#WorkinginCSA: Hiring Cybersecurity Talent for CSA

16 Jun 2021

Christine Chua, Assistant Director

Meet Christine Chua, an Assistant Director with the Corporate Service division in CSA, as she shares more about her role in leading the talent acquisition and HR operations team. Read on to find out her advice to those looking to work in the cybersecurity industry and her pitch on why one should join CSA!

1. Tell us more about your role.

I lead the talent acquisition and HR operations teams in CSA. In talent acquisition, my role encompasses identifying, engaging and matching talents to the job roles, as well as recommending salary proposals.  This involves regular interaction with both our internal and external stakeholders to understand their needs so as to build a pipeline of talents in CSA. In HR operations, I oversee the HR shared services, which include budgeting, systems administration, on-boarding/exit management, tracking key HR metrics and improving HR processes.

Some of my HR initiatives and projects include reviewing the Cybersecurity Professional Scheme, embarking on an inaugural talent branding campaign, building the first interactive HR dashboard and collaborating with other agencies on overseas talent outreach events.

Besides my core duties, I also had the opportunity to be a liaison officer to the United Kingdom Foreign Commonwealth Office delegation during the Singapore International Cyber Week 2019. It was a memorable stint where I stepped out of my shoes as a HR professional to shadow the UK foreign delegation in their business conferences and arrange bilateral country meetings to initiate international cybersecurity discussions. The stint provided me with exposure to CSA’s efforts in promoting international cybersecurity cooperation.

2. What are the challenges of your job?

CSA has expanded since it was formed six years ago. To facilitate the next phase of growth, it is essential for CSA to hire good calibre cybersecurity professionals with the relevant skillsets and passion to build our in-house capabilities. These capabilities include niche skillsets in penetration testing, incident response, digital forensics, malware analysis, product certification, etc, in protecting Singapore’s cyberspace.

With the current climate of high demand for talent and short supply of niche skillsets, the challenge lies in competing with established tech companies for the experienced cybersecurity professionals – in areas like the value proposition of branding, compensation, workplace culture, impactful projects – to hire and retain our share of tech talents.

As part of the government sector, it is also challenging to balance the speed of hiring with governance processes. Being agile and creative helps me to tackle challenges of my job.

3. We understand you pursued a tech-related Masters in Business Analytics. Why so?

I have always been interested in compensation modelling, which is the analytical aspect of HR that evaluates and benchmarks jobs using market salary data, then builds a salary structure that aligns with the organisation’s business goals and is competitive in attracting and retaining talent. I wanted to expand my analytical know-how and acquire tools to apply in compensation modelling, which was what led me to pursue a Masters in Business Analytics.

During the one-year intensive course, I picked up data science, which is a cross-discipline between business, mathematics/statistics and programming, to work on business use-cases and automate the monitoring of key business metrics in the form of dashboards.

The course also broadened and deepened my understanding of tech domains: data science, in particular, turned out useful in my talent acquisition role to engage tech talents. I appreciate the opportunity to have been sponsored for this course.

4. What is your advice to those looking to work in the cybersecurity industry?

Cybersecurity continually evolves with advances in technology and the growing sophistication of threat adversaries. Also, cybersecurity transverses different tech domains and not only impacts businesses, but also our daily lives. So it is important to have a growth mindset, passion and resilience to keep abreast with the changes, as well as being equipped with the relevant cybersecurity competencies to contribute at work and having an in-depth understanding of the application of cybersecurity in critical information infrastructure sectors.

5. In one sentence, make a pitch about why one should join CSA.

In this era of digital transformation, join CSA and be part of an exciting team protecting Singapore’s cyberspace and digital economy.