“The Indian curriculum is more focused on AI, ML, and other data science courses but not cybersecurity,” said Abhik Chatterjee at Boston Consulting Group, which advises top banks in the country. “There are very few Indian colleges that offer good, practical heavy cybersecurity courses. This is why a graduate from India is at a disadvantage when compared to a person who has graduated from a foreign university.”
Banks and insurers are ramping up their cybersecurity departments as a rising number of attacks are coming to the fore. While there are openings, there are not enough candidates with experience to fill them. There are currently around 10,000-12,000 active cybersecurity-related job openings in the BFSI sector in India, estimates Sachin Alug, CEO of NLB Services, a human resources company.
“We are actively looking for cybersecurity experts to join our team but we need people with at least three to four years of experience,” said Ajay Kumar Srivastava, CEO of Indian Overseas Bank.
Many other banks are in the market looking for cyber experts but getting them hasn’t been easy.
“Demand for cybersecurity professionals in India is around 35,000-40,000 across all sectors. The availability of skilled talent in this domain continues to be a big challenge,” said Alug.Young graduates have been attempting to show their skills by participating in various hackathons, but still are left wondering about a career in the area they wish to work for. “I have shown my skills with my participation in hackathons but still finding it tough to convince companies to hire me,” said Upmanyu Jha, a recent graduate from Mumbai. “When you go abroad, you are hired based on skill and not experience.”Companies, especially banks, are very cautious while hiring cyber talent because of the kind of data that is at stake. “Companies want someone who can handle anything, and they are well paid. Salaries can range around ?25 lakh per annum for someone with eight years of experience,” said Krishna Vij of TeamLease Services. “Junior roles are limited, and there is a gap between what companies want and what universities produce.”
But there is hope for some as companies that spot skills that could be upgraded are hiring even if the candidate has less experience.
“Surprisingly, some junior employees are finding critical faults in the network, hence we as a company don’t really ask for experience,” said Ashish Tandon, CEO of IndusFace, a firm that provides network security.