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A Looming Digital Skills Problem in Kenya

A Looming Digital Skills Problem in Kenya

A recent study has revealed a concerning digital skills problem in Kenya. That, in an increasingly digital economy, Kenya lacks enough digital skills to meet the growing demand in the job market. According to a whitepaper by the Africa Center for Technology studies (ACTS), in partnership with Huawei and UNESCO, there may not be enough digital skills in the Kenyan job market to meet Kenya’s growing digital economy and ecosystem.

Here’s why this trend is quite alarming:

  • In recent times, the digital economy has grown to become one of the key drivers of the global economy.
  • Economic projections show by 2026, the digital economy will contribute up to 25% of the Gross Domestic Product globally. In Africa alone, it will account for over 5.2%.
  • By 2030, over 50% of jobs in the Kenyan market will require some level of digital skills to execute.
  • Kenya’s demand for digital skills in the job market is expected to be comparatively higher than other African countries.

All these, coupled with recent global events show that employment is and will be continually taking a digital shift globally. This means, the lack of ample digital skills in Kenya will cause many people to miss employment opportunities. In a country with high and rising unemployment rates, this gap needs to be filled urgently.

Several issues have led to the existing gap in digital skills, most of which are related to ICT academia. Let’s face it, the Kenyan education system is extremely theoretical. It is not uncommon to find holders of ICT-related academic credentials unaware about how to practically use their skills. In addition, there is minimal collaboration between universities and the industry.

What we can Do

The first step to resolving the looming digital skills predicament is bringing all key industry players together. And, afterwards, incentivizing their collaboration towards yielding an effective labor force. Learning institutions should also use more practical approaches to teaching ICT-related courses. In addition, the government should offer national and institutional support to coordinate establishment of meaningful institution-industry partnerships.

How Systech is Solving the Digital Skills Problem in Kenya

Be the change you want to see in the world – Mahatma Gandhi.

It is common for people to seek solutions externally. And, while the government and institutions of learning are the major players in imparting change in digital skills, everyone has a role to play. This is why, here at Systech, we took up the challenge to play our part through our internship program for fresh graduates.

In our work developing software solutions for the pension market in Africa, we realized one major challenge. The quality of software developers was not up to standard. This was majorly because of the highly theoretical approach to ICT academia, and a lack of market experience for fresh graduates. In addition, most companies hire their labor on the basis of experience. This means then, that a lot of fresh graduates are locked out of opportunities for career advancement.

Systech opened its program to fresh Computer Science graduates with an aim to make tech and digital gurus out of them.

What Interns Gain

In the course of their training, our interns gain:

  • Extensive training in Enterprise Software Development
  • Skills in software quality assurance
  • Coaching and mentorship in career and general life issues such as finance and investments

With all these, graduates are able to obtain meaningful career and life skills. These then enable them to transition easily into the job market. Systech retains some of its interns while others venture into other areas in the technology world.

There’s an old tale about a man on a beach shore. The tide had come and washed thousands of star fish on to the shore and staying there ultimately meant they would die. So, a man came and was taking one star fish at a time, and throwing it back into the ocean. Another man came along and told him, “Why, there’s thousands of starfish, what you’re doing will hardly make a difference.” So, the man took one starfish and said, “There may be thousands of them, and I sure can’t save all of them,” Then threw the starfish into the water and said, “But I have saved this one.” Then he threw another one, and said, “And this one.” You can tell where this is going.

Just like the man on the shore, Systech is improving the digital skills pool, transforming the industry and changing lives one intern at a time.

Here’s a snippet of how Systech is transforming the digital skills landscape in Kenya.

A recent study has revealed a concerning digital skills problem in Kenya. That, in an increasingly digital economy, Kenya lacks enough digital skills to meet the growing demand in the job market. According to a whitepaper by the Africa Center for Technology studies (ACTS), in partnership with Huawei and UNESCO, there may not be enough digital skills in the Kenyan job market to meet Kenya’s growing digital economy and ecosystem.

Here’s why this trend is quite alarming:

  • In recent times, the digital economy has grown to become one of the key drivers of the global economy.
  • Economic projections show by 2026, the digital economy will contribute up to 25% of the Gross Domestic Product globally. In Africa alone, it will account for over 5.2%.
  • By 2030, over 50% of jobs in the Kenyan market will require some level of digital skills to execute.
  • Kenya’s demand for digital skills in the job market is expected to be comparatively higher than other African countries.

All these, coupled with recent global events show that employment is and will be continually taking a digital shift globally. This means, the lack of ample digital skills in Kenya will cause many people to miss employment opportunities. In a country with high and rising unemployment rates, this gap needs to be filled urgently.

Several issues have led to the existing gap in digital skills, most of which are related to ICT academia. Let’s face it, the Kenyan education system is extremely theoretical. It is not uncommon to find holders of ICT-related academic credentials unaware about how to practically use their skills. In addition, there is minimal collaboration between universities and the industry.

What we can Do

The first step to resolving the looming digital skills predicament is bringing all key industry players together. And, afterwards, incentivizing their collaboration towards yielding an effective labor force. Learning institutions should also use more practical approaches to teaching ICT-related courses. In addition, the government should offer national and institutional support to coordinate establishment of meaningful institution-industry partnerships.

How Systech is Solving the Digital Skills Problem in Kenya

Be the change you want to see in the world – Mahatma Gandhi.

It is common for people to seek solutions externally. And, while the government and institutions of learning are the major players in imparting change in digital skills, everyone has a role to play. This is why, here at Systech, we took up the challenge to play our part through our internship program for fresh graduates.

In our work developing software solutions for the pension market in Africa, we realized one major challenge. The quality of software developers was not up to standard. This was majorly because of the highly theoretical approach to ICT academia, and a lack of market experience for fresh graduates. In addition, most companies hire their labor on the basis of experience. This means then, that a lot of fresh graduates are locked out of opportunities for career advancement.

Systech opened its program to fresh Computer Science graduates with an aim to make tech and digital gurus out of them.

What Interns Gain

In the course of their training, our interns gain:

  • Extensive training in Enterprise Software Development
  • Skills in software quality assurance
  • Coaching and mentorship in career and general life issues such as finance and investments

With all these, graduates are able to obtain meaningful career and life skills. These then enable them to transition easily into the job market. Systech retains some of its interns while others venture into other areas in the technology world.

There’s an old tale about a man on a beach shore. The tide had come and washed thousands of star fish on to the shore and staying there ultimately meant they would die. So, a man came and was taking one star fish at a time, and throwing it back into the ocean. Another man came along and told him, “Why, there’s thousands of starfish, what you’re doing will hardly make a difference.” So, the man took one starfish and said, “There may be thousands of them, and I sure can’t save all of them,” Then threw the starfish into the water and said, “But I have saved this one.” Then he threw another one, and said, “And this one.” You can tell where this is going.

Just like the man on the shore, Systech is improving the digital skills pool, transforming the industry and changing lives one intern at a time.

Here’s a snippet of how Systech is transforming the digital skills landscape in Kenya.

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