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Breaking Down the Cybersecurity Career Path in India

cybersecurity career path in india

Cybersecurity, once a peripheral consideration, is now a central concern for businesses, governments, and individuals alike. In India, this importance is amplified due to the country’s rapid digitalization drive.

A report by the Data Security Council of India (DSCI) highlighted that there will be 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs open globally by 2025, indicating the significant demand in this field.

Understanding the Cybersecurity Landscape

The risks of digital exposure are well-documented. The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) reported approximately 2.12 Lakh cyber attacks until Feb 2022.

Banking and finance, IT and ITeS, manufacturing, and government are the most targeted sectors, emphasizing the need for efficient cybersecurity protocols, and qualified professionals.

The cybersecurity landscape, particularly in India, is complex and rapidly evolving due to several contributing factors:

Digital Transformation: India’s digital revolution has been transformative, but it has also exposed new vulnerabilities.

With digital transactions reached to Rs 8.27 lakh crore till 28th February 2022, as reported by the Ministry of Electronics & IT, there is an urgent need for robust cybersecurity systems.

Increasing Cyber Threats: India ranks third worldwide in terms of high-risk cybersecurity threats. As per CERT-In, there has been an alarming increase in cyber incidents, with about 1.16 million cases reported in 2020 alone.

These threats are not just limited to traditional sectors like banking and finance but also to emerging fields such as e-commerce, healthcare, and online education, indicating a broad spectrum of potential threats.

Regulatory Environment: Indian laws and regulations around data privacy and cybersecurity are still evolving, with the draft Personal Data Protection Bill expected to bring major changes.

Regulatory compliance will become a key area of focus, creating a demand for cybersecurity professionals with knowledge in this area.

Skills Gap: According to a report by NASSCOM, the cybersecurity market in India is expected to grow from $1.97 billion in 2019 to $3.05 billion in 2022, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.6%.

However, there’s a significant skills gap, with India needing 1 million cybersecurity professionals by 2020, as per a report by DSCI.

Cloud Security: As more businesses adopt cloud technologies, the demand for cloud security expertise will continue to rise.

By 2022, Gartner predicts that at least 95% of cloud security failures will be the customer’s fault, highlighting the necessity of having cybersecurity professionals proficient in cloud security.

Understanding the cybersecurity landscape involves considering various elements, from digital advancements to emerging cyber threats, the regulatory environment, the skills gap, and the increasing focus on cloud security.

This understanding can help prospective cybersecurity professionals better prepare for the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

Exploring Cybersecurity Roles

The cybersecurity field offers many roles that cater to varying skill sets and career aspirations. Here’s a detailed look into a few key roles at various career stages:

Entry-Level Roles:

Security Analyst: As the first line of defense in an organization, Security Analysts monitor network systems for any security breaches, investigate incidents, and implement measures to counter future threats.

According to PayScale, in India, the average salary of a Security Analyst is around INR 5,97,000 per year as of 2023.

Network Security Engineer: They ensure the security of an organization’s network from threats. They are responsible for setting up the security system, network maintenance, and occasionally training staff about security measures.

The average salary of a Network Security Engineer in India is around INR 4,00,000 per year.

Mid-Level Roles:

Cybersecurity Consultant: Consultants advise organizations on the best security measures based on their specific needs. They stay updated on the latest cybersecurity threats and trends, conduct security assessments, and guide the implementation of security solutions.

As of 2023, Cybersecurity Consultants in India earn an average salary of around INR 10,00,000 per year.

Security Manager: They develop and implement an organization’s security strategies, oversee the operations of the security team, and ensure compliance with policies and regulations. The median salary for Security Managers in India is approximately INR 11,00,000 per year.

Senior-Level Roles:

Chief Information Security Officer (CISO): A CISO is a top executive role responsible for establishing and maintaining the enterprise’s security vision, strategy, and programs.

CISOs in India, as of 2023, earn an average salary of around INR 35,00,000 per year, although this can go much higher in large corporations.

Security Architect: They are responsible for designing, building, and implementing network and computer security for an organization.

