This October marked the 20th annual international Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a programme that has become increasingly important as digital technologies make their way into every facet of everyone’s lives.

The IITPSA took this opportunity to focus on cyber security and raise awareness – not only of the importance of being more secure online, but also to highlight the opportunities for professionals in this sector. There remain significant gaps for skilled cyber security professionals worldwide – and South Africa’s bright young graduates could ll them.

We will need security-focused professionals and white hat hackers in ever greater numbers as AI and generative AI become more important – and these technologies must be governed, ethical and secure, in order to build trust around them. Africa stands on the brink of a transformative AI revolution, and the IITPSA SIGAIR and Social & Ethics Committee invite you to a free webinar that explores how responsible AI can drive economic progress and human development on the continent and we encourage members to register to attend.

To raise awareness and encourage more students to enter the profession, the IITPSA’s increasingly active cyber security special interest group – SIGCyber – took to the road with two cyber security roadshows recently. The rst, at the Nelson Mandela University in Gqeberha, kicked off the new roadshow series, which is designed to encourage interaction in the SIGCyber community, and between industry and students. The event featured a guest speaker and an industry panel discussion focusing on cybersecurity skills development, and a student cyber challenge.

Together with the Western Cape Chapter, the SIGCyber staged the second roadshow in Cape Town. This event featured a topical CISO panel discussion on burnout in cybersecurity professionals, and an exciting cyber challenge where UCT students engaged in vulnerability and troubleshooting challenges.

I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the top performers in the 2023 IITPSA Programming Olympiad, who received their medals at a ceremony at Die Hoërskool Menlopark in Pretoria earlier this month. In recent years, this event has surfaced several repeat star performers. However, we are also committed to growing the number of participants and diversifying the cohort, as well as improving access to such competitions for all ordinary high school learners. As the IITPSA has noted in the past, initiatives like our Talent Search and Computer Olympiads help prepare our young people for a digital world, where they can compete for opportunities in a global digital job market. Therefore, we must increase access to – and awareness of – these initiatives.

Warm regards,

Senele Goba,
President of the IITPSA