Jigmi Wangdi 

Around 70 participants are training on Linux administration and network or information security as part of the Bhutan Network Operators Group’s (btNOG) conference in Thimphu which began on October 14.

Speaking at the opening session, Information and Communications Minister Karma Donnen Wangdi said, “As we continue our journey towards transforming Bhutan’s digital society, we need to continue building the capabilities of our ICT professionals.”

“Communities such as btNOG are therefore, expected to play an important role in the skills enhancement of ICT professionals and provide an important forum for information exchange among network operators, engineers, and researchers,” he said.

The event focuses on conversations of mutual interest, exchanging technical information and learning, and discussing specific implementation issues.

btNOG comprises 10 volunteers who are working towards building Bhutan’s internet operators community, with professionals and engineers.

btNOG’s chairperson Manoj Adhikari said, “In Bhutan, usually the network operator group started with focusing and discussing on only the internet. However, we diversified from btNOG5. Simply put, the Linux administration system focuses on installed servers and network security is about keeping the internet secure.”

Manoj said that the topics or tracks of discussion for the btNOG workshops are chosen based on the results from a local survey and feedback from participants from the current conferences. These findings and feedback will decide the tracks for the next btNOG event.

“Let’s say that Bitcoin and cryptocurrency is getting popular here, if we feel that the community needs to know more about Bitcoin, then we bring international experts and impart knowledge on the topic,” he said.

Manoj said that btNOG encourages the IT community to participate. “It doesn’t specifically mean people who are working in IT-related fields. It can be a student who is studying IT. They can all be a part of this,” he said.

“It is all on a voluntary basis where volunteers can contribute to the growth of the IT community. We have no profit. They will be taken onboard through our fellowship, after which they may get opportunities to join our coordination team,” Manoj said. The volunteers could also be given opportunities to go abroad through the fellowship.

The btNOG is a part of the global NOG alliance. However, right now the coordination team is more focused on informing the IT community of the country on the functions of btNOG.

The next btNOG workshop and conference will be held in June 2023.