Microsoft Africa Development Centre and Cyber Shujaa to train 100 cybersecurity professionals

Catherine Muraga, Managing Director, Microsoft ADC and William Makatiani, CEO, Serianu during the signing ceremony held on Friday, May 31, 2024.

The Microsoft Africa Development Centre (ADC) has partnered with Cyber Shujaa to train 100 students in cybersecurity across Kenya as part of the centre’s goal of improving the cyber-security talent pipeline in the technology sector.

The three-month program will admit the first cohort of 70 undergraduate students and 30 graduate students with less than two years of work experience through eight cybersecurity modules.

The course will follow a hybrid learning model, with theoretical and practical training provided one-on-one in the classroom and weekly mentorship sessions.

“This program is one of several ADC initiatives aimed at improving skill development in Kenya's tech industry. Although cybersecurity is critical to operations in many sectors, it has remained under-resourced in terms of human capital. This is the ADC's contribution to establishing Kenya as the go-to destination for cybersecurity professionals, and we are delighted to do so with Cyber Shujaa. The participants will receive two Microsoft cybersecurity certificates, putting them in a better position to secure roles in the industry,” said Catherine Muraga, Managing Director of Microsoft ADC.

Cyber Shujaa, which is comprised of Serianu Limited, USIU-Africa, and the Kenya Bankers Association, trains youth in cybersecurity and data protection and has already provided competency-based skills training to over 500 individuals.

Speaking on behalf of the Interim Vice Chancellor, Dr. Victor Boiyo, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Student Life welcomed this initiative and hopes that USIU-Africa can be able to make a difference in the cybersecurity ecosystem.

“I am particularly glad to see that this initiative aligns very well with our strategic goals as a university. Our strategic plan is designed to address these challenges through a comprehensive approach that focuses on problem-solving through teaching, learning, and research. We aim to develop and enhance cutting-edge programs, both academic and co-curricular, that meet 21st-century needs. The Cyber Shujaa program is a prime example of this commitment. By collaborating with industry leaders like Microsoft ADC and leveraging the expertise of Serianu, USIU-Africa, and KBA, we are able to offer specialized training that directly addresses the skills gap in the cybersecurity industry,” said Dr. Boiyo.

Speaking about the initiative, William Makatiani, CEO of Serianu, mentioned, “In 2016, we launched the Cyber Immersion Program with just 8 students. By 2021, the Cyber Shujaa partnership was established, and we trained students from 67 universities nationwide in our inaugural cohort. We are thrilled to have partners like Microsoft ADC join the initiative, helping us achieve our goal of providing upskilling opportunities in IT and cybersecurity for Kenyan women and men, paving the way for enhanced personal development prospects.”

“One of our key goals is to increase gainful and high-quality employment among youth who have skills in cybersecurity and data protection. So far, we’ve managed to place more than 745 individuals in key roles within the industry after they completed their training with us. This program with Microsoft ADC presents an opportunity to grow our network as well as provide key skills required in the industry,” added William Makatiani. 

A recent Kaspersky Cybersecurity analysis shows 41 per cent of companies around the world lack enough cybersecurity professionals. Furthermore, the World Economic Forum and ISC2 report stated that there is a 4 million cybersecurity professional shortage that must be addressed urgently.  

According to the Microsoft Digital Defence Report 2023, cyber threats have become more sophisticated, faster, and larger in scale, posing challenges to the security and resilience of the online ecosystem. The report also highlights the importance of basic security hygiene, strong partnerships, and AI innovation to combat the evolving threats and protect the digital domain.

Speaking during the launch, Igor Sakhnov, Corporate Vice President of Engineering at Microsoft said that this partnership is not only timely but is envisioned to bring much much-needed boost to the industry, especially in Africa. 

Participants in the program will receive training in eight areas: network security, application security, cloud security, incident response, security architecture, IoT security, and forensics.

The cybersecurity upskilling program joins Microsoft ADC initiatives aimed at improving skills and experience within the tech sector, including the faculty upskilling program, Game of Learners, and the Women Inspiring and Nurturing Women (WINS) mentorship program.