A regional ICT solutions firm has set in motion the process of improving the quality of ICT workers hired across public and private sector organizations following the establishment of the first modern practical assessment center in Nairobi.
The new facility, based at the firm’s head office and training center in Kenya’s capital, has been designed to give human resource managers and chief technology officers an objective methodology for testing job seekers’ practical knowledge of various ICT tasks and assignments by measuring a candidate’s ability to meet specific job requirements and assess their skills in areas such as coding, programming, system design, database management among others.
(TOP: Data Infinity CEO Tim Kitonyi – left – explains how the new practical assessment facility works to Kenya School of Government Deputy Director Vera Obonyo and Philip Irode – right – ICT Authority Deputy Director Information and Security when the firm formally announced its launch).
Speaking when he officially unveiled the center at the firm’s inaugural IT Day, Data Infinity CEO Tim Kitonyi explained that there was a major gap estimated at 60 per cent of new hires in the practical skills and theoretical knowledge many ICT workers displayed at the point of being recruited.
“This has led to much investment in additional training costs and in some cases loss of crucial time to institute critical IT solutions for these organizations,” said Kitonyi.
He noted that Kenya was particularly affected due to its positioning as a source of ICT workers for other African countries. Kenya, he added, has acquired the status of a regional leader within East Africa with its position as the ‘Silicon Savannah’.
This elevated status, noted Kitonyi, is as a result of a number of advantages including a thriving tech ecosystem, digitally skilled talent, geographical positioning endowment, and ICT centric public policies. According to Kitonyi, many organizations contend with, is the struggle to hire good IT people. In software for instance, there is a saying that the market glutted. But for other industry players, it is a classic problem of signal to noise ratio. The real problem is not that there isn’t a large pool of talented software engineers; it’s that they’re hard to identify amongst the even larger pool of mediocre engineers.
With industry estimates projecting that there are less than 5,000 IT professionals in Africa, Data Infinity has invested heavily in attaining the necessary training and certification requirements so that the firm can contribute effectively to the overall growth of home-grown IT talent. Meeting the demand for 120,000 specialized IT professionals requires an investment of Kshs 48 billion by the year 2030.
This challenge stems from the fact that in apart from the paper certificates, there are no practical platforms to establish the capabilities of new hires
“Kenya boasts of dedicated government ministries, authorities and programs along with the existence of widespread digital infrastructure. These fundamentals have elevated the country in the region, and as such attracts regional and international attention, capital, networks and resources and leads to several organizations looking for talent here,” explained Kitonyi.
The firm is cognizant that Africa has always had the advantage of the ability to leapfrog technology progress to utilize the latest available systems. Fortunately, in addition to education interest in IT education, across the industry Data Infinity has developed local capacity through partnership with global technology leaders such as Oracle, Red Hat and Acronis to deliver cutting edge enterprise ICT systems, focused training and cyber security solutions respectively.
Available research data shows that Africa’s demand for software solutions that address enterprise-wide issues is estimated at 10 percent annually between 2022 and 2032. Kitonyi pointed out that the need for data insights, customer analyses, and all kinds of business processes have strongly increased due to digitization and data that is collected across organizations.