialist roles as digital payments and digital banks expand.
Furthermore, the digitalisation of industries such as Retail and Healthcare as well as advancements in Greentech are giving rise to new ways to explore and interpret data. Employers are thus seeking out Data Analysts or Data Scientists who demonstrate creativity and has the business acumen to produce useful
insight for their stakeholders
Salary ranges are represented in local currency (RM) in ‘000 per year
- IT Security/IT Risk 180 – 480
- Digital Forensics 180 – 360
- Incident Respond Specialist 120 – 300
- Cybersecurity Consultant 216 – 480
- Malware Reverse Engineer 240 – 360
- Security Operations Center Analyst 120 – 300
- Penetration Tester 144 – 240
- Threat Intelligence Analyst 180 – 360
- CISO 360 – 720
- Cybersecurity Architect 240 – 420
- Security Engineer 72 – 192
- Security Consultant 120 – 216
- IT Audit 96 – 180
Michael Page Malaysia Salary Report 2022
- IT Security Engineer – Average monthly gross salary for 12 months (MYR) 95,000
- Senior IT Security Specialist – Average monthly gross salary for 12 months (MYR) 131,000
PersolKelly Malaysia Salary & Employment Outlook 2021/22
Larger organisations are making efforts to integrate IT into their operations. Cybersecurity and data systems integration solutions are burgeoning. The essentialities of such services received acknowledgement
by SMEs, and the adoption rate reflects the shift. And predictably, the top 10% of job opportunities in Malaysia are cybersecurity-related.
More businesses and companies understand the significance of cybersecurity. With the ongoing global pandemic, most industries are going digital, which indirectly necessitate cybersecurity protection. It is
imperative to keep organisations safe by executing new technologies to address the potential risks.
Budget 2021 allocated RM27million for cybersecurity programs alone. That itself forms the fundamental building blocks of the digital transition under the Malaysian
Digital Economy roadmap.
- Chief Information Officers with12-18 years of experience can earn between RM25,000 to RM40,000 a month
- Security Analyst with 3-5 years experience can earn between RM8,000 to RM10,000 a month
- IT Executive with 2 years experience can earn between RM5,500 to RM7,500 a month
RGF Salary Watch Malaysia 2020 (Cybersecurity)
- Director with more than 20 years of experience
- Global MNC type of company earns between RM300,00 to RM540,000 yearly
- Large Local/Global MNC HQ type of company earns between RM360,000 to RM600,000 yearly
- SME type of company earns between RM240,000 to RM420,000 yearly
- Manager/Architect with15-20 years of experience
- Global MNC type of company earns between RM180,000 to RM252,000 yearly
- Large Local/Global MNC HQ type of company earns between RM216,000 to RM302,000 yearly
- SME type of company earns between RM180,000 to RM252,000 yearly
- Engineer with 5-8 years of experience
- Global MNC type of company earns between RM90,000 to RM126,000 yearly
- Large Local/Global MNC HQ type of company earns between RM96,000 to RM134,000 yearly
- SME type of company earns between RM78,000 to RM109,000 yearly
Pikom’s ICT Job Market Outlook in Malaysia 2018
Pikom’s ICT Job Market Outlook in Malaysia 2018 report highlighted that cybersecurity positions are among the top-paying jobs in each of five position levels from fresh graduate to senior manager (see table).
A critical shortage of specialised cybersecurity professionals worldwide who are able to protect organisations from the adverse risks of the sophisticated online attacks is the reason for the attractive remuneration.
Shortage of Cybersecurity Professionals in Malaysia
As cybercriminals grow more sophisticated and news of major breaches reach headlines nearly daily, cybersecurity professionals are in high demand: There are currently nearly 3 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs worldwide, ISC(2) found.
According to statistics shared by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Malaysia is one of the best ranking countries in the Asean region based on potential in the cyber-security industry with an anticipated demand for 10,500 cyber-security talents in Malaysia by 2020.
But despite the growth in the cybersecurity industry, Malaysia still lags behind in its production of experts, noted CyberSecurity Malaysia (CSM) chief executive officer Datuk Dr Amirudin Abdul Wahab.
As of December last year, Malaysia recorded a shortage of 7,917 professionals but the country is aiming to produce 20,000 cybersecurity experts by 2025. Meanwhile, Malaysia is projected to have an additional 9,020 cybersecurity professional positions by 2026 that need to be filled, noted Tecforte.
In fact, this demand for specialised skills is reflected in the Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey 2019, which reported that 67% of corporations around the world are currently facing skill shortages in big data/analytics, cyber-security and Artificial Intelligence (AI) – ranked top three skills in order of demand.
