Promoting Cybersecurity As An Aspiring Field Of Career For The Youth Of India

The bursting of the Indian Ed-tech bubble this year along with the ongoing funding winter has impacted the industry massively; however, a myriad of edtech platforms are still managing to flourish and mushroom at a rampant pace. One such startup that is striding towards leaps with a multitude of interesting initiatives is RISE.

Spearheaded under the leadership of Gaurav Bhatia, CEO and Khyaati Jain, VP-Operations and Strategy, the edtech platform was established in April 2021 and is based out of Pune. The startup is actively hosting a slew of interesting initiatives with ingenuity like the recent drive to incorporate neurodivergent workforce. The startup also recently launched its first-of-its-kind GET SET HACK by RISE, a cybersecurity hackathon, in collaboration with ThriveDX and The Andhra Pradesh Government. Started in late July, the 2-month long Hackathon’s results were announced early September. The hackathon was launched in the backdrop of a massive dearth of competent cybersecurity workforce in Digital India. The idea behind the hackathon was to ignite the Indian youth’s interest in Cybersecurity and encourage them to opt for a career in this field.

India is now witnessing a slew of hackathons being organized by Governments, India Inc. and startups. India has become the 2nd largest technology innovation hub in the world with the rapidly changing industry dynamics and technological advancements. We, as a country, have witnessed a surge in technological adoption hosting a vast array of fields pertaining to advanced tech. With millions of newer jobs being created in the advanced technology space, India is massively lacking in skilled professionals to fill in these roles. Hence, early adoption of technology through STEM learning and using tools like hackathons, have been instrumental in helping the Indian youth to dive deeper into the fields of advanced technologies like Cryptography, Cybersecurity, Artificial intelligence among others. Some of the hackathons that happened recently are Microsoft- future ready application hackathon for developers and digital natives, Smart India Hackathon by Govt. of India – bringing in Prime Minister Modi as he stated “Indian innovations always provide the most competitive, affordable, sustainable, secured and at scale solutions. That is why the world is looking towards India with hope.”

Speaking on the importance, in this interview with Gaurav Bhatia, CEO at RISE, The Outlook dives deeper into the need of such hackathons and how GET SET.

HACK by RISE has been able to contribute:
1. What is the objective behind the Hackathon GET SET HACK?

GET SET HACK by RISE has been created as a platform under which RISE will host hackathons for various topics, and the current edition of GET SET HACK is focused towards cybersecurity. We at RISE want to create awareness about Cybersecurity as a career opportunity for the youth of India as it’s one of the fastest growing sectors due to the growth in digitally savvy population across the world and the demand for qualified professionals is very high.

2. What is the role of ThriveDX in this collaborative initiative?
ThriveDX Saas is a partner with us at RISE for the 12-month long Cybersecurity course and they have also created the curriculum along with the technology platform for the final challenge.

3. How did the Hackathon progress and how was the response?
The registrations for the hackathon opened in July and we had an overwhelming response of over 22000 registrations which surpassed all our initial expectations. We had an initial screening test from where we had 1000 finalists who then attended multiple webinars and self study modules. where the participants were introduced to cybersecurity & web application penetration, cryptography, classic ciphers and encoding. The final challenge was then held in late August.

4. What are the activities that were undertaken by the participants during the course of the Hackathon?
During the Hackathon, the participants were introduced to a host of activities and learned the following subjects:
● Forensics – hiding data in unsuspecting files
● Intro to Cybersecurity & Web Application penetration
● Self Study – Cryptography fundamentals
● Classic Ciphers & Encodings
● Final Challenge on Cryptography where they had to crack encrypted files. It was a test of skill and time in which they found the information.

5. How can we equip the upcoming generations to be ready for the developing job trends in technologically developing countries like India and across the Globe?

Equipping the generation to be ready for the developing job trends in technologically developing countries like India and across the Globe is a need of the hour and can only be done by creating awareness about Cybersecurity among the upcoming generation and by providing access to high quality, industry. oriented certification programs. Currently RISE is providing such a course in collaboration with ThriveDX where students get trained and also work on capstone projects, get internships & learn directly from industry experts.

6. Is there an uptake in the enrollments for the cybersecurity courses, if yes, please provide data to substantiate? In addition to this, are there any changes in trends that are being witnessed in the ‘women in tech’ prerogative?

Over time we have seen an increase in the interest in Cybersecurity as a subject, the phenomenal response to the hackathon itself is proof of the rising interest. We also saw a lot of women participate in the hackathon with around 6500 registrations. As a domain, Cybersecurity has been a traditionally male dominated field but more and more women are now showing interest in learning Cyber ​​Security and making a career in this field. Additionally, women in tech is something we are actively encouraging with our special programs for women who want to enrol for our Cybersecurity bootcamp.
The startup is also on an expansion spree as they recently expanded their presence in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. The startup is also planning to enrol 9,000 students by November 2022 and 12,000 students by March 2023.


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