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Is Cyber Security a Good Career in Asia?

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There has never been a better time to start a career in cyber security. 

 

The cyber security industry is experiencing exponential growth, with the market reaching a USD$156 billion valuation in 2020 with a projected rise to USD$352 billion by 2026, registering a growth rate of 14.5% between 2021 to 2026.

 

In Asia, jobs in cyber are growing at an even faster pace than in more established markets in North America and Europe. Whilst in the latter, the cyber industry has been around for decades, Asia’s scene is more nascent, and the opportunities are opening up across the region. To meet this demand, universities are also equipping themselves to arm younger generations with the skills to work in cyber security, with athenaeums by the likes of NUS, SUSS, HKU, and APU all offering undergraduate and postgraduate cyber security courses that have been introduced in recent years.

 

This growth is being driven by multiple factors. Concurrent advancements of technologies such as the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) have sped up the rate of digital adoption in Asia. This has led to large strides in digital adoption with Singapore now being ranked the second most digitally competitive country in the world after the United States.

 

Moreover, the onset of remote working brought on by the pandemic has led to an increased rate of cyber incident frequency as organizations now face a higher risk of cyber breach due to the vulnerabilities of a decentralized workforce. The level of cyber risk that Asian companies face today can no longer be ignored or mitigated with simple antivirus tools alone and the need for more skilled cyber security professionals filling positions at companies of all sizes and industries.

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Whether you are a student, a recent graduate, or someone who is thinking about making a pivot in their career, taking up a new job in cyber security could be the next step you’ve been looking for. 

 

Use this helpful guide below to learn more about the career options available in cyber security starting with frequently asked questions about roles in the industry. 

 

Do Cyber Security Jobs Pay Well?


Cyber security companies report that skilled talent is hard to find, and offer good pay and learning opportunities to those who have the relevant competencies and predisposition to grow into these roles.

 

Working in cyber security exposes you to a fast paced and rapidly developing environment. As the cyber threat landscape is constantly evolving, staying up to date on the latest cyber threats and malicious actors is crucial to success with new roles being born as cyber threats and cyber regulations develop. 

 

In Asia, the following salary ranges can be expected for some of the most frequently in demand positions: 

  • Cyber Security Analyst: USD$ 22,000 and USD$77,000 a year 

  • Penetration Tester: USD$29,000 and USD$90,000 a year

  • Senior Security Consultant: Up to USD$103,000 a year

  • Chief Information Security Officer: Up to USD$255,000 a year

 

What Skills are Needed for a Career in Cyber Security?

 

The two most important factors that determine a successful cyber security career are exposure and experience. 

 

Experience is key to building confidence with the different tools used in various cyber security situations, whilst exposure to a diverse number of areas is essential to becoming a well-rounded cyber security professional. This can be achieved by shadowing experienced professionals and learning from them, but also from online resources such as videos, webinars, and courses.

 

As far as hard skills go, those aspiring to both technical and non-technical roles in cyber security should have a basic knowledge of programming and understand the fundamentals of how a computer works. One way to achieve this is through a cyber security degree, which will empower you with the foundations to develop your career. Independent learning is also an option, with courses in C, C+, C++, Python, and Java available for free or at a low cost online, along with a vast library of learning materials. 

 

For those already graduated from university or later in their career, cyber security certifications can also reflect your interest and expertise if your goal is to work in the cyber industry. Recommended certifications include CISSP, CISA, CISM, Security+, GSEC, CEH, SSCP, CASP, GCIH, and OSCP. Beyond signalling interest in the industry, achieving these certifications is a requirement for most non-entry level, technical positions, and can boost your chances of getting hired in the industry. On LinkedIn, almost 90,000 job postings have at least one cyber security certification in their role description.

 

Overall, while it may sound hard to get a job in cyber security, there are many options to make inroads into the still developing cyber job market that don’t require years of prior experience or a graduate degree like in other more established segments. Setting clear goals and working consistently to upskill yourself while gaining as much exposure and experience as possible is the best way to kick start your career in cyber.

What skills are needed for cyber security?

 

The two most important factors that determine a successful cyber security career are exposure and experience. 

 

Experience is key to building confidence with the different tools used in various cyber security situations, whilst exposure to a diverse number of areas is essential to becoming a well-rounded cyber security professional. This can be achieved by shadowing experienced professionals and learning from them, but also from online resources such as videos, webinars, and courses.

