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Asia's demand for IT security staff to grow

Education sector must keep pace with increasing demand from businesses looking to hire security specialists, urges teaching staff.

SINGAPORE--Complexities in the IT security landscape and demand for IT security professionals are increasing, driving the need for the education sector to keep up, according to a member of the teaching profession.

Song Nay Hay, director of School of Media and Info-communications Technology (SMIT) at Singapore Polytechnic, said partnering an antivirus vendor is important in supplementing the school's curriculum with newer threats. Such partnerships will also better prepare students for the workforce, Song said, at the official opening Wednesday of a Symantec-sponsored infocomm security laboratory located at Singapore Polytechnic.

"The security laboratory will give students the opportunity to learn about the latest security investigation techniques, right here in the polytechnic," he added.

Symantec also recently began offering a certification course at Singapore Polytechnic, in addition to sponsoring the software acquired for the laboratory.

This move rides on the rising demand for security professionals, said Song, noting that Singapore's Ministry of Home affairs has already expressed interest in hiring the entire student cohort due to graduate next year.

Darric Hor, Symantec general manager for Singapore and Indonesia, said: "With the evolving threat landscape, the key success factor is having well-trained people to sharpen Singapore's defenses against malicious [attacks]."

Singapore Polytechnic offers the Symantec course to a handful of students, selected from those who have enrolled for the school's Diploma for Infocomm Security Management (DISM). Offered as an additional component to the school curriculum, the security certification program commences at the end of each school term.

Symantec has already put the first batch--consisting six lecturers and 15 students--through the week-long course covering antivirus, antispam and security principles. The IT security vendor said it will continue to add new topics and update the training schedule.

Singapore Polytechnic has 120 students currently enrolled in its three-year DISM course, with its first class due to graduate in 2008.

This announcement follows another recent tie-up between a tertiary institute and IT vendor in Singapore. Just last week, Republic Polytechnic set up an Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) laboratory with software vendor BMC.