They need to be proficient in areas like network architecture, routing and switching, and IP addressing. The average annual salary for Security Architects in India is approximately INR 20,00,000.

These roles, and the salaries attached, signify the demand and opportunities available in the cybersecurity field.

It’s important to note that the salary estimates can vary depending on factors like the individual’s qualifications, experience level, the size and sector of the employer, and the city of employment.

Certifications and Educational Requirements

Degrees in IT, computer science, or related fields are typically necessary. However, the field values certifications as they signify specialized knowledge. Certifications like CompTIA Security+, CISSP, and CISM are well-regarded.

According to a cybersecurity workforce study by (ISC)², 58% of professionals surveyed reported that their organization invested in cybersecurity certifications.

Online platforms like Great Learning, UpGrad, and Coursera offer comprehensive cybersecurity programs. Great Learning’s Cyber Security Program caters to working professionals and covers foundational to advanced security concepts.

UpGrad, in partnership with IIIT Bangalore, offers a PG Diploma in Software Development specializing in Cybersecurity. Coursera also provides access to multiple cybersecurity courses from recognized universities worldwide.

Building Practical Experience

Practical experience is a critical component in the cybersecurity field. It allows professionals to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world scenarios and hone their problem-solving skills. Here’s how one can build practical experience:

Internships and Entry-Level Jobs: This is often the first step to gaining hands-on experience. Internships or entry-level roles provide a platform to understand the industry’s nuances and develop professional skills.

Organizations like TCS, Wipro, Infosys, and many start-ups in India offer internships or junior positions in cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity Challenges and Competitions: Capture The Flag (CTF) events are practical cybersecurity competitions where participants solve security-related puzzles or ‘flags.’

Participation in such events provides exposure to real-life situations, helping aspirants learn and apply cybersecurity techniques. In India, events like NullCon, c0c0n, or IIT Kanpur’s CTF competition are quite popular.

Open-Source Contribution: Contributing to open-source cybersecurity projects helps not only in gaining practical experience but also in understanding collaborative software development. It also helps build a professional network and could improve your visibility to recruiters.

Freelance Projects: Platforms like Upwork or Freelancer have numerous freelance projects in cybersecurity. This can provide practical experience and a chance to work with clients from different sectors.

Certification Training Labs: Many certification courses, such as those offered by Offensive Security (like the OSCP), CompTIA, or even on learning platforms like Great Learning, provide practical projects.

These labs simulate real-world scenarios to give you practical, hands-on experience.

Volunteering: Non-profit organizations or small businesses often don’t have the resources for full-fledged cybersecurity teams and can provide volunteering opportunities. These roles can offer valuable experience and a chance to implement and manage security measures.

Practical experience is vital in transitioning from learning theoretical concepts to effectively applying them. Balancing academic or online learning with practical exposure provides a solid foundation for a successful cybersecurity career.

The Future of Cybersecurity in India

As India embraces the potential of Industry 4.0, AI, IoT, and machine learning, the future of cybersecurity becomes paramount.

However, this digital revolution also presents a formidable challenge called cybersecurity threats which require professionals with the skills to navigate evolving cyber threats.

DSCI reported that India’s cybersecurity services industry grew at a CAGR of ~40% from 2021 to 2023, underscoring the demand for adept cybersecurity professionals.

In conclusion, the surge in digital threats, coupled with a growing digital economy, has underscored the importance of cybersecurity in India.

A career in this field promises a challenging, rewarding journey. For those considering a career in cybersecurity, continuous learning, practical experience, and a commitment to staying abreast of the latest trends are essential to succeed.

Kevin James

Kevin James

I'm Kevin James, and I'm passionate about writing on Security and cybersecurity topics. Here, I'd like to share a bit more about myself. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity from Utica College, New York, which has been the foundation of my career in cybersecurity. As a writer, I have the privilege of sharing my insights and knowledge on a wide range of cybersecurity topics. You'll find my articles here at, covering the latest trends, threats, and solutions in the field.