SINGAPORE - Singapore is short of cybersecurity experts, a gap made even more acute by the recent hacking of government websites.
But the Government is moving to plug the shortage by giving more scholarships for such degrees and diplomas, and getting tertiary institutions to include cybersecurity in the curriculum and have it as a specialist track in degree programmes.
But a tough-to-crack problem is that "young people do not find the job sexy", said Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim.
"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 at a media interview last week when he addressed recent infocomms-related incidents as well as Malay/Muslim issues.
To worsen matters, 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 per cent of the 144,300 infocomm workers, which is fewer than the 1,500 or 1 per cent a year earlier.
As a result, vacancies grew to 300 last year compared with 90 the previous year.
The shortage is set to grow as the local cybersecurity market, estimated at $63.7 billion in 2011, is expected to nearly double to about $120 billion by 2017. At the same time, global demand for these professionals is rising at around 11 per cent a year, research firm Frost & Sullivan said.
Its 2013 Global Information Security Workforce Study estimates the Asia-Pacific region has 981,000 such professionals and will need 98,000 more by next year.
In Singapore, the Government is trying to ease the shortage by giving more scholarships for infocomm security studies. This year, 14 of the 70 scholarships from the Infocomm Development Authority are for such studies - 20 per cent compared with 15 per cent in 2009.