Cybersecurity: Digital India’s in-demand profession

India is poised to witness a phenomenal change with the Indian government having taken up the Digital India initiative. The initiative to turn the country into a digital economy has seen a lot of buzz; Digital Locker, Demonetisation and the successive promotion of digital wallets have opened the floodgates to endless possibilities. These moves have triggered a fresh wave of economic growth, attracting more investment, and creating new jobs across multiple sectors.

Yet, the boon comes at a great risk as it poses a big cybersecurity challenge. As we all know, cybersecurity in India has nothing to boast about and this move towards a digital economy can aggravate the situation further. An increasing amount of consumer and citizen data will be stored digitally and a large number of transactions will be carried out online, leaving the cyberspace a cesspool of viable data for malicious people to attack.

Cyber criminals are not only targeting big corporate houses - government agencies, banks, and research institutes are also in a state of constant vigil with frequent cases of hacking and spying. This calls for a more robust framework for cybersecurity, something that the information technology (IT) security market is trying to facilitate. This makes cybersecurity a lucrative career option at the moment, generating a large number of jobs. From engineers to lawyers, project managers to auditors, everyone has a role to play in growing this industry.

Industries that are in dire need of cybersecurity

The requirement for qualified cyber security professionals is becoming challenging for enterprises as enterprises now demand an in-house army of cyber security specialists. BFSI, retail, manufacturing, healthcare companies are willing to pay great capital in order to rope in some of the specialised professionals for aim to build a greater defence.

Cybersecurity experts

There can be a diverse range of professionals who work full-time in the core areas of cybersecurity - forensics, incident response, software security etc and the Data Security Council of India has done a commendable job of creating a list of opportunities available for such experts. Cybersecurity throws up new challenges every minute and to keep up with them, the curricula needs to be refreshed often by placing the talents in the right hands. Therefore, universities and research institutes are best suited to hone this kind of skillset. A plethora of universities (public and private) now offer graduate-level programmes in specific areas of cybersecurity with the full support of the government. 

Scope of Ethical Hacking

When they say evil can be defeated by good, they also mean in the terms of real life issues. With the growing number of hacking threats, it is becoming difficult for companies to protect their critical data and systems.  This has created a huge demand for counter action in the form of ethical hackers who can help in securing operations while offering organisations a third person view of their state of security systems. Simply put, ethical hacking is a practice of testing organisational security through controlled attempts to break into a company’s security system and expose the loop holes. These gifted individuals use a series of tests such as penetration testing, vulnerability testing, etc. to comprehend the integrity and confidentiality of the company’s data, while testing for the accessibility and availability of the information.

Cyber-aware professionals

Apart from enlisting such experts, organisations are striving to create an engaging environment where every working individual is armed with a basic level of cybersecurity awareness. This includes looking into pain points such as maintaining password hygiene and understanding data sensitivity. The aim is to help the workforce take the onus of security in their own hands, without any extra expenditure, while grooming professionals who can protect themselves and their organisations using best practices on a day-to-day basis.

Attractive salary

The digital faction is said to clock in a handsome amount of pay with cybersecurity sitting in the plum of remuneration. Several studies state that cyber security professionals earn better than other IT personnel, making it a lucrative vocation. A career in cyber security comes with a fetching salary, job security and better opportunities for professional growth at a quicker pace. It is said that an average cyber security professional in India earns around Rs 7.8 lakh annually - a lump sum to contend with.

The growth graph

When it comes to growth, one shouldn’t worry as A NASSCOM report suggests a growing need for cyber security professionals in India. Cyber security consultancies are set to witness a sharp growth in the near future, creating a large number of jobs in the market. And with all the digital development taking place at breakneck speed, this ongoing flush of digital proficiency is bound to witness an unfathomable growth. It is safe to say, the tide of cyber security has just begun. In future there will be cyber war and it will be without nuclear weapons. This will bring a lot of job opportunities for cybersecurity experts.

The author is Ashish Agarwal, founder, WORKNRBY – online job portal for jobs nearby.