Securing Our Cyberspace with a Skilled and Diverse Cybersecurity Workforce

 |   Microsoft Malaysia

With every industrial revolution comes new demands and challenges that influence the way people and organizations continue to operate as they head into the future. As a focal point for each revolution, technology and digital transformation shapes the future of people and organizations. With each passing year, newer and more exciting career paths open up, resulting in a rising demand for skilled talent across many industries – key among which is cybersecurity.

A rising need for cybersecurity professionals in Malaysia

Globally, there are over 2.5 million cybersecurity job openings, presenting incredible career opportunities for those who are interested in exploring this field. The same is true in Malaysia as well, as highlighted by Datuk Dr. Amirudin Abdul Wahab, CEO of CyberSecurity Malaysia late last year, there is a shortage of cybersecurity experts in the country, and that Malaysia needs 20,000 cybersecurity knowledge workers by 2025.

While the task of preparing 20,000 cybersecurity professionals is daunting, it is vital that this target is achieved given how rapidly the field of cybersecurity is evolving and how important these professionals are to safeguarding our nation, its people, and its organizations.  This is especially true, as Malaysia becomes more digitalized in all aspects of life, making cybersecurity central to ensuring our future success in the digital economy.

Diversity in cybersecurity as an imperative

Another key point to add here is diversity within the cybersecurity industry. A study by Cybersecurity Ventures found that only 25% of cybersecurity jobs around the world, are held by women. Keep in mind, that there are 2.5 million job openings – meaning there is a gap here that needs to be addressed.

To answer the question of why a diverse workforce would benefit the cybersecurity industry, Vasu Jakkal, Corporate Vice President, Security, Compliance, Identity, and Management, stated in her blog in conjunction with International Women’s Day:

“As a woman working in cybersecurity, I know firsthand that engaging girls, women, and people of color in cybersecurity as early as possible is critical to the growth and impact of our industry. Security threats are increasingly complex, frequent, and impactful; they come from outside and inside the organization and everyone is vulnerable. The landscape requires a workforce of security professionals who bring diverse expertise, backgrounds, and skills to these cybersecurity challenges. And we know there is a huge opportunity with estimates of one million unfilled cybersecurity roles.”

Helping bridge the gender gap is something we at Microsoft passionately pursue – and this includes building awareness and encouraging more women to explore the field of cybersecurity. Within our organization, we formed the Microsoft Women in Security initiative, setting goals of building a strong internal community of female cybersecurity professionals through programs, mentorships, and events.


More recently, we hosted the Women in Cybersecurity Webinar alongside our partners from PERKESO and JA Malaysia to raise awareness among female university students on career opportunities in cybersecurity. Held in conjunction with Women’s History Month in March, we conducted seminars to provide basic cybersecurity skills training whilst discussing the future of women in cybersecurity via a panel discussion.

During the webinar, we also had the honor of having Datuk Seri Dr Mohammed Azman Aziz Mohammed, CEO of PERKESO, address the participants, outlining the rising demand and opportunities in the field of cybersecurity:

“Globally, cybercrime and attacks have cost trillions of Ringgit in damages – with cyberattack on banks and cloud multiplying in 2020. This has contributed to an increased need for cybersecurity skills, to address this challenge.”

He also added that “Cybersecurity has global relevance and we at PERKESO hope that more skilled candidates, particularly women, will enter this field and bring their strengths and skills, to further develop it,” a point which resonates with us at Microsoft as well – given the global nature of cybercrime and cyberattacks, this is a field that has application both inside and outside of Malaysia.

By organizing webinars such as this, we hope to inspire and encourage more young women, to leverage their unique perspectives in the workplace and break gender stereotypes within the cybersecurity industry. Looking beyond the sheer value women can bring to the workforce and the economy as a whole, a career in cybersecurity can also be extremely rewarding and fulfilling. We recently spoke to three incredibly talented female leaders in the local cybersecurity space, all of whom have found success in their respective careers and share a great deal of optimism in the future of women in Malaysia joining the cybersecurity industry.

The way forward

This urgent need to bridge the skills gap resulted in skilling becoming part of our national agenda under the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL) and in our recent national budget, outlining our nation’s strategy and commitment towards skilling within the various sectors and segments, with an aim of transforming our nation into a regional leader in the digital economy

That is why we have aligned ourselves with the government’s MyDIGITAL when we launched our Bersama Malaysia initiative in April 2021. Here we made a commitment to support the skilling of 1 million Malaysians by the end of 2023 and help nurture a future ready workforce capable of driving our nation’s economy towards success.

To achieve our goal, we are continuously collaborating with organizations from both the public and private sectors, including NGOs, conducting seminars and courses to introduce skills to a wide range of communities across the nation. Our commitment to supporting the nation’s growth remains unchanged. While we focus on raising awareness among communities across Malaysia on the need to upskill, reskill and cross skill, we will also continue playing our part in preparing a diverse and talented workforce, equipped for the digital economy.

Are you ready to start your learning journey? Check out these two cybersecurity courses on Microsoft Learn: