IT graduates in the office need coaching

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There is an urgent and growing need to replenish available technical skills within
the country’s ICT sector - and more is required to help those entering the field to
establish a foothold within an ever-competitive market.

This refers specifically to the lack of administration and development skills on
the IBM product stack (incorporating Notes, Domino and Websphere), Microsoft
SharePoint, .NET, amongst others.

Jason Smit, Director - Microsoft Technologies at Ukuvuma Solutions says the
situation is exacerbated by the difficulty in training up junior staff and interns.

The company is an employer of choice in its industry and its approach is based
on encouraging all employees to excel and to embrace their passion to entrench their
careers.

"It takes a lot of time from senior staff members to assist, coach, train and
mentor junior members of staff. The situation is also a challenge to manage because
the nature of IT is that there are always tight deadlines that require input from
senior-level staff, so time is certainly not a luxury,' he explains.

According to Smit the issue of skills development, effective recruitment and
application in the workplace is compounded by what he suggests is a lack of ability
amongst learners to enter the job market and immediately utilise their theory.

"It is not only a matter of a shortage of practical technical experience, but also
of misguided expectation,' he continues. "Very few of these individuals actually
understand anything more than the very bare minimum and basics of the technology
at hand, and only the very few that actually take the time to work long hard hours
at home applying the theory come out of their studies being able to code or
understand the technology.'

"A lot of these youngsters expect to complete their studies, walk into a job and be
able to do the job. This comes as a huge shock to them when they start with their
first job and realise that they actually are not able to code and really don’t
understand anything more than the basics,' Smit adds.

Although Ukuvumu Solutions acknowledges there is no silver bullet solution to
what is essentially a global problem, Smit does advise those wanting to enter the ICT
sector to apply theory as quickly and consistently as possible while studying - and
ensure they have a thorough grasp of what has been taught.

He adds that institutions that offer IT training should include more practical
training and the opportunity for learners to gain early "hands-on’ experience.

Ukuvuma Solutions,is an established South African provider of ICT solutions and
support to the engineering, mining and construction, financial and manufacturing
markets.

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