Indian companies are on a desperate hunt for skilled cybersecurity professionals to safeguard their digital infrastructure from unwanted intrusions. There are currently thousands of job vacancies in India, and recruiters are facing a big challenge to find the resources to fill these positions.
According to Nasscom, the increasing cyber attacks and data protection laws are expected to create 1 million jobs and $35 billion opportunities for India by 2025. So, it’s an exciting phase for all individuals to wish to choose cybersecurity as their career option. As opportunities are immense and companies are desperate to hire people for a lucrative pay scale, there are multiple cyber security courses in India one can choose to beef up their infosec skills and knowledge.
According to The Week, a new study revealed that as much as 64 percent of the Indian companies faced a cyber attack on their systems in the year 2017. And the losses mounted up to 70 crores for larger corporations. Last year, Cybersecurity Venture predicted that cybercrime will cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015. This represents the greatest transfer of economic wealth in history, risks the incentives for innovation and investment, and will be more profitable than the global trade of all major illegal drugs combined.
India is said to be the IT back office of the world. And the demand for infosec professionals these days is alarming. Therefore, employers look forward to hiring professionals with a certification as it provides an upper hand and is proof of one’s understanding of cybersecurity skills and knowledge. An InfoSec analyst earns somewhere between $75118 per year to as much as $124357 per year and with an added certification, there can be a steep rise in the pay scale.
In this article, we have outlined seven of the best cyber security courses in India, which are recognized by employers worldwide. It covers the courses ranging from entry level to advanced level. Also, for more information on the courses, you can check their websites, the links for which are provided as and in the description of the courses.
Here is a list of featured courses for quick navigation:
- CompTIA Security+
- GSEC: Giac Security Essentials Certifications
- SSCP: Systems Security Certified Practitioner
- CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker
- CISA: Certified Information Systems Auditor
- CISM: Certified Information Security Manager
- CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional
- Other Courses
Top cybersecurity courses in India
Security is more important to computing and the internet than ever before. The following well-respected cybersecurity certification courses will not only help you stand out from the crowd but will also make you a more valuable member of the IT security community.
Even the salary paid to these certification holders in India is quite lucrative. According to Payscale, the courses highlighted in this article attracts a hefty pay cheque (in INR). Moreover, our informal job board survey from Indeed and LinkedIn will also provide you an idea of the relative popularity of each certification. It reports the number of job openings in India where these certifications were mentioned in the job description. The results were collected on the day of publishing this article.
Making a career in IT security requires both experience and certifications. Cybersecurity qualification certifications are becoming the norm in many job descriptions today. And organizations seek quantifiable ways of measuring prospective employee expertise. Also, Department of Defence Directive(DoDD) says, for certain level of positions in the security department, you should have one or more of the below certificates to prove that you have knowledge and competency that are required within a position. Basically, DoD directives provide guidance for training of government employees who conduct information assurance functions in their positions.
Here is a list of certificates, categorized on the basis of levels they fall under. The list is not exhaustive, it is for the easy access that one may seek.
When it comes to entry-level certifications, you might start off by considering the CompTIA Security+ certificate. It is an ideal industry level certification with recommended experience of at least 2 years in the IT industry with a focus on information security. For this, you will have to pass an exam of 90 questions with a score of 750 or more out of 900. The exam length is 90 minutes and costs $190 USD in India. You can refer to CompTIA’s pricing page to check the certificate price applicable to your region. This certificate is also among the least expensive in this list. But CompTIA Security+ is valid for 3 years.
The certificate covers many domains, such as Network Security, Access Control and Identity management, Compliance and Operational, Cryptography, Threats and Vulnerabilities, Application, data, and host security etc. While taking the exam, one can expect the questions from all such domains.
CompTIA Security+ is one of DoD’s approved baselines for level 2 IT Security Technician. However, many consider it to be basic and lacking product specific knowledge. Therefore, it may be undervalued by some employers.
Despite these shortcomings, CompTIA Security+ is one of the best ways to begin a security career. If you’re looking for dedicated training, Simplilearn and Koenig can be some of the ideal options to look into.
GSEC: GIAC SECURITY ESSENTIALS CERTIFICATIONS
This is another good to go entry-level information security certification which is DoD approved for level 2 IT security technicians. Candidates are secured with them on a straight understanding of information security beyond simple terminology and concepts.
