Securing the Cyber Space: A Potential Career Option

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Amit Kumar Cyberfort

Dr Amit Kumar,
Managing Director, Cyberfort Technologies

IT plays a dominant role in the present economy and trade – it has simplified our day-to-day work in all respects. However, in the same measure, it is also inviting cyber threats. Cyber criminals have found a new way to invade the economy and terrorize nations across the globe using information technology.

To combat this cyber crime, nation needs cyber security experts to work and secure the existing platform so that prosperity flourishes in the lives of every individual. India has proven its IT superiority across nations, still it requires five lakh cyber security professionals by 2015 to support its fast growing internet economy as per an estimate by the Union Ministry of Information Technology.

These jobs will come up across industries. The financial sector alone is expected to hire over two lakh people while Telecoms, Utility sectors, Power, Oil & Gas, Airlines, Government (law & order and e-Governance) will hire the rest. A large number of these jobs will be around cyber policing and ethical hacking, to check for network vulnerabilities.

In fact, the need for cyber experts has grown exponentially as the country is heading towards an internet explosion mostly fuelled by e-Commerce, e-Banking, e-Governance and the social media. The freedom of cyber space is just as crucial to the debate as its protection.

Responding to the need of the hour, the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) have asked Universities and Technical Institutions to introduce Cyber Security and Information Security as a subject at the Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate levels. This was stated by Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Dr Shashi Tharoor in Lok Sabha.

Based on the recommendations of the Task Force on the National Security System constituted on the direction of the Cabinet Committee on Security, the UGC has requested the Vice Chancellors of all the Universities to ensure that Cyber Security/ Information Security is introduced as a subject in the universities and technical institutions at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels.

On the same lines, AICTE has intimated that it has made provisions in the Approval Handbook that out of the two divisions allotted at the Post-Graduate and Post-Diploma levels, one shall be on Cyber Security or in Cyber Security related courses in the Computer/IT branches of Engineering/ Technology.

Quoting a Gartner report in its letter, UGC said, “The country’s information security market is expected to grow by 18% to reach `1,415 crore in 2013 on the back of increased spending by companies to secure their information assets. Despite a continuing economic slowdown that has been putting pressure on IT budgets around the world, cyber security spending globally would continue on an upward trajectory, reaching $86 billion in 2016, up from $60 billion in 2012.”

Required skills
Elaborating on the skill-set required to succeed in the field of information security, Bezawada Bruhadeshwar, International Institute Information Technology, Hyderabad, says, “It’s a field that requires your keen interest, professional training and thorough knowledge of operating systems, programming, networks and protocols. Cyber criminals strike through virus attacks, destroy systems, modify and steal data from your system without your knowledge. The first and foremost job as an information security expert is to detect and analyze the vulnerabilities and then plug the loopholes to protect the system, network and data. Cyber security experts need to know about coding of some basic languages and database handling skills.”

Career ahead
If you are a trained professional in this field, you can find placement as network security systems manager, network security administrator, network security engineer, web security administrator, web security auditor, application security tester, ethical hacker, information security analyst, database and software developer, data security specialist, and chief information security officer.

An information security specialist can also start his own venture to provide security solutions to a variety of companies and government departments. Cyber security experts are a desired lot in banks, energy sector, hotels, airlines, healthcare, telecom companies, infrastructure, transportation, law enforcement, defence, emergency response systems and ITES companies, among others.

Required certifications
Graduates with a degree in computer science or engineering can opt for various full-time and short-term courses in information security, like MTech and MSc in Information Security, degree and diplomas in information security and network administration. You need to be trained and certified from a reputed organization. International certifications like Certified Ethical Hacker (EC-Council) and GPEN can do wonders to one’s career as a cyber security expert. Salaries in this field range from `3 to 5 lakh per annum. With experience and desired expertise, the package may go up to 10-12 lakh per annum, and even to a crore.

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