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Emerging courses: India needs cyber security experts, here’s how to be one

Given the fact that India is home to many IT companies and serves the operational needs of several global companies, this lack of qualified cybersecurity professionals can be catastrophic in the long term. There is an urgent need to reconsider the strategy and resolve the discrepancies in the demand and supply of cybersecurity professionals.

New Delhi | Updated: November 4, 2020 7:41:42 pm
cyber security courses india, emerging courses, online courses, top courses, newage courses, education newsCybersecurity concerns have moved beyond frauds to becoming an important aspect of national security leading to an increased demand for cybersecurity experts. (Image Courtesy: Pixabay/ Representational)

— Written by Vikas Gupta

From a mobile wallet transaction at the milk booth to ordering furniture online, an individual leaves her digital footprint all across. This makes one prone to phishing, hacking, frauds and the response time to predict or reverse this is rather sluggish. The large size of our population using smartphones makes us even more prone to mass attacks that impact national security.

According to the Data Security Council of India (DSCI) report, India is the second-most affected country for cyber attacks between 2016 to 2018. Cybersecurity concerns have moved beyond frauds to becoming an important aspect of national security leading to an increased demand for cybersecurity experts.

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To supply the growing demand, several institutes are offering cybersecurity as a course. It is not just offered at degree, diploma level but many online courses are also available in the domain for those already working in the IT sector wishing to have an updated skill. Some of the popular and widely accepted certifications are offered by CCNA, CompTIA, Red Hat, etc. Certificate-level training is for fresh graduates, working professionals.

At the degree level, premium institutes like IITs teach cyber security as a subject. IIT-Roorkee even organised an online summer training program on ethical hacking and cyber security. But several other institutes across India offer master’s and bachelor’s level courses in the field including master of science in computer science with specialisation in cyber security courses offered by the Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management-Kerala, SRM Engineering colleges, Chandigarh University, HITS Chennai, NMIMS among others.

Challenges in the current ecosystem

Yet, the supply is not at par with the demand. The PwC study also indicated a shortage of cybersecurity workforce in India is projected to be 9 per cent higher than the global average. India needs 1 million experts and has less than 10,000 who can secure networks. There is an urgent need to reconsider the strategy and resolve the discrepancies in the demand and supply of cybersecurity professionals.

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Apparently, there has been a 98 per cent rise in cybersecurity job postings in the last three years, as per job posting website Indeed. The average annual salary for the position of a security specialist in India is Rs 8,89,265, while it is Rs 8,07,170 for an IT security specialist and Rs 4,59,304 for an information security analyst. With many companies increasing their security, the IT budget allocated for cybersecurity is predicted to boost as well.

The estimate says there will be 67,000 job openings in cybersecurity, including threat management, network security, and cloud security roles, according to an estimate by specialist staffing firm Xpheno. We do not have any preparedness to fill those roles due to the lacuna in our skilling eco-system.

— The author is MD, Wiley India

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