The GSEC exam is a 180 questions open book exam, with a length of 300 minutes and costs $1699 USD. Candidates need to score 73% or above to earn the certification. Although the exam is open book, the GSEC exam tests a candidate’s understanding and problem-solving skills with scenario based questions. One needs to have a deeper understanding of the concepts to pass this exam.
The GSEC is valid for 4 years and can be renewed with 36 continuing professional experience points. It is important to note that this certification is known as security essentials but it also actually implies networking essentials.
As the certification might seem quite expensive, credential seekers may take up a SANS course that includes the cost of the examination as well.
The domain of the GSEC includes Cryptography, Web Communication Security, Active Defense, Contingency Plans, Critical Controls, Networking and Protocols, Windows Network Security, Access Control and Password Management, IT Risk Management etc.
You can visit the official website of GIAC for more information related to schedule, pricing, and other key resources that may help you pass the certification.
SSCP: SYSTEMS SECURITY CERTIFIED PRACTITIONER
The SSCP certification from (ISC)2 is a good intermediate level security certification. A person is required to have a minimum of 1 year of experience in one of the seven designated security areas:-
- Access Controls
- Security Operations and Administration
- Monitoring and Analysis
- Risk, Response and Recovery
- Networks and Communications
- Malicious Code and Activity
After that, one must pass a 3-hour, 125 questions multiple choice exam with a score of 70% or better. The exam costs $250 USD. One must also certify every 3 years by earning 60 continuing professional education points. SSCP is seen as a relatively easy vendor-neutral badge to obtain.
The certification is one of the US Department of Defense approved baseline certification for both level 1 and level 2 information assurance technical certifications.
The content of SSCP has been refreshed to reflect the most pertinent issues that information security practitioners currently face along with the best practices for mitigating those issues. Some topics have been updated while others have been realigned. The result is an exam that most accurately reflects the hands-on technical IT skills and practical security knowledge required by practitioners to support an organization’s mission and operations.
Access Control, Security Operation and Administration, Risk Identification, Monitoring and Analysis, Incident Response and Recovery, Cryptography, Network & Communication Security are some of the major domains of this certification.
If you’re looking for a classroom-based training in India for SSCP, Koenig can be one of the best options to prepare yourself for the certification. Their 5 days training program will cost you Rs. 55000.
CEH: CERTIFIED ETHICAL HACKER
The CEH is an intermediate level certification focused on the prevention of most common attacks and securing systems and networks. CEH is designed to ensure a strong understanding of hacking practices including footprinting recognitions, scanning networks, SQL injections, worms and viruses, DoS attacks, social engineering, and honey pots.
CEH certification requires successful completion of a 4-hour, 125 questions multiple choice cybersecurity examination with a minimum score of 70%. The exam costs $500 USD. For self-study students, an additional $100 USD eligibility application fee and a record of two years of information security related work experience endorsed by the employer is necessary. With an increase in awareness of cyber attacks, the certified ethical hacker resonates with many employers. However, there is some debate about the value of the certification. In terms of difficulty, the EC Council maintains tight control over entry to the certification exam. In order to be eligible to attempt the CEH exam, it requires that candidates attend an EC Council official training program or provide employer verified proof of at least two years of Information Security experience.
The CEH exam is further categorized as core, advanced and expert. However, the general domains include Information Systems and Networking, Security Controls, Reconnaissance Fundamentals, Network Attacks, System and Device Attacks and Regulations, Policies and Ethics.
In India, there are multiple institutions that offer both classrooms as well as online-based IT security courses at an affordable cost. One can also refer to Udemy for any self-paced training course to equip themselves with the right skills and knowledge before applying for CEH certification. Moreover, on Youtube, one can also find some interesting free resources to help understand most of the topics.
CISA: CERTIFIED INFORMATION SYSTEMS AUDITOR
The CISA is ICACA’s validation for audit control assurance and security. The main responsibility of a CISA is to assess vulnerabilities, report on compliance and institute controls within an enterprise system. This world-renowned certification will certainly set one apart from the competition and allow you to work anywhere you want. While anyone can take the CISA exam, getting certified has the following requirements.
Firstly, you need a year of experience in information systems or any qualifying educational degree. Next, you need to have an adherence to the code of professional ethics and also to the continuing professional education program and compliance with the information systems auditing standards.
