What a difference a year makes. In 2021, Jonathan Pang was working in the finance sector, marking his 15th year in the industry.
By the end of 2022 though, he had become a cyber security specialist, and was offered a 50% increment on his starting salary after just six months with his new employers!
Of course, change isn’t always easy, and Jonathan’s journey took some initiative and effort. He shared his career journey and some advice for those looking to make the same leap, with Workipedia by MyCareersFuture.
A desire for change
After over a decade in the finance sector, it was during the tough times of Covid-19 that pushed Jonathan on to move towards his innate interests – computing and cyber security.
It also helped that such fields demand habitual upskilling and upgrading, something he said fit his personal ethos.
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“I also took up courses on data science, apart from computing and cyber security. In the end I gravitated towards the latter, as it felt like a meaningful field that defends the nation in some way.”
Jonathan took up a course in cybersecurity, which covered all the elements of various security technologies, skills and up-to-date techniques to effectively handle today’s cyber threats.
Over the course of the five months, he learnt cybersecurity skills linked to cloud-optimised networks, applications, web services, and more.
This was part of courses Temasek Polytechnic ran in partnership to the SGUnited Skills programme, which has since been replaced by the SkillsFuture Career Transition Programme (SCTP) offered by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG).
It supports mid-career individuals in acquiring industry-relevant skills to improve employability and pivot to new sectors or job roles. It is a train-and-place programme available part-time or full-time, ranging from three to 12 months.
After finishing his course, Jonathan was offered the chance to participate in a career event at Temasek Polytechnic organised by Workforce Singapore (WSG), specially curated for these cybersecurity trainees.
It was at this event that Jonathan would come to meet his future employer, Security Spectrum Services (SSS). They are a company that specialises in cybersecurity consulting services for multinational companies, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises.
Employers are looking for mid-careerists too
For SSS, hiring local talents and supporting mid-career professionals were key factors in their participation at WSG’s “Meet Employers Together” event in August 2022.
Zulkifli Jalil, Jonathan’s current manager at SSS, shared with Workipedia by MyCareersFuture: “Events like these really help our hiring goals, as there’s already a pre-selection of genuinely suitable candidates with the necessary certification and training amongst other skills.”
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He also shared some of the challenges SSS has in finding suitable local candidates for their positions.
“Besides certifications, ideally we look at other areas, such as any basic technology experience, people skills, an ability to adapt, passion, and commitment.”
These were traits that Jonathan had equipped himself with to be ready for this job opportunity, and he shared his recollection of the WSG event.
“It was certainly a good opportunity at that time, given during the Covid-19 pandemic period, there weren’t many events that were face-to-face, but crucially it was well-coordinated and curated as well.
“We were given job descriptions to the positions available ahead of time, so we knew that there would be cyber security roles that would fit our recently acquired skills for sure!”
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Six months down the road
In fact, SSS had shortlisted six candidates from the event, but ultimately Jonathan was their top candidate after a second follow-up interview.
“Other than his Temasek Cybersecurity course certifications, his experience and passion about the industry stood out from the rest of the candidates”, Zulkifli revealed.
Since then, Jonathan has excelled at his new job. He has even received an increment rapidly after his career change, according to SSS.
Keith Kwan, the founder and managing partner of SSS, concluded: “(In fact), we ultimately hired two guys from the (WSG) event, with another joining us in January 2023.
“Both are working well, and the best takeaway for SSS was their attitude and motivation, which are traits that can’t be imparted.”