SkillsDA: A Unique Entity Upskilling Students Into Industry-Ready Experts

Kottaram V Ramesh,Managing Director

Kottaram V Ramesh

Managing Director

Digitization is quickly becoming the new norm and with more and more people going online, the cyber threats happening in the digital realm are also increasing. The rising cybercrime numbers point to the gravity of the issue, and the imminent need to address it effectively. One name that has been a pioneering brand in the Indian cybersecurity space is SkillsDA, a brand of Ingu's Knowledge Academy Pvt. Ltd. and an ISO-certified Edu tech company focused on emerging technologies particularly cybersecurity, IoT and Blockchain.

Starting their operations in 2018, the brand has been growing multifold in the sector owing to their uniqueness and their ability to equip aspiring cybersecurity professionals with the required skills needed to combat serious cyberthreats. SkillsDA has been making impressive strides in the Indian cybersecurity education space having signed MoUs with leading institutions across the country including Amrita Vishwa Vidya Peetham and Coimbatore Institute of Technology as well as corporate giants such as L&T and has also been selected to provide training to 20,000 army personnel over the span of five years.

Modern-Day Centre of Excellence
The ethos of SkillsDA is centered on its commitment to reach more people, and their association with All India Federation of Training and Placement Officers (FTPO) allows them to do just that by extending support to every college and facilitating the training and placement efforts of the institution. "We are the training part of the ecosystem comprising of Cyberange and ISAC that has a private public partnership (PPP) with an entity under the Prime Minister's office called NCIIPC (National Critical Information Infrastructure Production Center). ISAC also have MoU with CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team), which is the one and only entity where the cybercrime related advisories are issued to the Government, corporates and the general public.

We have been given a mandate from AICTE to create 100,000 cyber security professionals within the next two years. SkillsDA is the Training Partner with NASCOM Future Skills in the emerging technologies, especially in Cyber Security," avers Kottaram V Ramesh, Managing Director, SkillsDA. Their commitment to reach a wide variety of students is rivalled only by their own commitment to infrastructural quality. SkillsDA prides itself on its state-of-the-art training center with high tech classrooms, virtual labs, an impressive Smart City Simulator and Security Operations Centre (SOC).

This Smart City Simulator is no superficial installation. The practical element of cybersecurity and the necessity of cyber offensive/cyber defensive training is core to the strategy of SkillsDA. While the theoretical training is exhaustive and research intensive, the hands-on element of praxis is equally valued. The Smart City Simulator, for instance, provides students with the much-needed real-life impetus to draw on in their cybersecurity training. This sprawling real life simulation is replete with all the functional elements of a city vulnerable to cyberthreats.

Kottaram V Ramesh says, "The crux of the matter is that hands-on experience is the most important part when it comes to cyber security. You have to practice and practice if you want to become a good cybersecurity professional. There are many job roles within cybersecurity and what we offer is this kind of hands-on training for the learners apart from the basic theory and understanding of cybersecurity. Our simulator is the only one of its kind in India and our virtual labs simulate real-world scenarios with utmost precision.

That's how we get our students to be job ready. We reduce the gap between what is required in the industry and what the candidate must know by providing this kind of hands-on training to the aspiring cybersecurity professionals. Our simulator also helps the students to get trained in the particular industry that they want to work as a cybersecurity professional which increases their employability."
Starting from the Ground Up
The programs offered by SkillsDA are easy self-paced programs with a focus on a variety of courses and students can choose between online and offline courses. Before enrolling students, SkillsDA also conducts an extensive assessment to find out the existing competency of the candidate. This analysis helps SkillsDA to identify the weakness as well as the strong-points of their students with the help of which they can work towards actualizing their true potential. After that, the theory classes begin which is followed by the practical and then hands-on training in virtual labs and simulators.

Industry Curated programs that are jointly certified by SkillsDA and NASSCOM Future Skills such an Foundational course in Cyber Security (SFC 101), Foundational course in IoT (SFI 201) and NOS topics are the key takeaways from SkillsDA's course bucket. These courses provide job opportunities for graduating students as they are industry recommended courses.

The specialized courses include Cybersecurity Offensive and Cybersecurity Defensive modules and the NSD Certified Penetration Testing Course (NCPT). Penetration testing domain from NSD is a recognized empanelment program for information security professionals with hands-on proven experience in vulnerability analysis and penetration testing. The domains test a candidate's skill, approach and knowledge that can provide an organization with a reliable workforce for detection and mitigation of cyber security threats in a timely manner. SkillsDA also offers specific courses for corporate and the BFSI segment.

The trainers at SkillsDA are industry experts and researchers who have worked for companies like IBM and TCS in the past and have contributed to various ground-breaking research in cybersecurity. Their approach is simple yet effective, focusing on capturing learners' attention and ensuring high dissemination of knowledge. There is also an external and much needed focus on placement interviews, job readiness, and soft skills training as a result of which SkillsDA is able to ensure a high probability of employment opportunities. The strong industry-connect of the trainers also helps the students of SkillsDA acquire valuable industry expertise and experience even as they are studying. SkillsDA's unique ITD model of hiring - "Identify, Train, Deploy" is particularly helpful as the right students are identified for their niche expertise and trained according to the job roles specified by companies. The learning is curated towards the job roles that they are looking to fill as a result of which the students' training can be mapped appropriately to the right job position in future. This unique ITD hiring technology has helped them offer impressive placement opportunities for their students and become a trusted partner for both students and corporates alike.

Industry curated programs that are jointly certified by Skillsda and Nasscom future skills such an foundational course in cyber security (SFC 101), foundational course in IoT (SFI 201) and NOS topics are the key takeaways from Skillsda's course bucket

Equal Opportunity in Cybersecurity
SkillsDA has also been a partner with Clean Exit to provide training for prospective employees. Clean Exit helps organisations and individuals in getting themselves certified for ethical work practices and behaviours. Individuals can take an ethical pledge and they can have their credentials verified and obtain a Clean Exit Rating, which can be a benchmark for potential recruiters. Clean Exit provides HR with powerful tools to rate employees for their behaviour across their lifecycle in the organization, and enables you to report employee misconducts and frauds in a central database. SkillsDA's partnership with Clean Exit marks an entry point to ethical practices in corporations as well as the general ethical fabric of the nation.

“Skillsda's partnership with is ac on providing cybercrime intervention officers program (CCIO) is another remarkable venture in ensuring equal opportunity of knowledge in cybersecurity”

SkillsDA's partnership with ISAC on providing Cybercrime Intervention Officers Program (CCIO) is another remarkable venture in ensuring equal opportunity of knowledge in cybersecurity. The personal and everyday nature of cybercrime is not one to be ignored and children, are faced with daily challenges posed by the internet. The CCIO is a course designed for parents and teachers to provide them with essential background on cyberpsychology and cybercrimes. The course allows you to detect early signs of problems in school children and teenagers affected by their online activities and equips you with proper guidance and counseling for timely intervention. This program educates the learner about all the various facets of cybersecurity.

With the help of Cutting-edge technology, SkillsDA has been able to create the perfect learning environment for their students to study and develop. Apart from state-of-the-art classrooms and labs, they also use equipment and tools which are all industry 4.0 compliant. SkillsDA also has special programs on cybersecurity for school students to help them understand good cybersecurity practices from standard 6 onwards. To combat the cyberthreats of the future and to be Cyber hygienic. Going forward, SkillsDA is aiming to educate at least 100,000 students on various cybersecurity courses and make them job-ready. By focusing on the emerging technologies and by keeping in touch with the industry, SkillsDA is striving to create more and more job opportunities for their students and develop into a globally recognized brand.