Tech Skills: A Beacon of Hope for Tackling Youth Unemployment, Expert Advocates

In the midst of escalating unemployment rates in Nigeria, an insightful recommendation has emerged from Anuoluwapo Olawuyi, a seasoned Cybersecurity Analyst. Olawuyi advocates for the profound impact that acquiring technology skills could have on addressing the rampant issue of youth unemployment within the country. Highlighting a practical timeline, he suggests that with dedication, it could take an individual merely three to six months to acquire fundamental technology skills, thereby opening doors to paid internship opportunities.

The critical situation of youth unemployment, according to Olawuyi, is indeed a challenge; however, it’s one that can be overcome with strategic action, particularly for those who are open to venturing into the tech industry. “The journey towards acquiring tech skills is less daunting than many might think. A wealth of resources are available, often free of charge,” Olawuyi revealed. He further shared, “Much of the knowledge I possess today was gleaned from YouTube—a valuable resource at the inception of my career and beyond.”

Olawuyi’s experience underscores the high demand and lucrative opportunities that certain tech skills can offer. He pointed out that emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) are set to spur job creation across various sectors, including engineering, management, and healthcare, hence balancing out potential job declines in other areas.

Reflecting on his journey, Olawuyi shared, “I started my career in web development before transitioning to cybersecurity. This shift required me to continually evolve and enhance my skill set. It’s imperative for the youth to understand that the outset of this journey demands sacrifice, but the long-term benefits are immensely rewarding.”

Recent data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) illuminates a silver lining, revealing a reduction in Nigeria’s unemployment rate to 4.1 per cent in the second quarter of 2023, a significant decrease from the daunting 33 per cent reported in 2020.

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), under the stewardship of Kashifu Abdullahi, plays a pivotal role in championing the acquisition of tech skills among Nigerians. Nearly a million Nigerians have been trained in digital skills through NITDA’s diverse initiatives, including the NITDA Coursera scholarship cohort designed to equip approximately 8,000 Nigerians with high-demand digital skills. Another noteworthy initiative is the ‘Digital For All Challenge 2.0’, aimed at broadening digital literacy throughout Nigeria. Additionally, with an ambitious goal to train 1 million software developers within 18 months, NITDA is earnestly working towards constructing a robust talent strategy that addresses both the demand and supply of technology skills.

Olawuyi emphasizes the importance for the youth to gear themselves towards seizing these opportunities facilitated by government initiatives aimed at fostering tech skills acquisition. Efforts such as the IDEAS project, the #3MTT program, and the NITDA Coursera scholarship cohort are tailored to fortify technical and vocational education while training millions in the critical, high-demand digital skills.

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, equipping oneself with the requisite technology skills not only empowers individuals to navigate the complexities of the modern world but also positions them as valuable contributors in the fight against youth unemployment. The narrative presented by Olawuyi not only serves as a call to action for the youth but also highlights the transformative power of technology education in fostering sustainable economic growth and development.

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