Huawei and JKUAT program seeks to address network technology skills shortage in Kenya

With ICT playing an increasingly significant role in Kenya’s public and private sectors, the dearth of specialized technicians to manage the infrastructure has become more evident. Network technology in particular, is constantly changing and, as a result, changing the way people live and do business. Computer network technicians and systems engineers remain the most sought-after ICT professionals in Africa.

To address the demand for professionals trained to set up and run the networks, the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology’s (JKUAT) has taken up the initiative to introduce a niche curriculum designed to enable students to obtain industry-level training directly at the university.

(TOP: JKUAT Deputy VC Prof Robert Kinyua – far left – poses with students and faculty when the institution officially launched the Datacomm network engineers training program. Looking on is Huawei Deputy CEO for Public Affairs Fiona Pan on the far right).

Known as Datacomm, the certification program that will be run in partnership with global IT and telecoms infrastructure firm Huawei, is expected to scale up the number of professionals that can competently manage the highly sophisticated and sensitive equipment.

JKUAT Deputy VC Prof Robert Kinyua said at the official commencement of the course that the training is a deliberate effort by the university to integrate teaching, research and innovations to spur development of students and both public and private sector partners.

“We have started off with an initial cohort of 100 students signaling a strong beginning that will see the institution significantly raise the number of specialized graduates who will have definite industry knowledge gained from practicing with organizations such as Huawei,” Prof Kinyua explained.

Prof Kinyua added that as Kenya kicks off exploring the use of 5G network technologies, data gains prominence as a public interest issue and organizations shift to using data centers, there is an urgent need to align university training with industry needs. The Datacomm program, offered though JKUAT’s Department of Information Technology, is one of such initiatives that are designed to achieve this alignment.

Huawei Deputy CEO Public Affairs Fiona Pan, noted that the course content is designed to help trainees gain the knowledge and skills needed for the future of intelligent IP networks. ICT is driving the adoption of network infrastructure among various enterprises. With the evolution in the communication space and emergence of new technologies including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT), the need for new highly developed network infrastructure has grown significantly. Certified professionals will be able to plan, deploy, operate, maintain, and optimize networks in different scenarios, a key skillset for today and the near future.

“Collaboration between the training institutions and the industry players is one of the key ways to provide graduates with quality knowledge and skills that will enable them take up all the opportunities in the ICT Industry,” said Fiona, adding that globally, the firm intends to train and certify 150,000 Datacom engineers in the next three years to increase the size of the Datacom network talent ecosystem and shape the future of intelligent IP networks.


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