Nurturing a new generation of cyber leaders in Singapore

By Ming En Liew

The inaugural Cybersecurity Strategic Leadership Programme saw 21 local cybersecurity leaders participating in an overseas immersion trip to Silicon Valley and attending a series of modules over five months.

The inaugural Cybersecurity Strategic Leadership Programme concluded on 11 January with the graduation of 21 local senior cybersecurity leaders. Image: Canva

The Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) has recently concluded the inaugural run of the Cybersecurity Strategic Leadership Programme (CSLP), an initiative under the SG Cyber Leaders programme.

“The CSLP aims to strengthen the knowledge, leadership and networks of current and future cybersecurity leaders and grow a pool of world-class cyber leaders in Singapore,” said Josephine Teo, Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information, at the programme’s graduation ceremony held on 11 January. 

In partnership with the Singapore Management University, the training programme was designed specially for senior cyber leaders and comprises five modules over a five-month period, conducted annually. These modules cover leadership skills (Growing a C-suite Mindset), cyber risk management (Being Future-ready).

This year’s programme, which commenced in September 2022 and concluded in January 2023, saw 21 local senior cybersecurity leaders across public and private organisations in the Critical information Infrastructure sectors participate. They hailed from a wide range of industries including Energy, Finance, Government and Healthcare.

As part of the programme, participants had the opportunity to attend an immersion trip to Silicon Valley in the USA, as well as engage in dialogue sessions with prominent cyber professionals including the CEO of the UK National Cyber Security Centre Lindy Cameron and Chief Executive of CSA David Koh.

 “The discussion among peers has benefited me to have greater exposure to cyber security practices in other sectors,” said Christopher Lek, Director of Nanyang Technological University, of his experience in the programme.  

The need for a talented cyber workforce


The global cyber workforce gap continues to pose a problem. Non-profit association (ISC)²’s 2022 Cybersecurity Workforce Study identified a shortage of over 3 million workers globally. Singapore alone faces a gap of over 6,000 workers, according to the study. 


“Any good way we can help this pool grow will be better, but it is not just quantity, it is also quality,” said Teo at the event. “The added challenge in cybersecurity is the fast pace and ever-changing landscape. Any playbook is almost destined to be outdated as soon as it is compiled and we have to be able to deal with this reality.” 


In response, Singapore needs to have the right programmes to nurture the cyber workforce and equip them with the necessary skills, Teo added. 


Besides the CSLP, CSA also announced the creation of a Global Forum on Cyber Expertise (GFCE) Southeast Asia Liaison position at the Singapore International Cyber Week in October last year. 


This initiative sought to help Singapore work more closely with the rest of ASEAN in their cyber capacity-building efforts. The liaison will facilitate the exchange of best practices, foster a deeper understanding of the region’s cyber workforce gap, and enable closer coordination and more efficient use of resources across ASEAN. 


Moving forward, CSA will continue developing new plans to grow the cybersecurity ecosystem and talent pipeline together with industry partners, Teo concluded.

Also read: The cyber trends of 2023, as told by cyber experts