Cybersecurity is one of the most sought jobs, and its demand in the market is growing. A lot of this could be attributed to the massive digital revolution, where cybersecurity professionals are a “hot commodity” for the market to bank on. As per a report, over 68% of the business leaders clearly feel that the risks associated with cyber-attacks are increasing. In yet another report, it has been noted that the first half of 2020 witnessed some of the massive data breaches that exposed more than 36 billion documents.
Furthermore, in a recent article, AIM has explained how the post-COVID era is the right time to build a career in cybersecurity and how there is an immense potential for professionals to grow in this space.
Currently, there are approximately 5,000 open jobs in the cybersecurity domain. Thus there must be many unanswered questions regarding this profession. To understand more about this sought-after profession, Analytics India Magazine has compiled a list of the top six most frequently asked questions. A quick read to these can help anyone who wishes for a career or just wants to know more about cybersecurity.
How do I become a cybersecurity professional in 2021?
To work as a cybersecurity professional, you’ll need a mix of programming skills and cybersecurity training. Specialised certifications can be required to complete the work requirements, depending on the job title and responsibilities. To better fit the role, and work as a technical cybersecurity professional, a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity will be a perfect match.
Certifications could be the simplest and fastest way to gain the skills needed to find and keep a job. Companies, in 2021, are searching for cybersecurity experts who are willing to take on jobs without further training or skill enhancements in order to recruit qualified applicants as soon as possible.
In addition to the above-mentioned credentials, one should possess the skills such as problem-solving ability, management and leadership skills, experience in different security specialisations, the flexibility to multi-task, excellent written and verbal communication skills, ability to work in a fast-paced environment, and analytical thinking.
Read more about cybersecurity as a career option here.
Is building a career in cybersecurity a challenging task in the post-COVID era?
Cybersecurity requires deep technical skills, knowledge, and a certain level of qualifications to enter this world. Entering into the world of coding, firewalls, system protection is not that easy. In cyberspace, there is a common saying that “if the cost of your data is less than the cost of hacking, then you will be hacked.” As a matter of fact, protecting data, systems, websites, and devices attached to the internet is not a kid’s task.
A startling statistic in cybersecurity can be observed, where Cybersecurity Ventures predicted that there would be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs worldwide by 2021, up from one million in 2014.
However, when you choose cybersecurity as a career, you need to be dynamic in nature as it is a challenging task, but at the same time, it is highly rewarding. The candidate needs to be challenging itself, as the field has so much to learn and explore. One should be able to take tasks head-on and prepare yourself for the worst. Using new technologies, detecting new threats, and real-time responses can be fun sometimes. A candidate with interest in this field will enjoy the work.
What are various cybersecurity job roles in India?
Some of the important cybersecurity jobs in India include:
A Network Security Engineer is a person responsible for ensuring the implementation of security systems. They have to identify vulnerabilities, look after the maintenance of firewalls, switches, and routers to stop attacks.
Key Skills Required —
- Understanding vulnerability testing
- Threat modelling
- Cloud security
- Encryption solutions
- Secure coding practices
Average salary: Ranges from ₹4 lakhs to ₹8 lakhs per annum.
A Cybersecurity Architect is responsible for researching, planning, and designing the elements required for security. They decide the policies and procedure as to how the company’s employees will use security systems to reduce the chances of lapses.
Key Skills Required —
- Knowledge of Windows, UNIX, and Linux.
- Understanding of ISO 27001/27002, ITIL, and COBIT frameworks.
- Understanding firewalls, IDS/IPS, network access controls, and network segmentation.
- Knowledge of security concepts related to DNS, including routing, authentication, VPN, proxy services, and DDOS mitigation technology.
- Understanding third-party auditing and cloud risk assessment methodology.
Average salary: Range from ₹17 lakhs to ₹22 lakhs per annum.
Cybersecurity Analyst looks out for security lapses in the systems, perform internal and external security audits, conduct vulnerability testing, and put in best practices to prevent security breach.
Key Skills Required —
- Ability to evaluate software and fix bugs.
- Conduct malware analysis and design reliable applications.
- Ability to install and maintain firewalls to filter incoming data.
- Analysing security system logs, security tools, and data.
- Creating, modifying, and updating intrusion detection systems.
- Experience with intrusion prevention systems and tools.
