GUEST ESSAY: AntiguaRecon – A call to train and promote the next generation of cyber warriors

By Adam Dennis

Imagine being a young person who wants a career, of whatever type you can find, as a cybersecurity professional.

Related: Up-skilling workers to boost security

Although you were born with an agile and analytical mind, you have very limited financial resources and few, if any, connections that can open doors to your future ambitions.


If you were born in a country such as the US, Canada or the UK, you might have a wider range of options despite your financial limitations.  But if you are born in Antigua, which is a small Caribbean island way out in the Atlantic, your options can be quite limiting.  Even if you managed to get a range of certifications which show that you have some skills, finding a job in your field is extremely unlikely because the market is so small and undeveloped.

High concept

Now enter AntiguaRecon which was created to teach a group of young Antiguans cybersecurity skills so that it could offer cybersecurity services around the region and in the US, Canada, and elsewhere.  It is not enough to just educate the students.  Our proof of concept will come when we get them jobs too.

The founder, Adam Dennis (that’s me!), has experience running training organizations directed at young people AND a lot of experience running startups.  In the late 1990s (yes, that long ago), I created a youth training program called YouthLink that worked with at-risk youth in Washington, DC. The program operated for five years and was covered by the Washington Post and a number of other news outlets.  Over my career, I have created three non-profits and two SaaS for profits, one of which I sold in 2005.

AntiguaRecon has been operating since early last year and has trained 14 students averaging in age of around 20 years old.  Since cybersecurity is a massive field, and broad skill building can be an even bigger challenge, the program has focused on web attacks and simulated phishing training, since these vulnerabilities are common in this region.

The program would not have been possible were it not for volunteer cybersecurity mentors from around the world.  We have mentors from Canada, the US, Argentina, Dubai, India, and Antigua.  Senior talent is critical since they give perspective that our young students wouldn’t otherwise have.

Critical support has also been provided by a local school called Island Academy, who raised the funds to start the program and supplies classroom space for face-to-face learning.  Island Academy’s founder, Bernadette Sherman, has been hugely supportive from the start.

Pairing plan

2023 is THE critical year.  The organization is educating its next group of students supported by “seniors” from the previous year who are paired 1-on-1 with a partner.  The purpose of this model is to build teamwork and depth.  The expectation is that we will have sufficient depth of knowledge to begin offering limited web attack and simulated phishing skills by mid-year.

Our pairing model seeks to get a team built up and optimized as quickly as possible.  I did this with one of my previous jobs running Agile software teams and it worked quite well.  As it stands right now, we already have 2 potential customers that are waiting in the wings so things are looking up.

How can you help?  AntiguaRecon needs four things:

•Expert mentor support.  The key need at the moment are professionals who do social engineering, particularly with simulated phishing skills (and ideally with Gophish experience).

•Promotional support, such as what has been provided here (thank you!), so that they can get the word out about the project.

•Financial support to eventually secure a cyber security expert as a core trainer and senior for the service offerings.  This one is very important since potential customers will want to see a person at the center of the program with deep cybersecurity experience.

•Opportunities to secure nearshore customers in the US, Canada, and elsewhere.  Getting customers, especially a customer who sees the opportunity for them to build with us over time, is absolutely critical.  When we get our customers, we will deliver to our students a real hope for their future.

We will prove that their efforts were worth it, and we will establish an organization that can survive and continue training more students, not based on donations, but on the money earned by its graduates.  That’s the future we want, and it’s the future we are working towards.

Feel free to visit AntiguaRecon on LinkedIn, the web, or email me at

About the essayist: Adam Dennis the founder of AntiguaRecon.  Launched in January 2022,  this initiative provides cybersecurity training on the Caribbean Island nation of Antigua and Barbuda. The goal is to offer the services around the region and then as a near shore solution for the US and Canada, and offshore for other locations around the world.  

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