Fraud, hacking, and data breaching are becoming more prevalent as the world shifts towards digitalisation. According to the Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID), there were 11,367 cybercrime cases in Malaysia in the first half of 2022, with an increase of 22% since 2016.
Therefore, cyber security is more relevant than ever, requiring talents skilled enough to tackle this global menace. So, let’s explore the definition of cyber security as a career and if it’s the right course for you.
With over 5 billion users today, the internet has begun to dominate our daily lives. This is where cyber security is needed to ensure the internet is safe for all users.
Cyber security involves protecting computer systems, devices, data, and networks from digital attacks, be it by developing software or detecting and mitigating incoming threats, as well as preventing future ones.
The start of your career in cyber security can begin with something other than a specialised computing course. Employers value candidates with a strong foundation in theoretical and practical knowledge of databases, programming, risk management, and web security.
A bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Information Technology, or Computer Engineering can prepare you with the experience you need to kickstart your journey in cyber security.
Choosing a major can be an overwhelming experience, especially for a high school or college graduate. So we’ve listed a few traits that can help determine if cyber security is the right path for you.
There are two sides to cyber security. One is where you aim to hack into a “secured” network to test for potential weaknesses and vulnerabilities, while the other focuses on securing systems and making them “unhackable”. In both cases, the work of a cyber security expert involves a lot of problem-solving.
In this discipline, attention to detail is a skill that comes hand-in-hand with analytical thinking. To be able to defend an organisation from cyber threats, you need to be vigilant to detect the slightest anomaly the moment it arises to provide an immediate solution.
As a cyber security specialist, you’ll be responsible for many tasks like troubleshooting, maintaining security systems, and penetration testing. You must also be comfortable working across various platforms, including cloud and wireless networks. In other words, multitasking is inevitable.
Trends come and go—this is no exception in the cyber security industry. To keep up with ever-changing trends in this field, you must dedicate yourself to continuous life-long learning even after your studies. This ensures you’re flexible and adaptable enough to prevent malicious attacks before they happen.
Cyber security is a fast-paced industry. In this field, you will face new challenges in your day-to-day job. Hence, a critical yet creative mindset can help you solve problems efficiently and effectively, especially under pressure.
Technical skills play a huge part in any IT-related job, even more so for a sector as niche as cyber security. So, below are some technical skills you’ll need to become a professional in this industry.
Mastering networking concepts and the protocols that go into them is a prerequisite before venturing into cyber security. Only by learning about TCP/IP, VLANs, wireless networks, and WAN, among others, can you understand how they can be exploited and subsequently learn to protect them.
Operating systems power all basic computer functions. As such, an in-depth understanding of various operating interfaces is crucial since cyber threats can’t exist without them. You will find yourself working on Windows, Linux, and macOS, or even mobile operating systems like Android and iOS.
Cyber laws are in place to protect internet users from becoming cybercrime victims. Thus, as a cyber security expert, it is essential to be aware of these directives so you’re prepared to make the right decision in a situation that endangers your organisation’s digital assets.
A cyber security course should cover the technical and soft skills you need to excel in this field. Below is a list of subjects you will learn in a cyber security course in Malaysia.
Like any other discipline, cyber security isn’t stagnant. It may be easy for you to grasp the knowledge and put them into practice, but the learning doesn’t stop there. Cyber security is still expanding its reach as a fairly new area of expertise. So as long as you’re passionate about this field, keeping yourself updated on the latest discoveries and trends in the industry shouldn’t be too hard.
Coding may not be a critical skill to get you started in cyber security. However, a certain level of proficiency is beneficial. For example, to track a security breach from malware or a tool left behind by an attacker, you must first know how to decipher the programming languages they’re in.
There are a few components to look at before enrolling in a cyber security course. Below are the academic qualifications and requirements you may have to meet to pursue this course.
Note that this is just a general guideline, as different institutions will have different entry requirements.
A Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science with a major in Cyber Security usually takes 3 to 4 years.
If you’re interested in specialising in cyber security with more advanced training, a master’s program might be your next step. A Master’s in Cyber Security usually takes 1 to 3 years, depending on your chosen mode of study.
There are also short courses that give you extensive theoretical knowledge of cyber security. However, these 3- or 4-month courses might not provide industrial training.
According to statistics, Malaysia’s digital economy will contribute about 25.5% towards the country’s GDP by 2025. This growth will increase demand for cyber security experts and networking professionals in years to come.
Cyber security can lead to many different career pathways, such as:
According to SalaryExpert, an average cyber security specialist earns RM148,125 per annum, with an average bonus of RM6,325. An entry-level equivalent with 1 to 3 years of experience earns an average of RM104,971 annually.
There is also an estimated 20% salary growth in the next five years, bringing the annual salary of cyber security professionals up to RM178,490 by 2027.
The cyber security field is still relatively new. Thus, universities are constantly expanding and perfecting their curricula to prepare students for the ever-evolving market in the real world.
UOW Malaysia KDU’s Bachelor in Computer Science (Hons) located in Utropolis Glenmarie equips students with adequate fundamental skills to develop a strong foundation in computing technology. This course also offers computer security specialisation so that graduates interested in cyber security can get a head start in this dynamic and high-demand sector.
Through UOW Malaysia KDU’s Dual Awards Program, students can graduate with a UOW Australia Award in Cyber Security before returning to Malaysia to complete their 3- or 4-month internship module.
As cybercrimes become more common and hackers grow more sophisticated, the scope of cyber security jobs is expected to broaden significantly in the near future.
So, if you’re keen to be part of an exciting field filled with new challenges, look no further than cyber security. Feel free to drop your enquiries anytime, and we’ll get back to you soon!
Education and Career