The exam lasts for 4 hours, with 150 multiple choice questions one needs to have a minimum score of 450 to pass the examination. The certification costs $575 for registered members and $760 for non-members. The domains of CISA include The process of Auditing Information Systems, Governance, and Management of IT, Information Systems Acquisition, Development and Implementation, Information Systems Operations, Maintenance and Support, Protection of Information Assets, The Process of Auditing Information Systems.
One can find an ample number of institutions in India that offer CISA training. Simplilearn has an instructor-led training program that covers most of the modules and also offers a 100% money back guarantee.
CISM: CERTIFIED INFORMATION SECURITY MANAGER
CISM is truly management focused certification. This is an ideal certification for seasoned IT managers, security managers and CSO’s. The CISM validates a vast range of cybersecurity skills and recognizes a manager who promotes these international security practices. If someone is interested in IT security management, the CISM provides a multitude of opportunities.
The recommended experience to get this certification is 5 years in the information security field. The exam comprises of 200 multiple choice questions and lasts for 4 hours. To qualify one must score a 450 on a scale of 200-800. In the CISM certification exam, the domains included are Information Security Governance, Information Risk Management, Information Security Program Development, Information Security Program Management, Incident Management, and Response.
You can refer to their resource page for more information related to pricing, schedule, and study material.
CISSP: CERTIFIED INFORMATION SYSTEMS SECURITY PROFESSIONAL
CISSP from (ISC)2 is arguably the current gold standard of InfoSec Certifications. It’s an advanced level certification for IT Security Professionals and is recognized and valued by both industry and government employers worldwide. CISSP is approved as a DoD baseline for level 3 IT security technicians. That’s where the comparisons end.
The CISSP certification is designed for security professionals who develop information security policies and procedures. This is the most advanced certification in the list. And for many candidates, it may require up to a year to prepare for the exam. The certification exam is a 6 hour 250 questions monster which costs $699 USD and to pass it one must score a minimum of 700 out of 1,000. Also, to take up the exam one must prove that he has worked for at least five years as a security professional and you must subscribe to the (ISC)2 code of ethics.
Once you’re a CISSP certified practitioner, you must recertify every three years through at least 120 hours of continuing professional education and you must pay a yearly fee of $85 USD to maintain your certification too. CISSP basically makes you a cybercrime investigator. It’s intensive but well worth it.
Its domains include Identity and Access Management, Security Assessment and Testing, Security Operations, Software Development Security, Communication and Network Security, Security Engineering, Asset Security and Risk Management.
In addition to the above-mentioned certification courses, there are other courses which are equally looked upon by cybersecurity enthusiasts.
Cyber Pro Track is another full-time training program that covers multiple infosec technologies and also offers cyber range as part of the curriculum. The curriculum is crafted by one of the leading cybersecurity practitioners and consultants. Moreover, it guarantees 100% job placement. The only disadvantage of this course is that it’s a classroom-based training program, one has to travel to Bangalore to attend this course.
Penetration testing is a sensitive task embedded with high amounts of legal and technical commitments. To get into this field of cybersecurity, the GPEN (GIAC Penetration Tester) may serve as one of the best certifications. It doesn’t require any verifiable work experience and anyone can apply for the certification.
The EC Council’s sequel to the very renowned CEH, ECSA(EC-Council Certified Security Analyst) also tests your elevated skills as a penetration tester. However, it is necessary to hold a CEH certificate before going for this certification.
Moreover, the Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) is one of the best certifications looked forward by employers. It requires a Penetration Testing course by Kali Linux as a prerequisite course to apply. At around $800 USD, this 24-hour examination has its own online preparatory course.
Also, another certification by ICACA, CRISC(Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control) is generally sought by employers who wish to hire professionals for positions such as c-suite executive, risk and privacy officer. It requires a minimum of three years of relevant experience to apply for this.
Having certification of cybersecurity from the above-mentioned courses opens huge gates for government cybersecurity jobs in India for positions such as Network Security Officer, Security Architect, Chief Information Security Officer to name a few. Banks, Government retail, BFSI sectors actively recruit cybersecurity professionals. Also according to the Economic times, this time the government has approved the proposal for the creation of 355 posts for cybersecurity professionals in the National Informatics Centre. This might prove to be a jackpot for the people who are looking forward to serving the government as an InfoSec professional.
As the amount of digital data and transactions grow, so does the need for cybersecurity professionals in a variety of roles. And to advance your career in the field of cybersecurity, you must, at least once in your lifetime consider the above-mentioned certification courses.