GITAM Student to Represent India at WorldSkills Competition in Korea
Srihari Ruttala, a 21-year-old second-year Master of Computer Application (MCA, 2021–2023) student at GITAM (Deemed to be University), Visakhapatnam, has been selected for the WorldSkills Competition 2022 final round,
which will be held in South Korea in mid-October 2022. Azerbaijan, Australia, Hong Kong, Ireland, Singapore, Iran, Chinese Taipei, Korea, the United Kingdom, Estonia, and France will compete against the young student from GITAM School of Science.
The WorldSkills Competition, founded in 1950, is now in its 46th edition and will host 62 skill competitions across 15 countries and regions, with over 1,000 competitors from all over the world.
Ruttala, who will compete from October 12 to 16 in Korea’s Goyang, has always had an interest in computer technology but narrowed it down to cybersecurity after learning about cyberattacks and people who lost money due to malicious hackers. Ruttala, who is from Vizianagaram, enrolled in the Bachelor of Computer Application programme at GITAM (Deemed to be University) and began learning about coding, cyber security, and ethical hacking at the same time.
His academic career has been punctuated by significant achievements, including a gold medal in the national level Cyber Security in India Skills Competition 2022 and a runner-up position in Deloitte Cyberkshetra. Recently on World Youth Skills Day, Srihari was felicitated by the Government of Andhra Pradesh with a Rs 1 lakh cheque in an event organized by Andhra Pradesh State Skill Development Corporation (APSSDC).
To reach the World Skills stage, the selection process starts from the district level in India and moves up to the zonal, state, regional and finally, national level. A total of six candidates were chosen for the cybersecurity skill category. After another selection test between these six, Ruttala and Mufeed Hamzakutty from Kerala got selected to represent India for Cyber Security skill.
“The arduous selection process and preparation for the WorldSkills Competition has helped me identify the learning path and motivated me to achieve greater heights. To prepare for the world-level competition, I am reading up on all the previous test projects. My mentor and expert, Sangamesh Sivaputrappa, who has 17 years of experience in the Security domain, has been training since the India Skills Competition ended in January. He is also the Chief Deputy Expert for Cyber Security at WorldSkills. We have been practising on multiple domains like Incident Response, Red Teaming, Reverse Engineering, Malware Analysis, Packet Analysis, and so on,” says Ruttala.
The India Skills Competition was organised by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), which has also been training Ruttala vigorously. “NSDC has assigned Sangamesh Sir as our trainer. We have moved to Bangalore for the live training from our expert to cover the syllabus,” he adds.
On why he chose GITAM, Ruttala recounts that he chose GITAM for its excellent professors and infrastructure labs. The professors helped him understand data structures, C++, and Java. Knowing programming is an add-on to cybersecurity that helps one understand code and distinguishes oneself in the cybersecurity domain. The GITAM Career Guidance Cell provided everything needed for the competition in record time. He requested a high-end laptop to practise for the competition; he received the laptop and infrastructure to learn and practise within a week. Not only that, but they also purchased the necessary courses for his education.
Speaking on the opportunity to represent his country on the world stage, a proud Ruttala stated that it is a dream come true to have the opportunity to represent our country. The value of claiming to be ‘being the best in India’ is enormous. WorldSkills is regarded as the Olympics of skills, and winning the Internationals would provide one of the most valuable exposures one could hope for, implying that we are the best in the world in the mentioned skill.
On choosing cyber security as a field, he said, “It will be a top-of-the-hierarchy skill as long as we live a digital life. We live in a digital age where everything is connected, and our data is tied everywhere for ease of life, but this also comes with a risk of sensitive information breaches where people’s privacy can be violated. This is where Cyber Security awareness comes in. Security of systems is to be ensured to prevent this very problem.” As an example, he suggests that websites containing sensitive data conduct regular penetration tests and attack simulations to ensure their security.