Experts decry lack of IT skills among new graduates

Director Data Infinity Tim Kitonyi (left) flanked by the company engineers during the Inaugural of IT Day in Nairobi on October 17, 2023. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Technology experts have decried a mismatch between skills and knowledge portrayed by new employees in the IT sector.

According to Tim Kitonyi, the chief executive of IT start-up Data Infinity, many organizations are struggling to hire good IT personnel.

This as it emerged that an estimated 60 percent of new staff lack practical skills despite possessing theoretical knowledge.

"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 spoke on Wednesday during the unveiling of the center at the firm's inaugural IT Day.

He noted that Kenya was particularly affected due to its positioning as a source of ICT workers for other African countries.

"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," Kitonyi noted.

To bridge the gap, the firm plans to train over 120,000 IT specialists by 2030; this, the firm notes, will cost Sh48 billion.

Currently, they indicate that estimates project that there are less than 5,000 IT professionals in Africa.

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.

The firm, Kitonyi said, will establishment of the first modern practical assessment centre in Nairobi has been designed to give human resource managers and chief technology officers an objective methodology for testing job seekers' practical knowledge.

The practical assessment will enable them to assess various ICT tasks and skills in areas such as coding, programming, system design, database management.

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