Microsoft India and Data Security Council of India (DSCI) on September 24 launched CyberShikshaa, a three-year programme to create a pool of skilled cybersecurity women professionals in the country.
Supported by the Ministry of Information Technology (MeitY)’s Information Security Education & Awareness (ISEA), CyberShikshaa is betting on the growing potential of cybersecurity and the need for a large talent pool.
As part of the initiative, 1,000 women from underserved communities will be trained in ten locations across the country and offered employment opportunities.
CyberShikshaa is open to women science graduates between the age of 20-27 years. The first phase of the programme will be rolled out across Noida, Patna, Hyderabad and Mohali starting today.
"Bridging the skill gap in the niche domain of cybersecurity is a national imperative. There has been an increased participation from industry, government and academia to develop cybersecurity skills required for India. This programme...will not only provide impetus to bridging the skill gap but will also help draw more women into cybersecurity domain," said Ajay Prakash Sawhney, Secretary, MeitY at the launch.
According to industry body National Association of Software and Services Companies, the strength of the women workforce in the information technology and services industry in India currently stands at 34 percent.CyberShikshaa will develop a comprehensive ecosystem and evangelize women to harness the opportunities of cybersecurity as a career.
"As India leapfrogs into the next phase of growth, we see a multi-fold growth of digital assets. This increases the need for an enhanced cybersecurity infrastructure and advanced security solutions. India is also fast emerging as a prime destination for offshore cybersecurity R&D and security operations centers. This will lead to the next wave of jobs – one we must be ready for with a skilled workforce. CyberShikshaa is the first step towards this," said Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India.
The initiative has been formalised under Microsoft India's corporate social responsibility unit.
CyberShikshaa will also facilitate partnerships amongst government, industry and academia.
"Cybersecurity skills development and enabling growth opportunities to women talent in cybersecurity domain is a key imperative for government and industry. DSCI is pleased to partner with Microsoft in developing industry-ready women cybersecurity professionals through the CyberShikshaa program," said Rama Vedashree, CEO, DSCI.
The CyberShikshaa curriculum will comprise an interactive, four-month training course with a combination of theory, case studies and practical hands-on projects managed by a group of training partners led by Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC).It will also include mentoring sessions and workshops with industry leaders, soft skills training and technical sessions by Microsoft employee volunteers. Campus interviews will be organised for students on successful completion of the course.