Keith’s journey from cybersecurity trainee to mentor
Keith had always been fascinated by crime shows and forensic analysis. He had a natural inclination towards problem-solving and a talent for fixing machines. These interests led him into the field of IT, where he discovered his true calling in cybersecurity.
Keith was determined not to become a programmer but found immense satisfaction in the practical aspects of cybersecurity. Through an innovative programme by Cyber Shujaa, a Serianu project supported by CFYE, Keith could channel his natural curiosity to help mentor other young graduates navigating the barriers towards postgraduate employment.
Navigating the IT job market in Kenya
Keith acknowledges the challenges that came with working in the IT sector. In Kenya, the high number of ICT graduates is contrasted with staff shortages in the sector. In fact, in 2019 employers indicated a 60% shortage of Cybersecurity professionals. However, many companies often take advantage of an individuals’ passion for the field, underpaying them or neglecting their professional development. This led Keith to seek a more supportive work environment. He believed that companies should provide extensive training and mentorship opportunities, particularly for fresh university graduates who need guidance in navigating the complexities of the field.
Keith entered the Cyber Shujaa workforce as one of its first trainees under CFYE’s support, where he discovered a profound sense of purpose in his work. With the training and mentorship provided by Cyber Shujaa, he could progress quickly, resulting in him being offered a full-time position in the company to train and upskill future entrants. This support has allowed Keith to channel his passion further. One of the most rewarding aspects of Keith’s job was witnessing the growth and development of those he had trained. When his former students return with others who wish to be mentored, Keith feels a deep sense of pride and satisfaction. It is a testament to the impact he has made in their lives and the knowledge he has imparted. Moreover, Keith recognizes the ever-evolving nature of cybersecurity. He believes that continuous learning is crucial in staying ahead of cybercriminals who constantly find innovative ways to commit cybercrimes. This aspect of his work intrigues him the most, as it allows him to constantly expand his knowledge and acquire new skills.
“When people you have trained come back with other students eager to learn and grow as they had, that makes me feel so proud. To know you can have that sort of impact on someone’s life”
Keith Muchiri, Cybersecurity Mentor
So, how would Keith advise an aspiring cybersecurity graduate?
With programmes like Cyber Shujaa, who emphasize mentorship, guidance, and workplace training, Keith hopes to encourage more young professionals to pursue careers in cybersecurity. He understands that a happy and fulfilled workforce would not only benefit employees but also lead to satisfied customers. Through his dedication to cybersecurity and his passion for teaching and mentorship, Keith found true purpose and fulfilment in his work. He embraces the constant learning and the opportunity to contribute to a safer digital world. By teaching and mentoring others, he has helped guide future aspiring cybersecurity professionals.