A series of Ransomware attacks like WannaCry and Petya has led companies scrambling to hire cyber-security experts to protect their IT systems.
Demand for IT graduates specializing in cyber security has shot up to an alltime high, and universities and educational institutes are introducing these programmes to cater to the growing requirements.
Students from the 2017 batch of the Gujarat Forensic Sciences University in Gandhinagar with degrees such as M. Tech in Cyber Security & Incident Response and M.Sc. in Digital Forensics & Information Assurance received 70 offers from companies such as Reliance Industries, EY, KPMG, Deloitte, PwC, Adobe and Axis. Last year, only 30 students were placed.
Digvijaysinh Rathod, training and placement officer at GFSU, Gandhinagar told ET that “The demand for cyber-security specialists has shot up so much after the recent spate of cyber-attacks that six companies have already rolled out about 30 pre-placement offers to batch 2018.”
What are Ransomware and Petya Attacks?
Ransomware attacks typically lock down computers until money is paid to free them. The Petya strike earlier this week came after the WannaCry attack in May, shutting down thousands of computers globally and in some cases, crippling company operations. Analysts said cyber-attacks are now common and India requires more than just traditional network specialists.
“We need advanced malware analysts, incident response analysts and specialists who are post-breach experts,” said Rajpreet Kaur, a senior research analyst at Gartner. To feed into this demand, colleges are rolling out cyber-security courses. The SP Jain School of High Technology in Mumbai started a cyber-security and data security specialist programme this year. Two months of this six-month course will be spent interning with various companies.
Demand is seen from almost all software companies and even from startups. “This has been our hottest branch as far as queries are concerned. We have to invest in technology and training experts who are already high in demand,” said Suneel Sharma, director of professional programmes at the institute.
Institutes starting courses in Cyber Security as demand rises
The National Institute of Technology, Kurukshetra, too, had its first batch of students in M.Tech Computer Engineering specialising in cyber-security.
Salaries for cyber-security professionals are higher than those offered for regular tech roles. Axis Bank offered around Rs 7 lakh for campus recruits. For hiring in lateral roles, these professionals usually command a 15-20% premium.
Consulting firms are on a talent buying spree across countries such as the US, the UK and Israel, which have trained specialists in cyber-security. In the past year, EY has hired expats at senior levels and tied up with global universities for both education and hiring purposes.
Estimated industry demand for cyber-security experts could go up by 50% and beyond in light of the recent events SV Nathan, chief talent officer at Deloitte India, told to ET.
With inputs from Economic Times