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Statement of Purpose

Pallavi Jagannatha
for MS in Information Security/Computer Security/Cyber Security
for Winter Semester 2014

The mathematical explanation provided by science for various phenomena always appealed to me and led me
to complete my under graduation in Telecommunications Engineering. The cyber security landscape is
changing by the day and getting more complex. To meet this challenge, India needs over five lakh
security engineers. Engineering continues to be an attractive profession with thousands of young students
aspiring to join this field of study. Within the many streams available, one of the most needed requirements
today is in the area of security, even as the Internet, mobility and technology trends such as cloud computing
continue to transform the way individuals and businesses interact with one another digitally. With just over
5,80,000 engineers graduating every year (Nasscom study), India now faces an urgent need to develop skills,
prepare and arm itself in the area of cyber defence. The need for technically proficient individuals becomes
more relevant as innovation in the digital world happens much faster than the physical world. To understand
the role of a security engineer, it is important to take a step back and review the security threat landscape.
Even as the motivation of cyber attackers has moved from fame to financial gain, malware has become a
successful criminal business model with billions of dollars in play. While the volumes of threats are
growing exponentially, they are also becoming more sophisticated: we are now in the third
significant shift in the threat landscape — one of cyber-espionage and cyber-sabotage. People say
“security is a matter of constant education”. Most importantly, integrity is very important to a cyber-security
expert. Businesses, governments and consumers are relying on these individuals to secure themselves and
their information, and it is important that they demonstrate and hold their trust. It is because of this
fascination that I intend to pursue an MS degree in Network security/information
security/computer security and become a cyber-warrior.

I stepped into the undergraduate studies in a prestigious and a top notch institute R.V college of Engineering. I
maintained a good academic record, scoring 7.75 GPA and graduated with First Class with
Distinction. As an undergraduate student, I was introduced to a wide variety of courses like Microprocessors
and Computer Organization helped me in understanding the physical framework on which this field is
structured. Operating Systems, System Software and LINUX made me realize the importance of platforms
which programming languages such as C and C++ exploit, but subjects that interested me the most were Data
Structures, Algorithms, Operating Systems and all the Networking subjects like Data Communication,
information theory and coding, Mobile Communications, Computer Networks and Cryptography and Network
Security.While gathering data for one of the seminars to be presented in class, I learnt about various
technologies like the OSI model, attacks at different layers of the OSI model, architecture of Wireless Sensor
Networks, various cryptographic techniques like Single network-wide key, trusted server approach and pre-key
distribution which are used in Wireless Sensor Networks. This fired my curiosity to explore the world of
computer networks. During my undergraduate studies, I regularly interacted with the faculty in my department
to discuss about my areas of interest. On the advice of Professor Pradeep.A.S, I joined a course through ‘Solutt
Corporation’ during the summer of 2010. This laid a strong foundation for courses like Computer Networks and
network security.

Apart from what was taught in these courses in college, I also wanted to study about the methods of securing
data during transmission. Hence, I analysed in detail the AODV, DSR and ARAN (Authenticated Routing for Ad
hoc Networks) protocols, and studied the susceptibility of each to attacks using modification, impersonation
and fabrication. I presented a seminar on this in my class.

During my final year, I did a mini project on MIMO-OFDM technology titled “Study of Performance of SNR with
Zero Forcing and MMSE equalizers at the receiver end. I used Matlab for the software implementation of MIMO-
OFDM system. I did a major project titled “Gesture Recognition Technique for Speech Impaired” in my final
semester. To alleviate the problem of communication among people with disabilities to speak and listen, a
device to assist has been developed based on the Body Sensor Network (BSN) technology to have automatic
gesture recognition. I had coded the entire program in .NET. My Project days were the most exciting,
interesting and fun days of my college, as we got involved in more practical work, we made success every day
in finding solutions for efficient coding and we also had so much fun together as a team.

