Connectivity solutions provider D-Link has announced its intention to reinforce its partner training and certification initiatives in Middle East and Africa (MEA) in order to address a growing demand for skilled IT professionals in the region.
Sakkeer Hussain, Director for Sales and Marketing at D-Link in Middle East and Africa (MEA), said finding and retaining technology talent to maintain growth remains one of the key challenges in 2018 even as the region's IT sector has gradually moved from a nascent to a more mature stage.
"The IT transformation initiatives currently underway in the Middle East and Africa are underlining all initiatives and the concept of social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC) is driving skills demand and many agendas as companies look to maximise their business offerings. To address some of the challenges that organisations face today, channel partners will have to be highly skilled and demonstrate domain expertise in the verticals they serve."
Areas that lack
Hussain adds that there appears to be a lack of quality and a shortage of expertise in areas that include professionals such as business intelligence specialists, enterprise and solutions architects, applications product managers, network managers and database developers.
"This year, given the prevailing business climate, we have decided to enhance the technical supports to channel partners as a way of helping them to navigate the difficult market conditions," he said.
"Along with this, we are strengthening our training programmes for resellers so that they can be fully equipped to implement solutions and help in alleviating the IT skills crunch currently being experienced by many organisations (big or small) in the region."
The latest results of the annual skills survey by the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE), released in November 2017, noted that the increasing reach of high speed broadband networks supports the growth of ICT related activities in regions such as Africa, "...which are proving to be cost-effective locations for the infrastructure required by the explosion in innovative technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IOT), big data/data analytics, cloud services and cryptocurrencies".
Hussain said IT skills around cloud and its offerings like (IaaS, SaaS and PaaS), on-premise-to-cloud migration and management of cloud infrastructure are skills that are in demand at the moment.
He believes the IT industry should invest more in the local market talent and should also have a larger pool of locally present talent rather than depending heavily on skills from outside the region to execute projects.
"Because the IT spend in the cloud space is increasing vastly compared to traditional IT, this is fuelling demand of skilled resources to manage the delivery of cloud services."
Two weeks ago global ICT firm Huawei hosted an award ceremony for winners of the Huawei ICT Skill Competition in Southern Africa, which the company organised in the region for the first time. Universities across various countries took part, including South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria.
Students from Ghana and South Africa won first prize in the Enterprise Network and Enterprise Cloud categories, respectively.
Michael Meng Services Director of Huawei Enterprise Business Group for the Southern Africa Region said building a pool of high quality ICT talent is a critical success factor for governments aiming to transition to knowledge-based economies.
"The platform has demonstrated beyond a doubt that the young talent in Sub-Saharan Africa has the potential to mature into world-class experts. Today, we re-dedicate ourselves to working even more closely with students across the region to better equip the next generation of technology leaders."
SqwidNet has also announced it would conduct a technology competition for university students although this will be limited to South Africa only. The competition will challenge students to develop and create projects focused on building solutions that make use of SqwidNet / SIGFOX technology.
Phathizwe Malinga, Acting CEO of SqwidNet says the African market is ripe with opportunities.
"Statistics show that the IOT market opportunity for the Middle East and Africa region is poised to grow by 10% CAGR from US$85.1 billion in 2017 to US$114.4 billion by 2020. Meaning - the market is ripe with opportunities and these young students and graduates from across the country are welcome to submit the ideas for their projects focusing on environmental and animal protection, energy, health, transportation, and any other areas of sustainable development."