Nigeria Urgently Needs 500, 000 Data Specialists

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The Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC) has emphasized the critical need for over 500,000 data protection officers in Nigeria to address the current skills shortage in the sector. Dr. Vincent Olatunji, NDPC’s National Commissioner, highlighted this urgency in a statement made on Monday in Abuja.

The Commissioner welcomed the recent decision by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) to unbundle the HND Computer Science course, dividing it into four specialized areas. These areas include artificial intelligence, networking and cloud computing, software and web development, and data protection.

“I am glad that this is coming at this time because it is like giving credence to what we are doing and identifying the areas we need to focus on. There is a deficit of manpower in these areas, and in an area like data protection, we need a minimum of 500,000 data protection officers. The certified ones in the country are not more than 10,000, hence the dire need for experts in the area to bridge the skills gap,” stated Dr. Olatunji.

The NDPC is actively engaged in establishing a collaborative platform among trainers, pinpointing specific institutions such as universities and polytechnics for the training of data protection officers.

Emphasizing the alignment of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy’s strategic pillars with the development of artificial intelligence, Olatunji stressed the necessity to update existing curricula to adhere to global best practices for increased competitiveness. He expressed the commission’s readiness to collaborate with NBTE to achieve this important goal.

This move to address the skills gap aligns with the NDPC’s ongoing initiatives, including opening applications for the Code4Privacy hackathon. This event underscores the commission’s commitment to fostering innovation and expertise in the data protection landscape, emphasizing the practical application of knowledge in real-world scenarios.

With the rapid digitization of various sectors in Nigeria, the call for more data protection officers is not only timely but crucial for ensuring the security and integrity of sensitive information.

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