Singapore gov't offering more scholarships to groom cybersecurity talent

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-12-12 9:20:33

The Singapore government is offering more scholarships to encourage young people to pursue degrees and diplomas in cybersecurity, Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim said.

It is also trying to get tertiary institutions to include cybersecurity in the curriculum and have it as a specialist track in degree programs to plug the shortage in cybersecurity experts, local media on Thursday quoted Yaacob as saying in an interview.

The comment followed a recent spate of attacks on the websites of government and government-affiliated websites.

The tough problem is that "young people do not find the job sexy," the minister said.

"A young IT (information technology) grad wants to go into banking, finance, sales and marketing. He doesn't want to be at the back end," he said.

Several suspects have so far been arrested and charged in connection with attacks on the websites of the Prime Minister's Office, the presidential place Istana, as well as a local newspaper and a town council.

The Straits Times said that the proportion of IT security specialists is shrinking even as demand keeps growing.

Latest official figures show Singapore had 1,200 IT security specialists last year. This is 0.8 percent of the 144,300 infocomm workers. Vacancies grew to 300 last year from 90 in 2011.

The shortage is set to grow as the local cybersecurity market, estimated at 63.7 billion Singapore dollars (51 billion US dollars) in 2011, is expected to nearly double to about 120 billion Singapore dollars (96 billion US dollars) by 2017.

The global demand for these professionals is rising at around 11 percent a year, research firm Frost & Sullivan said.

This year, 14 of the 70 scholarships from the Infocomm Development Authority are for studies in cybersecurity.

Yaacob said that banks cannot find enough local talent to secure their systems against cyberthreats.

The minister said he is confident a new five-year Cybersecurity Masterplan, launched in July before the spate of hacking incidents, will strengthen the resilience of Singapore's infocomm infrastructure against threats.

He also cited data analytics as another area in demand. The government wants to develop 2,500 such experts in five years. By 2017, this skill in crunching and making sense of data is expected to add 1 billion Singapore dollars (800 million US dollars) to the economy.

Posted in: IT

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