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Closing Africa’s IT security skills gap

by TINTSWALO BALOYI 
JOHANNESBURG – AN urgent opportunity has emerged to upskill and create more cyber security professionals in Africa, especially among the youth most affected by high unemployment in the continent.

Experts noted that with a median age of 19,7 years, Africa is the youngest population in the world.

Africa’s growing youth is demanding access to global connectivity and is driving technology adoption and digitalisation.

However, this increase in digitisation has brought with it an increased risk of cyber-crime.

This has changed significantly amid the growth in the user base of online consumers, and vulnerabilities in digital communications networks and supply chain.

A deficient cyber security infrastructure, a lack of skilled human capital, and a low level of awareness across both private and public sectors are contributing.

These have been the prevailing sentiments among experts as the continent marked Africa Day, commemorated annually on May 25.

According to the KnowBe4 Cyber Security Skills survey the roles organisations most need to fill are cloud security professionals (58,3 percent), SOC analysts and threat hunting (53,3) and risk, governance and compliance professionals (55).

Other top skills gaps include red teaming and offensive security professionals (48,3), network engineering (36,7) and security culture and awareness professionals (35).

“On the one hand, we have massive youth unemployment, and on the other, we see a cyber security skills gap,” said Anna Collard, Senior Vice President, Content Strategy and Evangelist at KnowBe4 Africa.

She noted many universities had been slow to create the skills pipeline that is needed, partly because this field changes quickly.

“But the good news for people seeking opportunities in the sector is that they can start self-learning to open career doors for themselves,” Collard said.

Nclose, an international cyber security specialist, reported as a partner in the industry in South Africa, it identified brain drain and a skills shortage in the sector.

“As we mark Africa Day, it’s an opportunity to acknowledge the opportunities that the continent has to become a hub of cyber security skills,” said Stephen Osler, Co-Founder and Business Development Director at Nclose.

“…but for this vision to materialise we need, both the competent authority and private sector, to invest intelligently in education, upskilling and training of young people,” he added.

– CAJ News

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