Taiwan military offers NT$100,000 a month to hire cyber specialists

The Ministry of National Defense declines to reveal its recruitment numbers

The photo shows Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen was listening to the briefing about cyber security at HITCON in 2016. (By Wikimedia Commons)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - In light of a growing threat of cyber attacks from China and some other nations, Taiwan’s military is hiring cybersecurity experts who have a skill set comparable to professional hackers. The payoff is handsome compared to other similar positions in the government.

Taiwan Ministry of National Defense (MND) is to pay a qualified candidate more than NT$100,000 (US$3,309) a month, according to local media reports. The candidate has to obtain an internationally-recognized certificate of competence that can prove their expertise in programming and solving problems with a computer, as well as in detecting, containing and controlling cyber threats.

The ministry launched the Information, Communications and Electronic Force Command in late June, marking its efforts to strengthen the country’s security in telecommunications and information technology. The command, however, is struggling with finding suitable cyber specialists since its launch due to the shortage of qualified candidates and the noncompetitive pay it offers based on the existing pay rates for public service employees.

Liberty Times reports that the ministry will fund extra pay through a new budget to complement the pay in a bid to attract top cyber security talent, and that will make their monthly salary as high as a major general’s in the military. The number of openings is yet to be made known and the official quoted in the report declined to elaborate further.

Reports of cyberattacks against Taiwanese government websites have been rising since President Tsai Ing-wen assumed office in May of last year, and the National Security Bureau (NSB) website was hit 631,448 times in 2016 alone by cyberattacks, far surpassing the 19,826 attacks and 17,659 attacks in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Taiwan's military is willing to pay a qualified cybersecurity expert more than NT$100,000 (US$3,309) a month, while the candidate can expect to earn the same amount in Taiwan's private sector, between US$3,416 and US$9,166 a month in the United States, according to 104 Job Bank, payscale.com.