Average salary: Ranges from ₹5 to ₹6 lakhs per annum
Cyber Security Manager is a higher position where the person has to maintain its security protocols. He/she has to manage a team of IT professionals to ensure data security.
Key Skills Required —
- Well versed with routing, VPN, DNS, authentication, DDOS mitigation tools, and proxy services
- Prevention of intrusion, along with knowledge of detection protocols
- Clear understanding of networking concepts about TCP, or IP, switching and routing protocols.
- Familiarisation with Linux, UNIX, Cisco, Python, information assurance, virtualisation, active directory, COBIT and ITIL frameworks.
Average salary: ₹12 lakhs per annum
Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) are senior-level executives who ensure the entire cyber-security plan. The person has to respond to incidents of attacks and keep the security of the organisation intact.
Key Skills Required —
- Ability to implement security technologies, build standards for the organisation
- Maintain the effectiveness of cyber-risk management programs
- Mobile and remote device management
- Disaster recovery planning
- Network security and firewall management.
Average salary: ₹23 lakhs per annum
A Digital Forensics Analyst is the one who advises on the reliability and availability of the data required. With the help of on-site and virtual searches, the analyst helps investigators collect digital evidence, examine the same and prepare evidence for the trial. A digital forensics analyst also has to train investigators and remain alert to any new technology entering the scene.
Key Skills Required —
- Knowledge of computer networking, LAN, and server
- Knowledge of the operating system such as Windows, Linux, and computer investigation
- Ability to investigate smartphones and other endpoint devices
- Clear understanding of the ethical issues associated with the data, critical thinking, and problem-solving nose
Average salary: ₹6 to ₹7 lakhs per annum.
Read about the critical role of a cybersecurity chief in 2021 here.
Does the government of India hire cybersecurity experts?
The Indian InfoSec Consortium and the National Security Database of India, controlled by the government, are in charge of the cybersecurity department and hire cybersecurity professionals. However, most governments, including the Indian government, PSUs, government banks, do not employ in-house cyber experts nowadays since cybersecurity functions are majorly outsourced to third-parties. This is cost-effective and efficient for them as they will be able to use the established networks of big IT firms rather than pumping huge investments to create new infrastructure altogether.
What you need to do is —
- The candidates should keep an eye out for work openings in newspapers or other digital media formats to apply for. Once shortlisted, you’ll have to go through many scrutinies, including written exams, interviews, aptitude tests, and so on.
- Moreover, try to reach out to other well-known organisations and big IT firms such as TCS, Wipro, Infosys with government contracts in their cybersecurity departments. This is also an option as you just need to enter the field first, master it, and then look out for other significant opportunities.
Read about the top cybersecurity stories that made headlines in 2020 here.
Why, despite the huge vacancy in the cybersecurity field, most of the posts remain vacant?
Many big IT firms have experienced cyber attacks in the past, leading to an increased requirement for cyber professionals. However, there is a huge gap between the skills required by the companies and the skill acquired by professionals in India. The higher the degree of skills required, the higher is the salary. As a result, many smaller firms are unable to spend the amount of money required to pay.
However, the major concern is re-skilling these professionals and filling the necessary demand. With a balance in demand and supply, the market will be stable, creating a win-win situation for everyone. Lack of cybersecurity training and the higher cost for courses dissuade people from getting enrolled in these courses to gain first-hand experience.
How can I learn cybersecurity on my own?
Cybersecurity is a vast topic, so in order to start, you need to identify a particular area or topic in which you want to master over a period of time. Understand the topic until you get it wholly and in a position where you can make a person understand the same. Soon after recognising the field, you wish to work on, do extensive research to find the free resources including, YouTube tutorials, blog posts, journals, white papers, available for that particular topic.
Mind it, while in a college or university, the programme has a definite course structure, but since you are learning on your own, try to get access to any particular course structure or device ways to move forward in a step-by-step manner.
Working with free tools like Wireshark is a good idea, which will provide practice of real technology. Completing laboratories while studying with your learning resources is a good idea. However, learning on your own requires a lot of hard work, patience, and time to excel, and learning from experience is way too easy and helpful.
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Kumar Gandharv, with a PG Diploma in English Journalism (IIMC, Delhi), is setting out on a journey as a tech Journalist at AIM. A keen observer of National and IR-related news. He loves to hit the gym.