Change in the information age is fast and complex, leading to increasing demand for sophisticated skills particularly in the IT sector where new technologies emerge in rapid succession.
Committed to "making a meaningful contribution to the community by providing training and education to advance the skills and performance of people in the workforce", New Horizons Learning Centers of Hong Kong (New Horizons Hong Kong) offers education programmes meeting the contemporary needs of Hong Kong's workforce. The franchiser, New Horizons Learning Centers, is the largest independent IT training company worldwide with more than 300 centres in 50 countries. Listed on the Nasdaq, it boasts the world's largest network of Microsoft certified technical education centers (CTEC) and the world's largest Prosoft certified internet webmaster authorized training partners (ATP). The company was named by Forbes magazine as one of America's "200 best small companies".
Originating in the US, where the most famous IT companies are traditionally based, New Horizons Hong Kong is well known for providing corporate training in forefront IT education. While demand for programmes in products and solutions designed by giants such as Microsoft, Cisco and Novell remains as strong as ever, IT security has recently emerged as a hot skill in demand.
Vincent Ng, an IT consultant at New Horizons Hong Kong says, "We are facing lots of cyber security threats today because of the increasingly sophisticated and damaging forms of attack. Threats include hacker, spam (unsolicited commercial email), phishing (fraudulent messages and websites to obtain personal or sensitive information) and spyware (software that monitors user activities without the knowledge or consent of the user). Since many applications are web-based, we are inevitably vulnerable to hacking attempts. A company cannot afford to have its data compromised because it is such a valuable company asset. In addition, there are serious privacy issues. Many employers are now seeking talent with IT security background to help prevent irreversible damage resulting from hacking and other security threats."
Responding to threats
Ranging from identity theft to cyber terrorism, high-tech threats are fuelling the demand for IT security professionals. According to Mr Ng, both the private sector and government agencies are eager to find the right candidates. "Opportunities abound for qualified candidates, however demand far exceeds supply of qualified people," Mr Ng says.
To equip the local workforce with a skill in such huge demand, New Horizons Hong Kong is offering three EC-Council (International Council of E-Commerce Consultants) certified IT security programmes which cover anti-hacking technologies and computer forensics. EC-Council is a global training provider granting certification in e-business disciplines which are recognised in more than 50 countries. Programmes available at New Horizons Hong Kong include: certified ethical hacker (CEH), computer hacking forensic investigator (CHFI) and EC-Council certified security analyst (ECSA). Each programme can be completed in less than four months.
"In essence, the programmes offer a fast track to acquiring a value added asset to career advancement," Mr Ng remarks. "The certified ethical hacker programme is designed for security officers, site administrators, consultants or anyone assigned the task of identifying security loopholes. People in law enforcement, the legal profession and the financial sector find the computer hacking forensic investigator programme extremely useful. As for the EC-Council certified security analyst programme, it is suitable for those involved in the design of anti-hacking defence, for example, network server administrators, firewall administrators and system administrators."
Wealth of knowledge
According to Burnet Lee, business development and marketing manager of New Horizons Hong Kong, a diverse range of programmes in other disciplines is offered alongside the IT related ones. They include language, business skills, professional training such as chartered financial analyst (CFA) and project management professional (PMP) and master's and doctorate degree programmes. "The training we provide is well received in the business community for its practicality and flexibility. Syllabuses can be customised to suit client needs and the programmes are delivered in venues designated by clients," Mr Lee explains.
Mr Ng points out that today's employers agree on the significance of continuous education. "New technology and new competitors emerge daily. To keep ahead, employees must continue to update knowledge and skills to improve competencies and confront complex challenges," he advises.
New Horizons Hong Kong maintains close ties with the local business community, acquiring first-hand knowledge of employer needs in terms of staff training. "Our programmes are regularly reviewed to amend specific elements, add new components or remove outdated sessions," Mr Ng notes.