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Want to become a security integrator in India? Here’s what it takes

Want to become a security integrator in India? Here’s what it takes
The security industry in India is growing. But how does one become an integrator?
About a decade ago, when Sagar Modi, then an engineering graduate working for a large IT company in India, wanted to make a career switch to the physical security industry, there really wasn’t a clear path. Physical security technology was still not considered essential at that time, and surveillance cameras were limited to very few places. Modi, who is now the MD of Synergy Security Systems, had to learn by working under technicians as a trainee.
Fast forward to 2021, the physical security industry in the subcontinent is growing at a rapid pace. More and more customers are aware of the need for surveillance, access control systems, and alarm systems. Governments and regulatory bodies are actively upgrading standards and compliance requirements. Demand for physical security is high and is set to grow.
While the market has changed over the last decade, the path to becoming a security systems integrator continues to remain unclear. Education institutions are eager to offer courses in new-age topics like AI, ML, and robotics, but we’re yet to see a govt-accredited university or college offering a course in physical security. Online courses from international physical security organizations are available, but they are expensive for most Indians.

An initiative from the industry 

This is where some systems integrators have felt the need to go beyond their primary businesses to offer learning opportunities to aspiring candidates. Sandeep Patil, Founder of Securizen, is one such person. He began an initiative named CCTV Guru that attempts to provide online training to people who wanted to enter the security industry at an affordable price.
“The idea for this actually came to me when I was interviewing people for my company,” Patil explained. “Many candidates come in saying that they know about CCTV and surveillance systems. But when I question them on the subject, they are helpless. This was when I realized that even many who come with an engineering degree often do not have the basic knowledge or skills to work in the security industry.”
He has also had candidates who were fresh out of college joining his company post an internship. But after a brief stint of about six months, they would leave the job, getting trained but not really contributing to the company.
This also prompted him to make the training a formal course that would benefit both the candidates and his company. With over 21 years of experience in the industry, Patil understands technology and business in the Indian context better than many people.

What you need to enter this industry

Patil feels that a person who wishes to work in this industry at the primary level does not require prior technical expertise before joining a course. Such people can gain adequate skills and knowledge to provide basic CCTV installation services to small commercial establishments and residences.
“But if someone wants to get into advanced integrated systems in areas such as building management and automation, I recommend at least a diploma in electronics, telecommunication, instrumentation or related fields,” Patil continued. “The key point is that if you have an interest in this field, the opportunities are limitless.”
For example, there are many ways of integrating systems depending on customer requirements, but you need to have the right attitude to explore different systems, experiment, and learn.
Modi added that you should be ready to work in the field from the beginning. This is not a job to be done sitting behind a desk. You should learn from the basics, even if that is learning to hold the screwdriver properly.

Common mistakes candidates make

Although many people are interested in working in the security industry now, there are a few issues to their approach. For instance, Patil points out that many young candidates he interacted with don’t like to work with intrusion detection and alarm systems.
But as a security systems integrator, it is vital to know all the different solutions and integrate them. Learning to fix surveillance cameras alone will not be enough because cameras alone will not provide complete protection in all cases. Integrating different solutions is essential.
Modi added it is important to look beyond surveillance cameras from a business perspective as well. This is because the margins in the CCTV industry are not high as before, and it is essential to explore other systems like access control, guard patrol monitoring solutions, etc.

Importance of professional courses 

At the moment, getting trained with a systems integrator is the most popular route for most people. But as with other fields, we may see an increase in educational institutions providing training in physical security. One challenge is that the salary in this industry is not as high as in the software engineering sector. However, as the market grows and the demand increases, we may see its value increasing.
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