Seeking Computer Networking based profiles at campus I got recruited by Ericsson Global India limited
as “Network Engineer” and underwent three-month training in many areas. After the training period, I was
selected for “planning and design” team of “network engineering” department. I applied the knowledge of
algorithms and data structures in solving few complex feature requests and was well appreciated by the senior
members of the team. I gave knowledge transfer to my junior members in the team and presented a seminar
Statement of Purpose
Pallavi Jagannatha
for MS in Information Security/Computer Security/Cyber Security
for Winter Semester 2014

on the same. I further enhanced my technical skills in data structures and algorithms. This helped me
improving my problem solving and result-driven skills. My efforts were recognized by my team members. The
corporate exposure that I have gained over 13 months, I believe will help me a great deal in my Master’s
program in Computer security/Information security/network security.

My capital asset is my thought process. I believe no matter what ups and downs I face, I keep thinking for
the better. I believe thinking is progress and non-thinking is stagnation. During my professional
experience, I made some sincere efforts to improve the ways of working of my team and my associates. From
drawing learning from other’s experiences, sharing of knowledge, implementing quality techniques, process
improvement to performance tuning, I have ensured that I put my head to it for better results. My experience
working with Ericsson global India Limited gave me a window of opportunities to understand and experience
what the employees really need. “A leader is one who seeks best for those he serves”. I am no different.
I initiated small study circles in my college which encouraged senior students to help the junior students in
learning and technical assistance in project work. This was because, it was difficult for the professor to provide
assistance to every student in the college on a one-on-one basis due to lack of time. I took up small group of
3-4 students and taught them complicated concepts of Telecommunication Engineering. I would ask for their
requirement and help them learn the concepts. I also took regular feedbacks to improve the circle. These small
study circles provided a platform for interaction and learning. I was the Leader (spoc) of the fresher’s batch
who joined along with me in Ericsson. I took initiative and helped in organizing various training programs for
the fresher’s batch. I realized that motivation is intrinsic. A leader can only work with the factors that trigger
motivation and not the motivation per se. My learning from college and the company will be great take away
for me and for the incoming class.

My affinity to networks makes me keen to apply to your prestigious institution’s computer science department.
The knowledge and experience that I have gained has just given me the taste of computer science, but has
certainly not abated crave in me to know the subject in depth. To satisfy my thirst for knowledge and
specialize in information security/network security/computer security, I strongly feel it is the ideal period for
me to do my masters in computer science which has been my goal for a long time. With the rising
complexity of the cyber-security threat landscape, a cyber-security expert brings together a
combination of skills in terms of technical knowledge, the right mind-set and the maturity that is
needed to take on this career that performs a critical function in the digital era. With the increasing
sophistication of attacks and the potential cyber threats have to bring down national assets, the
role of a security engineer is critical. It requires a combination of high-technology skills to understand,
anticipate and pre-empt various attack techniques, as well as an investigative bent of mind to understand the
psychology and motivation of attacks. To be a security expert, an engineer needs to possess the skills
and mind set to perform a defensive, yet pre-emptive role in protecting the nation. Further, the
digital world operates 24 x 7, and it knows no physical boundaries — to keep pace, security
engineers need to have a degree of foresight and quick thinking to mitigate threats before they
cause widespread damage.

People say and I believe in “Studying abroad helps you learn about the world and everything that is
happening outside your horizon”. I would like to experience new cultures and meet new people from
different countries. I want to take full advantage of the opportunity and want to dive into the experience
headfirst for I believe it truly can be life changing. While my short-term goal is to learn, explore,
experiment and gain new experiences in this field of, my long-term goal is to pursue a career in
Research or Industry and make a meaningful contribution to this field. I am an ambitious and
motivated individual, genuinely interested in what I am going to do and extremely excited to pursue my dream
With my confidence, good articulation and managerial skills and an eye for research, I assure you that
complete justice will be done to all the opportunities provided to me, and I will prove to be an invaluable asset
to Department and University as I embark on this enriching journey for Knowledge. I would really appreciate if
you could consider me for Research/Teaching assistantship with any of the professors in the Computer
Engineering Department or for financial aid of any form. I sincerely request you to give me your full
consideration.