LISTEN | Social media, NSFAS account hacks led two graduates to pursue studies in cybersecurity

Gontse Motloung graduating from the Cyber Excellence Academy.
Gontse Motloung graduating from the Cyber Excellence Academy.
Image: Supplied

Two graduates from the Cyber Excellence Academy, Gontse Motloung and Teven Kunene, enrolled in the institution because they were once hacked online.  

The academy, together with Takenote IT Solutions, offers a free cybersecurity programme to address growing demand for cybersecurity professionals in South Africa. 

The programme runs for a year, and students learn about cybersecurity, providing them with the knowledge, skills and expertise necessary to thrive in the digital landscape.  

Speaking to TimesLIVE, Motloung said she studied engineering, but after her National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) account was hacked, she decided to enrol in the programme. 

“This is something that came after matric. I didn't study any IT-related courses.

“I studied mechanical engineering, specialising in automotive. This course is what introduced me to the world of cybersecurity and IT, also relating back to my experience with my Facebook account being hacked and fraudulent activities on my National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) account,” said Motloung.

Kunene said he grew sick of fraudsters getting away with crimes, and had a similar experience when his Facebook account was hacked.

Teven Kunene graduating from the Cyber Excellence Academy.
Teven Kunene graduating from the Cyber Excellence Academy.
Image: Supplied

“My Facebook account was hacked and I was so angry because I couldn't hack back. I wanted to find a way to hack back because this person was posting ridiculous stuff on my account

“I went through the journey of getting into programming. I did data science and then I did software engineering. However, there were no schools providing cybersecurity,” he said. 

CEO of Takenote IT Solutions Mamela Luthuli  said the programme is bridging the gap between education and employment. 

“We are solving the problem of unemployment in our country, empowering young people and assisting corporates with the skills they are looking for because there is a misalignment in our education system. We are producing the wrong skill sets that are not needed in the market,” said Luthuli. 

Stats SA released the unemployment figures for the first quarter, revealing graduate unemployment is at 11.8%.



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