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SA’s Digital Geekaship looking for next generation of developers

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Andela, codeX and Moringa School may get all the credit for pioneering coding schools in Africa, but in fact someone got there first in 2014.

Tania van Wyk De Vries, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of South African software development and training company Infoware Studios, launched Digital Geekaship in 2014, frustrated by the level of technical skills of students coming out of tertiary institutions.

“The gap we’ve experienced in the market is the knowledge and skill level of the IT graduates coming out of tertiary institutions and what businesses require from young tech upstarts embarking on their future of work,” she told Disrupt Africa.

“This skills gap is widening and we need to work with all the stakeholders in this value chain to improve the quality of education, access to skills, awareness of tech as a work choice and help businesses innovate and iterate faster with having the right people at the right skill level.”


Another goal of Digital Geekaship is to reverse the outsourcing trend to countries such as India.

“Not only is it good for job creation, it shows a commitment to developing local talent which ultimately uplifts whole communities and has a positive effect on the economy,” van Wyk De Vries said.

Digital Geekaship is an annual internship programme designed to fast track the growth path of graduates by upskilling them on the latest technologies, methodologies and soft skills, enabling them to work on real-world development projects and connecting them to potential employers.

Applications for the 2017 programme are open now to all graduates until October 30, with successful applicants to gain access to a free programme covering agile software development using the Scrum methodology., technical software development skills, end-to-end manual functional testing and business analysis.

According to van Wyk de Vries, South Africa’s tertiary institutions have curricula that are out of touch with what the workplace requires. With the rate of change and pace of innovation in the ICT sector, the skills gap is widening rather than closing.

It isn’t a totally social venture for Infoware Studios, however, which is profitable and seeing growing revenues. Companies outsource software development projects to Digital Geekaship on a commercial basis for the interns, trainers and mentors to work on, which van Wyk de Vries said helps with provide students with real work experience and introduces them to a network of companies.

“The programme is also a talent pool for organisations who are looking to employ software developers, testers or business analysts. Or alternately a creative hub for like-minded techies who want to pursue an entrepreneurial career,”
she said.

At the moment, the programme’s focus is on South Africa, but it takes a global view.

“We are expanding our partner network to Sweden and the USA this year with a view to securing commercial work for our interns to get on-the-job training, and through this we get to showcase the exceptional software development skills of South Africans to other parts of the world,” van Wyk de Vries said.

“Our current plan is to open offices in other African countries in 2018 and preceding that next year we’ll offer an online programme that will help people that aren’t able to attend the programme in Gauteng.”

Source Disrupt Africa

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