Cybersecurity
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Thanks to a cybersecurity community who bonded with Blessing in Cape Town, the young computer whizz was able to head off to the opportunity of a lifetime in a story that reminds us how important community support is in plugging into our dreams:

 

Global (12 April 2024) — In today’s world, there’s an extreme emphasis on young people getting into tech fields when considering their futures. However, not nearly enough emphasis is put on how young people can succeed in these fields—especially when they lack the many resources necessary or come from underserved backgrounds. However, as it so often does, community played a massive role in helping one learner get his chance to expand his knowledge internationally in cybersecurity—footing the bill of these dreams for him, thanks to an inspiring unity built around plugging people into their passions.

This is the story of Blessing Kashava, a community committed to the people behind the screens, and a chance of a lifetime.

Hailing from Zimbabwe, Young Blessing began to gain recognition for his skills as an Associate Technology Risk Analyst during his second year at the Harare Institute of Technology already.

Because of his ethical hacking and penetrating testing abilities, Blessing began to focus on Cybersecurity to help keep businesses safe. The 23-year-old did so well he was nominated for the Outstanding Young Cybersecurity Professional Award in Zimbabwe just last year and represented the African continent at a Cybersecurity Championship in San Diego.

But, despite his growing excellence, money to expand his knowledge and take up upskilling chances was still a problem.

In his determination to learn as much as he could even though he couldn’t afford a ticket to attend, Blessing opted to volunteer to help at a security and community conference—BSides Cape Town.

As Roberto Arico explains, BSides is “run purely for “hackers” and those in cybersecurity, and exists purely to build a community and share knowledge, teach others, and uplift members.” 

He adds that because there is a massive shortage of skills in the cyber security industry, they are trying to get as many people as ‘skilled up’ as possible to make a difference.

After learning more about Blessing and his talents, all the organisers (volunteers) decided not only that Blessing couldn’t miss the opportunity, but that they would fund Blessing’s trip down to Cape Town and help him with accommodation for the December event.

But, this was not the last of their community efforts to give Blessing his chances at bigger leagues.

As of March, Blessing was accepted to head off to another big opportunity and lifetime chance—Black Hat Asia. This time, he had gotten a sponsored ticket from those organisers, but flights and accommodation stood in his way…until his friends from BSides stepped in once again thanks to their Rite of Passage programme and made sure Blessing would not miss out!

“I think it’s an amazing story of giving an opportunity of a lifetime to people from underprivileged backgrounds,” says Roberto. 

In his personal capacity, Blessing hopes to be a force of change in his own communities. One way he is doing this is by founding Evolve—which seeks to build a regional cybersecurity community within university campuses, for students. It offers workshops and competitive events so that students can flex their muscles, and make friends in the industry along the way in both Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Watch this (cyber) space!

You can find out more about upskilling with BSides here. 


Sources: Website Submission 
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About the Author

Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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