Data protection is increasingly becoming crucial as cyber-attacks continue to cause panic and disruption. Without proper protocols and interventions, these attacks will only escalate, posing a significant challenge to India’s cybersecurity landscape. Protecting data requires continuous learning and a united focus.

According to ISACA’s State of Cybersecurity 2023 report, 40 per cent of all Indian teams are affected by this scarcity, and the industry–academia skill gap further exacerbates the problem. The current talent pool lacks expertise in core skills like cloud computing and security controls, posing risks of substantial losses, reputational damage and hefty fines for companies.

While the demand or skilled talent in the space is immense, it is compounded by unique challenges, ranging from the employability of graduates to significant burnout among industry professionals. Despite the growing demand, students remain unaware of the vast career opportunities in cybersecurity and the critical role of an upskilling course in unlocking them.

The industry-academia gap

Cybersecurity demands innovative and practical learning, yet only a few universities offer such programmes. A lack of standardised curriculum across institutes adds to the worry. As cybersecurity threats evolve continuously, demand for cybersecurity professionals at both personal and corporate levels continues to rise.

Another challenge is the limited hands-on exposure students receive to evolving industry issues, creating a gap in students’ understanding of real-world cybersecurity challenges. Balancing theoretical knowledge with practical skills requires dedicated time and resources, which can be difficult to accommodate within traditional academic structures.

Specialised training and upskilling programmes are essential as they provide students with in-depth knowledge of fundamental principles, equipping them with the necessary skills to tackle the broad spectrum of challenges they will face in their careers.

The cybersecurity landscape offers immense opportunities but entails combating advanced threats. Emerging technologies like generative AI pose specific concerns, calling for higher investment and specialised management in segments such as network security equipment and infrastructure protection. With cybersecurity attacks becoming more severe and complex, graduates looking to set foot in the industry must possess diverse skill sets to navigate these challenges effectively.

Future-proofing careers

Keeping pace with evolving cybersecurity threats requires continuous upskilling. Effective training goes beyond textbook knowledge, fostering awareness and preparedness to combat social engineering and cyber-attacks. As new technologies emerge, specialists must adapt to new roles and interdisciplinary overlaps. For graduates breaking into the industry, specialised certifications (such as CISSP) will lead to higher employability and seamless integration into future-ready cybersecurity teams.

By acquiring new skills, graduates not only enhance their problem-solving abilities but also position themselves for career advancement and higher-paying opportunities. While graduates have access to ample support and opportunities, it is crucial for them to take personal responsibility for upskilling to unlock their full career potential.

(The writer is Academic Director, Great Learning)