Saturday, April 20, 2024

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Microsoft’s helping hand in Poland’s digital skills boom

Since the announcement of a billion-dollar investment in the development of the Polish Digital Valley, Microsoft has trained nearly 411,000 IT specialists, business representatives, partners, pupils and students. Among those trained, thanks to cooperation with the Information Society Development Foundation, over 60,000 people improved their skills in the area of ​​basic digital skills, and nearly 9,000 are trainers who can now help disadvantaged people learn about technology. The most popular among IT experts are training courses in the areas of cloud infrastructure, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.

“When we started the investment in the development of the Polish Digital Valley, we knew that technological knowledge and training for people from various backgrounds and professions would be crucial. However, we did not expect that in less than three years we would train nearly 411,000 people. Of these, over 60,000 are Microsoft customers, nearly 42,000 people represent partner companies, and as many as 17,000 are students,” said Dominika Bettman, general director of the Polish branch of Microsoft.

The number of certified cloud specialists in Poland is growing faster than in Italy, Spain and France. In Europe, only Germany, the UK and the Netherlands are ahead of Poland. Despite this, there is still a shortage of digital experts – Poland is 24% below the average of the Central and Eastern European region in this area. Generally, the number of IT professionals is 15% below average.

Areas related to cybersecurity and artificial intelligence enjoy the greatest interest. Despite the growing number of people trained and in training, Poland does not fare well in terms of the state of digitization across the entire society, according to in the Digital Poland report entitled “The state of digitization of Poland against the background of the region,” created on the basis of numbers from the Microsoft Digital Future Index. The data show that there is a low level of women’s activity in the technology sector (26% below average) and a smaller percentage of graduates studying information and communication technologies (24% below average) or graduates studying science (as much as 38% below average). Compared to other countries in Central and Eastern Europe, we are also worse off in terms of digital infrastructure (13% below the average), due among other things to no frequency auction for the 5G network.

mBank and ERGO Hestia invest in employees

mBank, one of the first banks in Poland that decided to use the public cloud, has been investing in people and their digital skills for years. In the bank, almost every second technical employee has benefited from cloud training. A Cloud Competence Center has also been established, where employees can develop cloud skills in many areas. Security and data protection, as well as compliance with market regulations, are of key importance to everyone in the organization.

“At mBank, the organizational culture is extremely important, one of the basic pillars of which is the continuous learning of employees and the development of technological skills. We are a bank that has been at the forefront of innovative solutions from the very beginning. We want top-class experts to work in our teams. We invest in their cloud skills and development in future directions, which ultimately also benefits us as an organization. Only in such a scenario are we able to ensure the organization’s resistance to continuous and sudden changes, and thus provide mBank’s customers with the best and constant service and adjust our products to their needs,” said Krzysztof Dąbrowski, COO at mBank.

The development of digital skills is of key importance for business development also in the insurance industry. The ERGO Hestia Group, which provides protection to over 3 million individual clients and several hundred thousand companies and enterprises annually, has been investing in innovations for years, which often pave the way for the entire sector.

“The strategy of the ERGO Hestia Group is based on two development forces which, in our opinion, will determine technological success in the future. They are Information Power and Community Power. Their synergy builds a market advantage and sets trends in technological development in the insurance industry. A step into the future is the migration of key IT systems to the public cloud as an accelerator of digital transformation,” said Bartosz Dołkowski, IT Managing Director and CIO of ERGO Hestia.

“The implementation of cloud services means a significant increase in system stability and flexibility in ordering computing power. It also shortens the delivery time of new products, which is especially important for our agents, brokers and clients. The cloud also allows you to reduce the number of failures and their duration and guarantee cost flexibility. We chose to use the Microsoft cloud services platform, which addresses most of our implementation challenges,” he added.

“The use of the public cloud means a significant change in the way infrastructure is managed. ERGO Hestia’s goal is to independently manage the new environment. It is mainly about the development of services, monitoring of basic parameters and settlements by building appropriate skills. ERGO Hestia has a Cloud Competence Center (CCC) area that takes care of maintaining and developing cloud solutions in the organization. We decided on a joint development program with Microsoft, certifying our IT team. Thinking about the future, we see the potential for our dynamic development in the Azure cloud,” said Dołkowski.

Cybersecurity training for women from Ukraine and Poland

One of the significant examples of training addressed to Ukrainian citizens is the CYBER Trainees educational course run by the Kościuszko Institute in cooperation with Microsoft. It aims to increase the accessibility of the technology sector to women and their professional inclusion. The aim of the program is to improve skills in the field of cyber security. The pilot was attended by 80 women, half Polish women and half Ukrainian citizens. As part of the training, the participants learned the basics of programming, cyber protection and blockchain technology.

“I liked the fact that women of Ukrainian nationality can participate in it free of charge and that it is run by practitioners. Poland is a beautiful country, I would like to find a job here in the future, to create the best possible living conditions for my son. Maybe he will become an IT specialist one day – it would be my dream come true,” said Tatiana Tkachenko, a participant of the CYBER Trainees program.