We recently talked with SCP Academy CEO Sotiris Pafitis. Sotiris talked to us about his company, the general field of professional training, interest in information technology in Cyprus, 5G technology, current trends, as well as his interest in Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technology. You can read the full interview below.
UBVIA: What does SCP Academy primarily aim to achieve?
Sotiris: SCP Academy keeps people and businesses competitive in this fast-changing technological world.
UBVIA: What made you want to get into the field of IT training? Did you notice any gaps in the market? Perhaps in terms of quality or variety of course availability?
Sotiris: As an IT engineer myself, with more than 15 years of experience in the industry, I noticed that there was a huge gap between someone’s university-acquired skills and their professional enterprise skills.
Further, due to the fast pace of technology evolution, many professionals and companies are having a hard time to adapt.
We wanted to address all of these issues.
“I noticed that there was a huge gap between someone’s university-acquired skills and their professional enterprise skills.”
UBVIA: Do you think Cypriots are interested in learning about IT?
Sotiris: Yes, Cypriots are very much into technology, especially younger professionals who want to quickly improve their career prospects and enhance their productivity. They are much more interested in ICT training courses.
UBVIA: Are your students mostly straight out of university and generally younger people or would you say they’re professionals who are already in the industry and want to develop their skills?
Sotiris: A large percentage of our students have a university degree, of course, but there is also a portion of them who do not have a degree at all.
Our professional training courses lead to certifications that are globally recognized and having them on your CV can help with your employment prospects.
However, if a student or a working professional, choose to have a university degree, we do have an option for that as well, as we do offer an online pathway to a degree.
Many trainees choose this pathway rather than physically attending a university as you can save up more than half of the cost when compared to studying at a traditional tertiary institution. Further, you can obtain your degree much faster.
UBVIA: How can Cyprus promote IT literacy and career-long IT skill development?
Sotiris: One way is for the existing governmental authority, the Human Resource Development Authority of Cyprus (HRDA), which has been authorizing many educational centers, to share this very goal: to promote ΙΤ skills and life-long IT training.
As an authorized educational center, our training courses are subsidized by HRDA, which means that employees in IT and Technology field are eligible to be trained and educated in those courses with a subsidy. Through this plan, unemployed individuals can also attend one select course free of charge.
UBVIA: There has been a lot of discussion on the adoption of 5G technology. What is your own opinion on this matter?
Sotiris: Technology is a tool that can be used to improve the quality of our lives. However, like anything that is used without limits or regulations, it can turn to be catastrophic for humanity and nature. Before adopting any technology or a new invention, some research must be conducted to investigate long-term impacts on nature and people. 5G is no exception to this.
“Before adopting any technology or a new invention, some research must be conducted to investigate long-term impacts on nature and people.”
UBVIA: Recently, there have been stories about the potential hacking of a government site. Do you think that governments are doing enough to protect themselves? As a sub-point to the above, do you think Cypriots take the necessary steps to protect themselves online?
Sotiris: As technology is constantly changing, improving, and transforming, we must invent new methods and technologies to prevent such incidents.
You can think of hack attack prevention like a real-life vaccine released for a virus. The virus can get stronger and be immune to the vaccine and hence being able to attack the host.
If we want to prevent future attacks, we need to be alert and use technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data in order to create more sophisticated but particularly more dynamic tools that can self-adapt and prevent such attacks.
“Better-trained employees can become the key measure of prevention against intruders and other malicious entities.”
To address your second point, we noticed that in Cyprus, even though we use technology a great deal, we are found lacking in terms of cybersecurity end-user awareness. Therefore, many companies with big and expensive infrastructure still manage to get infected with some sort of malware.
Throughout 2019 and carrying onto 2020, we have been investing in creating new end-user training courses for cybersecurity as we do believe that a company can be protected far better if their cybersecurity defense against various intruders is designed in such a way that the end-users themselves can identify a cyber attack or an attempt at one.
To put it more plainly, better-trained employees can become the key measure of prevention against intruders and other malicious entities.
UBVIA: What IT trends do you see dominating in the coming years?
Sotiris: We foresee that Virtual Reality (VR) will dominate the gaming and education industry, Augmented Reality (AR) will dominate the enterprise sector, and Internet of things (IOT) will continue its increased adoption both in consumer and enterprise products.
UBVIA: I know you have been involved with VR and AR for quite some time now. How are you involved and how do you plan to increase your involvement with these technologies?
As previously stated, I am a strong believer that these new technologies can have a great impact on both education and enterprise if used correctly.
“I am a strong believer that VR and AR can have a great impact on both education and enterprise if used correctly.”
They can tremendously increase knowledge transfer and skills not only to the students of an educational center but also in professionals who deal with many difficult or rare situations in the market.
We have already tested Augmented Reality in our training courses and the results were amazing. At the moment we are in the development phase and are testing on which courses, and specifically in which subjects, these technologies will have the most impact. Of course, this process takes time and more testing is needed.
UBVIA: Do you think Cypriots are engaged with VR and AR?
Sotiris: Well as with any market it needs time for people to accept new technology. People need time and perhaps even some external validation for them to truly see and understand the benefits. Cypriots are people who are quite comfortable with using new technologies and they tend to accept innovation, but always if they see the value and usefulness in it. So I expect their engagement with both technologies to increase very soon!
We thank Sotiris for his time and willingness to talk to us. We wish Sotiris and SCP Academy the best for the future.