Building Up Scarce IT Skills

Accessing scarce and much needed developing and testing IT skills in the market has always been a challenge. For this reason we launched our mentoring and intern program over ten years ago.

We often found that there was a wide disconnect between IT qualifications on paper and applicants actual skill set when put to the test. Our tertiary IT institutions are often churning out IT students who are not fit for purpose.

What’s more we find this, “canned learning” at tertiary institutions to be a global phenomenon and not just a local problem.

At SYSPRO head office we run an intern program every two years where we take 10-12 tertiary students out of university and pair them up with a senior developer for mentoring over a six month period. We find there is a direct correlation between student’s math skills and their coding ability and so expect applicants to have achieved at least a 60 percent maths mark in their matric finals.

Some developers at other companies spend years working on run – of – the – mill solutions like financial software for example which can be repetitive and limiting. Our young interns need opportunities to develop and grow and we give them the chance to learn many types of new software including working on the latest innovative technologies like mobile and machine learning. In order to access quality graduates SYSPRO has also partnered with Belgium Campus, a local tertiary IT university, and offers graduates from there internships to further build up the IT skills pool.

Our interns – in fact all our development staff – have the opportunity to work with our most experienced developers on a range of software. Our interns and developers enjoy working with other developers as it stretches them and encourages them to excel and grow. For example sometimes our testers want to learn to develop and vice versa and we encourage this.

As an example SYSPRO run a ‘Skunkworks’ program allowing virtually anyone to put their hand up and be involved with a wide range of projects across a broad spectrum of topics. Most of these ‘Skunkworks’ projects are aimed at solving challenges in a creative way but still requiring a practical outcome.

Of our total pool of developers at SYSPRO we have trained over 44 percent of them within the company and despite the high IT skilled staff churn rate at most IT companies we have found that the majority of them are still with us.

Creating skilled, innovative and engaged IT staff is just one of our passions at SYSPRO.

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