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Making A Mid-Career Switch Into Cybersecurity In Singapore

Why Cybersecurity Is In Huge Demand In Singapore

Cybersecurity Career in Singapore
Cybersecurity Professionals

Cybersecurity is and will continue to be a hot topic globally and in Singapore. With the spate of recent hacks affecting some of the biggest companies in the world, including Uber, Microsoft, Red Cross and more. Closer to home, local companies such as Sembcorp Marine and Singapore Airlines have also suffered cybersecurity incidents. The need for cybersecurity professionals has never been more crucial.

According to Channel Asia, the average cybersecurity professional in Singapore makes an average of SGD $90,000.

As recently as August 2021, Channel Asia ranked Singapore as the second best place globally to live and work if you're a cybersecurity professional. The high wages have been spurred by increased cybersecurity spending by companies and governments, hitting a high of US$53 billion in 2020 (Spencer, 2021).


Individuals considering entering cybersecurity can expect a high salary, massive demand for cybersecurity professionals and strong career growth. This confluence of factors makes it an ideal time for individuals seeking a mid-career switch into cybersecurity.


However, entering the industry can be confusing as hundreds of certifications, training organisations and pathways exist. We wrote this article to help demystify the process of making a mid-career switch into the cybersecurity industry in Singapore.


Non-Technical Skills Needed To Enter The Industry

People don't often consider non-technical skills when trying to learn cybersecurity to enter the industry. However, the attitude when learning technical skills forms the bedrock of the learning experience. An individual who does not possess the right attitude will find it exceptionally challenging to become competent enough to become a cybersecurity professional. We highlight three vital non-technical areas you must consider before learning cybersecurity and entering the industry.


1. Resourcefulness

A person studying cybersecurity
Studying Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity professionals must constantly look for clues and answers when performing their roles. Often, issues that present themselves are not straightforward and require scrutiny and analysis. One way cybersecurity professionals hone this ability is to always read up on the latest happenings in the industry or watch the many available videos on YouTube to gain insight into how attackers may be formulating their hacks.

This is similar to when learning cybersecurity; individuals must take it upon themselves to read up on the latest news and pick up skills. Taking a cybersecurity course can provide the foundational cybersecurity skillsets, but in an industry as fast-paced as cybersecurity, being resourceful in learning is crucial.

2. Interest

Studying cybersecurity

A strong interest in cybersecurity is another crucial aspect when entering the industry. We have observed that individuals naturally interested in cybersecurity will take it upon themselves to hone their cybersecurity mindset. We do not recommend anyone learn cybersecurity if they are not interested in the subject. It can be an incredibly dry topic to some individuals, making the learning experience dreadful. Watch our '3 signs cybersecurity is NOT for you' video here. As with any other industry, a natural interest in the subject will allow the learner to absorb materials quicker, and they will spend more time educating themselves on cybersecurity. There are no shortcuts to becoming a cybersecurity professional; it requires hours of practice and continuous upskilling to defend against attackers.

3. Contextual Thinking

Cybersecurity Professional Thinking
Contextual Thinking

Cybersecurity is an ever-evolving field where new ideas, methods and techniques appear regularly. However, the foundations of cybersecurity are rooted in fundamental principles and being able to approach new contexts with past and new knowledge to tackle problems is required.


For instance, threats faced by different operating software (OS) present themselves differently and constantly evolve. Cybersecurity professionals must be able to apply the context in which they are operating and not approach each OS using the same methodology.


The Timeline To Becoming A Cybersecurity Professional

Timeline to becoming cybersecurity professional
Calendar

As a mid-career individual with a full-time job, knowing how many hours you need to commit to becoming competent enough to get a cybersecurity job is essential. For an individual with no IT or cybersecurity background, we recommend spending 18 to 20 hours a week for 4 to 6 months. Of course, this timeline varies depending on their lifestyle and available hours. However, spending anywhere between 280 - 320 hours should enable you to reach the basic competency for employment.

At Centre For Cybersecurity, our Career Kickstart course runs for 6-months on a part-time basis. Therethreeare 3 classes per week at 4 hours each. Students also get hands-on practice outside of class on practice labs, an additional 4-6 hours. This equates to approximately 200 hours of in-class training and 96 hours of individual learning outside class.


Advice On Balancing A Full-Time Job & Learning Cybersecurity

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when balancing a full-time job and learning cybersecurity. It depends on the individual and the sacrifices they can make during the time they are learning. At CFC, we assist our students by ensuring they have access to recorded videos, online notes and practice labs should they not be able to attend any classes. Our trainers also spot individuals who lag behind and might need extra coaching outside of class timings.


One example is a student we have that works as a hawker by day and attends the Career Kickstart course in the evenings. As a highly passionate individual about cybersecurity and has the tenacity to make a mid-career switch into the industry, he regularly has one-on-one consultations with our head trainer, James, to catch up on things he missed and clarify knowledge gaps. This goes back to the attitude when learning cybersecurity highlighted above. It is not easy, especially with a full-time job, but CFC patiently supports each student who puts in the effort. This individual graduated as one of the top students in the cohort and received multiple job cybersecurity job offers as a Security Operations Centre (SOC) Analyst.


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About Centre For Cybersecurity

We specialise in helping individuals secure a cybersecurity career through world-class, industry-relevant training. Our courses provide hands-on, practical experience for students to acquire the necessary skills to break into the industry quickly.


Attend our FREE 'Entering Cybersecurity' information session, where we share more about how to break into the industry.


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