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SISTEM one-on-one from Keyna, with Mr. Lewis Ng'ang'a, co-Founder of AfricaHackon: East Africa’s premier technical computer security collective - Part 2.

Lewis Ng'ang'a

Lewis (Gav Lesiah) Ng'ang'a:
Skills: OSINT, web and network exploitation, server administrator & chef
Superpower: OCD, fast learner & think tank
Past time Interests: research, research and more research

Q: Please tell us about yourself, education background and the career path that led you to Africahackon.

Ng'ang'a: My name is Lewis 'Gav' Ng'ang'a, I have been a information security consultant for the past 4 years. I studied Computer Science and majored in Software engineering. I started tinkering with tech way back in high school and as a natural progression I enjoyed breaking software more and some hardware too.

Q: Why Africahackon?

Ng'ang'a: AfricaHackOn was born out of passion for infosec, as two individuals [Bright and I ] as we shared what we envisioned to do in infosec. This later led to us getting more people on board whom we though would share our goal and what we wanted to achieve. Through this process we managed to get around 10 infosec professionals from various sectors of our economy. After which AfricaHackOn was born, currently we have around 21 members from different fields but with one goal in mind, grow information security.

Q: What are the challenges that Africahackon?

Ng'ang'a: The main challenges faced, is the minimal embrace by various sectors of our economy as they do not see the value of infosec to their organization. Also to add the skill level is still at it's infancy state but growing with time as AfricaHackOn recruits fresh blood from campus with passion and mentors them to growth in the infosec field.

Q: Africahackon is East Africa’s premier technical computer security collective. Any plans to offer services beyond East Africa to the rest of Africa?

Ng'ang'a: Yes, with time we do plan to expand to other countries beyond East Africa namely Ghana, and other regions as more opportunities come up.

Q: Nairobi in particular is positioning itself as one of the major tech hubs in Africa, how can other African cities emulate and follow this example?

Ng'ang'a:First, connectivity is of vital importance. Infrastructure related to internet connectivity and technical work needs to be built to support growth as a tech hub. Next, a lot of emphasis should be laid on the promotion of technical disciplines both in institutions of learning and in the industry. The youth should be encouraged to tackle challenges unique to their regions through the use of technology to further build on their collective skill. The leadership of these countries also need to provide an enabling environment by availing the resources both in infrastructure and financial support.

Q: In your opinion, what groups in Kenya are the most underrepresented in STEM? Secondly, what key steps should policy makers undertake to promote scientific literacy and STEM amongst these specific Science and Technology underrepresented groups?

Ng'ang'a:The groups most under-represented are the female gender and also people from the more remote areas of the country. The reason is usually due to social norms and cultural influences in the case of the female gender. For those in remote areas, it's usually a case of lack of enough exposure to STEM disciplines and also inadequacy of resources on their region. To promote scientific literacy and STEM among these groups, policy makers should ensure school curriculum lay a lot more emphasis on these disciplines. They should also strive to open up opportunities career wise to provide more incentives to these groups in taking up STEM.

Q: Finally, please share a few words of wisdom and advice for students and entrepreneurs, young and old, who aspire to study and enter the field of STEM or related STEM disciplines such as business, economics, or medicine, just to mention a few

Ng'ang'a: Be passionate, be curious love what you do.

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