New facility to test ICT workers' practical skills in Africa

From left, Data Infinity Director Data Infinity Tim Kitonyi, eLearning and Development Institute Kenya School of Government Deputy Director Vera Obonyo and Information Security at ICT Authority Kenya School of Government Philip Irode during the Inaugural of IT Day in Nairobi in Nairobi. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

A modern practical assessment center seeking to improve the quality of ICT workers hired across public and private sector organizations has been unveiled.

The center will offer human resource managers and chief technology officers a reliable way of evaluating job seekers' practical knowledge and skills in various ICT domains, such as coding, programming, system design, database management, and more.

The facility was launched by Data Infinity, a leading provider of enterprise ICT systems, focused training and cyber security solutions in the region.

The firm's CEO Tim Kitonyi said that the center was a response to the major gap between the practical skills and theoretical knowledge of many ICT workers in the region.

He cited a study by his firm that estimated that 60 per cent of new hires lacked the required practical skills and knowledge to perform their ICT tasks and assignments effectively.

Kitonyi said that this resulted in high training costs and delays in implementing critical IT solutions for many organizations.

He added that Kenya was especially affected by this challenge, as it was a source of ICT workers for other African countries due to its reputation as the 'Silicon Savannah'.

"Kenya has a thriving tech ecosystem, digitally skilled talent, geographical positioning endowment, and ICT centric public policies. These factors have elevated the country in the region, and as such attract regional and international attention, capital, networks and resources. However, one of the biggest challenges that many organizations face is the struggle to hire good IT people," explained Kitonyi.

He noted that there were less than 5,000 IT professionals in Africa, and that meeting the demand for 120,000 specialised IT professionals would require an investment of Sh48 billion by the year 2030.

"This challenge stems from the fact that apart from the paper certificates, there are no practical platforms to establish the capabilities of new hires. That is why we have invested heavily in attaining the necessary training and certification requirements so that we can contribute effectively to the overall growth of home-grown IT talent," said Kitonyi.

He also said that Data Infinity had partnered 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.

Kitonyi noted that Africa had always had the advantage of being able to leapfrog technology progress and utilize the latest available systems.

"We are confident that our new practical assessment center will help bridge the gap between theory and practice in ICT hiring and ensure that our clients get the best talent for their needs," he added.

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