IDB approves Uruguay’s first cybersecurity credit: Explores the potential of bootcamps

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MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved an $8 million loan that will support the strengthening of Uruguay’s capacity to protect its digital space by improving its systems to prevent, detect and respond to cyber-attacks.

The loan has a repayment term of 25 years with five and a half years of grace, an interest rate based on LIBOR and has a local counterpart of $2 million. The program will be executed by the Agency of Electronic Government and Information and Knowledge Society (AGESIC acronym in Spanish).

While the IDB has been supporting the development of country-specific digital agendas in the region, this is the first lending operation to be approved in the institution’s history solely focused on cybersecurity matters.

With this program, Uruguay will improve the operational capabilities of the National Center for Responses to Computer Security Incidents (CERT.uy) through initiatives such as updating the technological tools for the analysis and management of cybersecurity events (acronym in Spanish), the expansion of the NGIPS intrusion detection system, the incorporation of a Big Data platform for the exchange of information with the private sector, and intelligent threat analysis tools.

It will also incorporate CERT.uy laboratory tools, as well as specialized services related to the installation and operation of Security Information Event Management (SIEM), research activities of emerging and innovative technologies, such as artificial intelligence and cryptography to identify threats and optimize answers.

Likewise, the program will support talent identification and acquisition efforts, especially project managers specialized in cybersecurity and technical specialists.

On the other hand, the program will promote the use of advanced technology for human resources training, through a cyber-attacks simulation platform with multiple scenarios and an e-Learning platform that will facilitate capacity-building activities, as well as the dissemination of knowledge on cybersecurity policies, methodologies and international standards.

Overall, the program will strengthen the cybersecurity knowledge ecosystem, supporting the development of a cybersecurity curriculum, both at a technical as well as undergraduate and graduate levels. It will promote the training of cybersecurity instructors and will support the creation of a national network of experts with active international links, which among other activities will promote the incorporation of women into the field of cybersecurity.

The beneficiaries of this program will be the general population, private sector companies and public entities, all of which will benefit from better protected digital spaces as well as the five public and private universities in the country that will introduce cybersecurity as part of their academic offering.

In addition, the private sector will benefit from a greater market of cybersecurity professionals; furthermore, the country’s ICT business sector in particular will be able to benefit from having Uruguay stand out as an advanced cybersecurity country with an offer of professionals and services that can meet regional needs. The program is also expected to increase female participation in cybersecurity related actives and careers.

Caribbean News Global digital_talent_e IDB approves Uruguay's first cybersecurity credit: Explores the potential of bootcamps

Meanwhile a new publication of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) entitled “Disrupting Talent: The Emergence of Coding Bootcamps and the Future of Digital Skills”, explores the potential of bootcamps as a fast and effective alternative to solve the shortage of digital talent in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The bootcamps are intensive training programs in digital technologies, with an approximate duration of three to six months, which are being offered by innovative startups in the educational field, either for the updating and retraining of workers, or as an alternative or complement for young people who they look for technical and university courses. These programs offer training in programming, data science, web design, cybersecurity, among others and can encourage the development of quality jobs in high value-added industries.

Recent reports, such as the Global Innovation Barometer 2018, indicate that there is a widespread concern among business leaders about the shortage of human capital with the digital skills necessary to support digital transformation and innovation in companies. Compared to traditional education systems, bootcamps offer high-quality technical training updated to technological dynamics, relevant to the market and at relatively accessible costs. In addition, graduates of bootcamps are very well received by employers.

In the United States, more than 70 percent of companies that have hired bootcamp graduates are satisfied with their performance, and 99 percent say they plan to continue hiring them.

“The bootcamps are making high-tech skills and jobs cease to be a monopoly for highly trained engineers or mathematicians, opening the possibility of a career in technology to individuals with few or no antecedents of technological education,” says Juan Carlos Navarro, IDB Specialist in the Division of Competitiveness, Technology and Innovation and co-author of the study with Alison Cathles.

In 2018, bootcamp providers are already more than 300, with an estimated revenue of $240 million worldwide. However, its presence in Latin America and the Caribbean is still limited, although some providers are offering their courses online in the region. Only two of the first 50 bootcamps included in the Switch Up Ranking are in the region, with classroom courses in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.

The study highlights that, to promote bootcamps and respond to the challenge of the shortage of digital skills, governments can reduce obstacles to future students through financial aid; develop public-private partnerships to address the shortage of digital talent through bootcamps; and increase the accessibility and possibility of entering bootcamps, through more basic training programs through formal education, among other actions.

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