 

As far as hard skills go, those aspiring to both technical and non-technical roles in cyber security should have a basic knowledge of programming and understand the fundamentals of how a computer works. One way to achieve this is through a cyber security degree, which will empower you with the foundations to develop your career. Independent learning is also an option, with courses in C, C+, C++, Python, and Java available for free or at a low cost online, along with a vast library of learning materials. 

 

For those already graduated from university or later in their career, cyber security certifications can also reflect your interest and expertise if your goal is to work in the cyber industry. Recommended certifications include CISSP, CISA, CISM, Security+, GSEC, CEH, SSCP, CASP, GCIH, and OSCP. Beyond signalling interest in the industry, achieving these certifications is a requirement for most non-entry level, technical positions, and can boost your chances of getting hired in the industry. On LinkedIn, almost 90,000 job postings have at least one cyber security certification in their role description.

 

Overall, while it may sound hard to get a job in cyber security, there are many options to make inroads into the still developing cyber job market that don’t require years of prior experience or a graduate degree like in other more established segments. Setting clear goals and working consistently to up-skill yourself while gaining as much exposure and experience as possible is the best way to kick start your career in cyber.

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Roles in Cyber Security

 

As cyber security is a fairly new and evolving industry, the titles for similar roles across companies may differ and cause confusion for new job seekers. With that said, cyber security roles tend to fall into three key areas: management, technical, and senior leadership. Whilst the latter is only taken up by seasoned and experienced professionals, committing to one of the first two categories is an important decision to anyone starting their career in cyber. Below is a list of some of the most popular roles in cyber security.

 

Entry-Level Roles

Cyber Security Analyst - Security analysts are usually assigned tasks such as installing, managing, and updating software on company systems and networks. They are also responsible for ensuring that software on monitored endpoints has adequate security measures in place. Analysts may also assist security projects by compiling ongoing reports about the security posture of the networks they work on.

IT Monitoring Analyst - These roles typically perform network monitoring activities, targeting low level threats and submitting vulnerabilities to be patched by more experienced associates. 

Junior Cyber Security Consultant - Junior cyber security consultants usually assist more senior consultants in projects for external clients. These can be company-wide cyber security posture assessments, digital transformation projects or problem-solving type exercises. Junior consultants will typically carry out data collection and analysis, as well as research and report writing.

Mid-Level Roles

Cyber Security Project Manager - Cyber security project managers work to create and implement process and technology components in security strategies. This requires project management programs to ensure solutions are implemented effectively and efficiently.

Cloud Security Specialist - As organizations move their data and operations to the cloud, the need to protect company cloud environments from cyber attacks has risen exponentially. Cloud specialists protect data and systems from compromise in off-premises or cloud environments.

 

Identity and Access Manager - Identity and access managers protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data by managing user access to company networks. According to the principle of least privilege, all employees should only have access to what they need to have access to, and only when they need it.

Security Engineer - Enterprise security requires a layered approach, and security engineers work in the various stages of designing and building the layers of security systems required to protect the enterprise. These include building encryption systems, email security systems, firewalls, and more.

Security Operations Specialist - Roles in security operations focus on the active protection of an organization by keeping ongoing tabs on cyber defences and monitoring internal networks. They can work as part of an internal Security Operations Centre (SOC) or in a specialized Digital Forensics and Incident Response services provider like Blackpanda. 

Ethical Hacker - Ethical hacking includes conducting Vulnerability Assessments and Penetration testing. Also known as “red teaming”, these roles attempt to penetrate networks by thinking like a criminal would, highlighting vulnerabilities and backdoors that need to be patched and protected. 

Senior-Level Roles

Domain Manager - Depending on the size of the organization, every domain requires leadership and management. For many cyber technicians, this may present an opportunity to transition from doing hands-on work to leading and guiding a team. 

 

Chief information Security Officer - Senior leadership is critical in cybersecurity. A CISO is a senior-level champion who steers the team and the company towards their optimal cyber security posture. To become a CISO, you need a broad range of experience and understanding across all areas of cybersecurity, as well as strong people and leadership skills.

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​As you can tell, the cyber security industry is a growing space, and it offers exciting opportunities for fresh grads and professionals seeking a career change alike. This fast-paced and rapidly changing environment offers enticing pay and a range of career development possibilities.


If you are interested in joining a rapidly expanding company specializing in white-glove Digital Forensics and Incident Response services for the APAC region, check out our current openings here

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