Global technology major IBM has said there is a massive shortage of cyber security professionals in the country, urging young graduates to look at this segment, which is a high-margin segment for companies, as a lucrative career option.
The company, which looks at India both as a market as well as a talent pool to serve the global markets on cyber security, said a whopping 3 million cyber security professionals are required in the country but the supply is not even 100,000 now, Kartik Shahahni, integrated security leader for IBM India and South Asia, said. “Can I find people, yes I can. But can I find enough number of people? There is obviously an opportunity for more number of people than we actually have now,” Ananda K Vaideeswaran, director and global integrated leader, chipped in saying. Shahahni explained that security solutions currently contributes in “double-digit percentages” to IBM India’s revenue, whereas its share of the total staff is much smaller.
Stating that cyber security professionals are “more productive” as it is a margin accretive vertical, he said, “the amount of revenue a security professional can bring to us is far higher than the amount of revenue a non-security professional can.” The comments come amid rising concerns about the information technology sector from a workforce intake perspective. As more and more tasks get automated with the advent of newer technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, fewer number of people are required by the $160-billion domestic IT sector to do the same work compared to the past when the industry was one of the leading job creators absorbing millions annually.
The IBM executives declined to give a clear answer whether cyber security can emerge as a much-needed succour from an employability perspective but explained that different skill sets and approaches are required for grabbing such jobs.
Vaideeswaran said there is a need for changes from the school and graduation level to the postgraduate level, which will help the industry get the right kind of people. For those who do look at cyber security, there is a need to look beyond ethical hacking, he said, adding this branch represents only 5 percent of the security needs. “Not enough youngsters look at cyber security as a job opportunity. That is probably an area where we can do a lot as an industry,” he said. He said IBM has been working with universities and tech schools to get the necessary manpower for its the business, and also works with the Data Security Council of India and industry lobby Nasscom on the same front.