By Rema Nambiar and Kisho Kumari Sucedaram
KUALA LUMPUR: The 2015 SPM results have been announced and while some school-leavers are clear about their next course of action, many others are still busy scouting for a suitable career path.
Medicine, law, engineering, information technology, accounting and business management studies may be the obvious favourites but little-known fields like risk management, digital security and forensic computing are probably equally – if not more – worthy of attention.
According to risk management specialist Dr Barathan Muniyandy, these fields boast glowing prospects as an estimated 30,000 experts in risk management and cyber forensics would be needed by various industries in this country over the next two years.
Pointing out that Malaysia had an “awful shortfall” in terms of graduates with expertise in either risk management or forensic computing, he said currently, only 10 per cent of the market for these jobs has been penetrated.
“The employers can be any company or organisation with an ‘appetite’ for business, including government departments which conduct transactions with members of the public.
“Then, we have some 1,200 public-listed companies in Malaysia and the government wants them to include risk reports in their yearbooks. That explains the need for risk management experts,” he told Bernama in an interview, here recently.
Barathan, who has been involved in risk consulting for the past 26 years, is chief executive officer of Putra Intelek International College (PIIC) in Puchong, Selangor, which is reportedly the only institution in this country offering academic courses in risk management and forensic computing.
In fact, according to Barathan, it is the only higher educational institution in Asia to offer an academic programme in risk management that hovers over business risks, as well as courses in forensic computing and digital security.
He said PIIC, whose chairman is former deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohd Bakri Mohd Zinin, was established in 2000 following a request by the government to introduce a structured academic programme for enterprise risk management studies for students to pursue.
Kicking off with just one course – Diploma in Risk Management – the college now offers a host of other programmes, including crucial ones like the Diploma in Forensic Computing, Diploma in Digital Security, Diploma in Digital Entrepreneurship and Diploma in Logistic Management programmes.
In its quest to keep abreast of industry developments, PIIC has strategic partnerships with Microsoft Corp, the Denmark-based European Institute for Risk Management and CyberSecurity Malaysia, an agency under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.
DEMAND HIGHER THAN SUPPLY
Barathan said since it started conducting the risk management programme, more than 5,000 students have graduated from PIIC and “none of them are unemployed”.
“It shows that there is a demand for risk management expertise. We’re probably the only institution in the country with zero-unemployed graduates,” he said confidently, adding that currently, there were some 400 jobs waiting for risk management and forensic computing graduates.
“Obviously, the demand (for such graduates) is higher than the supply. In fact, we are now calling up some of our former students and telling them that if they are not happy with their current jobs, we could get them another one!”
Barathan said police, military, customs and immigration personnel have also taken relevant courses in PICC and have been promoted at their workplace after they graduated.
He said expertise in risk management and cyber forensics has become all the more relevant now in a world clouded with a host of uncertainties. The past few years have seen new inadequacies being unearthed, he said, and it appeared that the “world is learning, unlearning and relearning things almost automatically. In fact, in recent times, there has been more unlearning than learning”.
The two-and-a-half year Diploma in Risk Management course has 20 modules, which cover the risks inherent in an entire organisation. The students are trained in organisational behaviour, statistics, mathematics, law enforcement, criminal procedure, security and safety, among others.
“Our graduates can serve in any department (like finance, procurement, operations, administration or human resource) across an organisation because the threat is everywhere, and they can apply for up to 20 types of jobs,” said Barathan, adding that this was one of the reasons risk management graduates enjoy high employability.