Malaysia’s Potential in Cybersecurity Industry
When it comes to potential in the cyber-security industry, Malaysia is one of the best ranking countries in the ASEAN region that are expected to contribute 75% of cyber-security services market share by 2025.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)
Malaysia Needs Cybersecurity Graduates Trained with Practical Skills
The statistics above highlight the opportunity for Malaysia’s cybersecurity graduates in current and future economies driven by digital needs. As we head towards a digital economy, the demand will not just be for more graduates, but also “quality” graduates who are ready to meet the demands of the industry.
However, the supply of cybersecurity graduates from local universities is insufficient for the needs of the industry. Furthermore, there is a gap between the quality of students against the requirements or expectations from the industry, as graduates from most universities are mainly educated more on theory and not so much through practical, hands-on experience.
As cyber threats rapidly grow and evolve, it is necessary for graduates to have access to – and operate in – a real-life environment to harness skills in proactive security monitoring and incident responses. These skills are highly in demand in the industry as more Critical National Information Infrastructure (CNII) organisations are continuing to enhance their security capabilities towards greater digital adoption. Immersing students in live-learning also gives them the opportunity to have firsthand experience in dealing with cybersecurity matters.
Therefore, students need to seek out private universities that possess the necessary labs and facilities that will equip them with practical industry relevant skills. This is a value add when they become part of the cybersecurity workforce in the future as it accelerates the skills development.
How to become a Cyber Security Specialist in Malaysia?
Cybersecurity is an interdisciplinary field that requires knowledge in tech, human behavior, finance, risk, law, and regulation. Many people in the cybersecurity workforce enter the field from other careers that tap these skills, and translate them to cyber.
Most entry-level cybersecurity jobs in Malaysia require a 3-year bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity or in a related field such as information technology (IT) or computer science.
Some employers require an advanced qualification such as a master’s degree in cybersecurity. A master’s degree course takes an additional one to two years to complete after the bachelor’s degree programme and provides advanced instruction in protecting computer networks and electronic infrastructures from attack.
A career path for cyber defenders normally starts with a diploma in IT and progresses to an undergraduate programme in computer science or ICT.
The high-level career requires an array of technical ICT skills and advanced analytical capabilities taught in continuing professional courses or postgraduate programmes.
Important technical skills required of cyber defenders include a solid grounding in IT fundamentals (web applications, system administration), coding skills (C, C++, Java, PHP, Perl, Ruby, Python) and a good understanding of the architecture, administration and operating systems. However, to be successful, one needs to be well-equipped with both technical and soft skills such as teamwork, leadership and excellent oral and written communication.
Certification for Cybersecurity
Cyber Security Specialists can also participate in professional training and be awarded international certifications such as:
- Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
- Rocheston Certified Cybersecurity Engineer (RCCE)
- CompTIA Security+
- CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)
- International Information System Security Certification Consortium Inc (ISC)2
- Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA)
- Certified Information Security Auditor (CISA)
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
Degree students may take some of these certification courses during your degree studies however some certifications like the CISSP will require more working experience and expertise before you can attempt them. Your university will be able to advise you on which certification courses would be suitable for you to attempt.
What skills are required to work in cybersecurity?
The skills required to work in cybersecurity vary depending on what position you enter and what company you work for. Generally, cybersecurity workers are responsible for tasks such as penetration testing (the practice of testing a computer system, network, or web application to find vulnerabilities that an attacker could exploit), risk analysis (the process of defining and analyzing the cyber threats to a business, and aligning tech-related objectives to business objectives), and security assessment (a process that identifies the current security posture of an information system or organization, and offers recommendations for improvement).
Certifications, including Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) are also in demand, and can net you a higher salary in the field.
Where can You work with a Degree in Cyber Security?
Graduates can find employment as computer security experts such as cybersecurity analysts, forensic computer analysts, software developers, IT analysts and web application developers in many different organisations.
- Chief Information Security Officer
- Computer Forensics Engineer
- Computer Forensics Investigator
- Cyber Security Analyst
- Ethical Hacker
- Information Security Analyst
- Information Security Engineer
- Information Systems Security Manager
- Information Systems Security Officer
- Malware Analyst
- Penetration Tester
- Secure Applications Engineer
What are some of the Cyber Security Job Roles?
Cybersecurity jobs span a number of different roles with a variety of job functions, depending on their title as well as an individual company’s needs.
In-demand roles include penetration testers, who go into a system or network, find vulnerabilities, and either report them to the organization or patch them themselves. Cybersecurity engineers, who often come from a technical background within development, dive into code to determine flaws and how to strengthen an organization’s security posture. Security software developers integrate security into applications software during the design and development process.
Computer forensics experts conduct security incident investigations, accessing and analyzing evidence from computers, networks, and data storage devices. Security consultants act as advisors, designing and implementing the strongest possible security solutions based on the needs and threats facing an individual company.
At the top of the chain, CISOs helm a company’s cybersecurity strategy, and must continuously adapt to battle the latest threats.
A career in cybersecurity can take the form of various roles, including penetration tester, chief information security officer (CISO), security engineer, incident responder, security software developer, security auditor, or security consultant.