Demand for cybersecurity skills highest from senior pros in India: Great Learning’s Hari K Nair

Demand for cybersecurity skills highest from senior pros in India: Great Learning’s Hari K Nair

In recent years, the cybersecurity landscape in India has undergone a notable shift, which can be attributed to the rapid growth of digital technologies and the emergence of sophisticated cyber threats. The increasing prevalence of these threats emphasizes the pressing need to address the shortage of skilled professionals in the cybersecurity sector. In an interview with TechCircle, Hari Krishnan Nair, Co-Founder of Great Learning, an upskilling platform owned by BYJU's, highlights the trends in job demands for cybersecurity professionals and the importance of investing in cybersecurity training and certifications. Additionally, he emphasizes on allocating resources effectively to support professionals in this field. Edited excerpts:
Are there unique demands and challenges for cybersecurity professionals in India compared to their global counterparts?

The demand for cybersecurity professionals in India mirrors global trends, but they face unique challenges that contribute to burnout. The ever-changing threat landscape and limited resources create a difficult situation, with tight budgets and a shortage of skilled talent. To combat burnout, mental health support and flexible work arrangements are important, but addressing the root issue is crucial. This involves advocating for a workforce prepared to handle current and future threats through training programs, certifications, skilling initiatives, and collaborations between organisations, universities, and edtech companies.
What is the present demand for cybersecurity programs that you are observing? What factors are fueling this sudden surge?

There has been a significant increase in interest in our cybersecurity courses at Great Learning, with a 63% rise in 2023 compared to 2022. This surge is driven by senior professionals with over 8 years of experience (46%) and early career professionals with 0-3 years (33%). Professionals are recognising the skills shortage and complex cybersecurity threats, leading to a need to acquire the necessary skills. The digital environment poses challenges for businesses, with cyber-attacks becoming more sophisticated. Industries like IT/ITeS and BFSI are prioritising cybersecurity training due to the financial impact of data breaches. Companies like Wipro are seeking tailored employee training solutions in Cyber and Infrastructure Security to address these challenges. We tailor these programs to address the specific needs of different employee levels and job roles, such as SOC analyst, security architect, director of IT, etc. This ensures all employees, regardless of experience or position, are equipped to identify and mitigate cyber threats. We've also seen a strong interest in certification prep courses for industry-recognized certifications like the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), which we successfully delivered last year.  
What kind of job opportunities are available in the industry after completing cyber security programs? 


Completing industry-recognised cybersecurity assessments like CompTIA Security+ and CISA can boost job prospects and provide essential skills for the field. Great Learning offers a post-graduate program that helps professionals pass these certifications, with hands-on learning in threat detection, network security, cryptography, and ethical hacking. The program also includes educational materials, quizzes, lab exercises, mentorship, and flexible learning options for working professionals.

Is there a salary boost for professionals who complete specific cybersecurity courses? 

Without a doubt, skilled professionals attract premium salaries. Cybersecurity demands innovative and practical learning, yet some universities and trainers offer programs that lack standardised curriculums. This indeed makes it challenging for employers to evaluate job applicants. As cybersecurity threats evolve continuously, demand for cybersecurity professionals at both personal and corporate levels continues to rise. Consequently, employers are more inclined to pay a premium for skilled talent today. Cybersecurity certifications are also potent tools for enhancing employability, industry recognition, and career progression. As organisations prioritise cybersecurity, investing in certifications becomes a strategic move, enabling professionals to access better opportunities and advanced roles. 
Is there any correlation between the rise of cyber threats in India and the heightened demand for cybersecurity professionals? If so, how are these threats evolving, and how does this affect the skillsets required in the field? 


The surge in cyber threats across India directly corresponds to the increased demand for cybersecurity professionals. With the rapid digitalisation of sectors like finance, healthcare, and governance, data has become an easy target. Threats have evolved from simple malware to sophisticated strategies like ransomware and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. As critical infrastructure digitises and Internet of Things (IoT) devices multiply, the attack surface expands, heightening vulnerability. Consequently, there's a rising demand for cybersecurity professionals with diverse and specialised skill sets. Alongside technical expertise in areas like network security and incident response, proficiency in cloud security, AI-driven threat detection, and regulatory compliance are also essential. Continuous learning is the only strategy to stay ahead of evolving threats. 
Beyond conventional reasons like data breaches and cyberattacks, what other emerging trends or technological advancements in India are fueling the need for more cybersecurity professionals? 

India's rapid progress in sectors like e-commerce, fintech, healthcare, and education is driving a higher demand for cybersecurity experts. New technologies like cloud computing, IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), and blockchain present new security challenges that require experts for secure integration. Initiatives like the Smart Cities Mission and digital payment systems like UPI also emphasize the need for cybersecurity professionals to protect infrastructure and privacy. The integration of AI in cyber-attacks is increasing the demand for experts, as AI can enhance the volume and impact of attacks. Stringent cybersecurity regulations from bodies like RBI and MeitY are also driving the need for professionals. However, there is a shortage of skilled talent in this field, highlighting the importance of pursuing cybersecurity careers and acquiring specialized skills through training programs.
What strategies are cybersecurity companies and organisations employing to mitigate burnout among their professionals, and how effective have these strategies been in addressing the issue within our Indian context? 

Cybersecurity companies and organisations globally, including those in India, are implementing tailored strategies to mitigate burnout among professionals. These include improving task prioritisation, setting realistic timelines, and optimising workloads through automation. Companies have also placed a greater emphasis on continuous training and skill development, tailored to address specific challenges within India's cybersecurity landscape. These strategies are crucial in addressing burnout within India's cybersecurity sector, where workload management and talent shortages pose significant challenges. 


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