Computer skills, mainly programming have become attractive and highly lucrative in the world we are living in now. Global tech corporations and many other tech-related companies, including those that offer financial (fintech) services, seek exceptional talent to heighten the offerings of their products and services. And when they are not firing people, these companies have become a natural go-to working place for skilled people who want to apply themselves, while getting paid handsomely for it.
Also, the computer revolution has also seen a lot of changes over the years. At the start, colleges did not offer computer science or engineering courses. The pioneers were basically very talented people from different industries, including engineering, arts, and even music. However, as the computer boom became a force, colleges around the globe, including in Kenya, started offering computer science-related courses. The courses continue to be honed to date to meet market demands.
However, has that happened in Kenya, yet? It is possible that computer engineering and science courses have remained untouched ever since they were introduced in Kenyan universities and colleges, save for a few exceptions. This setback, if you look at it that way, is something that needs to change, and Microsoft through its engineering arm the Africa Development Centre thinks so.
According to the ADC, it will be collaborating with Kenyan technology universities to review their curriculums and make them more relevant to industry needs as the centre ramps up its digital skilling efforts in the country.
One of the institutions it will be partnering with is JKUAT. A statement from ADC states that the two will review the Computer Science degree programme. The curriculum review programme will also be extended to other technical universities that have expressed interest.
The ADC is working towards their goal of supporting the Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa, which seeks to utilize technology and innovation to modernize African communities and economies by 2030. One aspect of this effort is addressing the lack of fundamental software engineering skills among university students during technical interviews. This initiative aligns with the Kenyan government’s plan to establish the country as a leader in the digital workforce through their Digital Superhighway program.
The Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa aims to provide a massive online e-skills development program to 100 million Africans per year by 2021, and 300 million per year by 2025, to provide basic knowledge and skills in digital security and privacy. The initiative is led and owned by African institutions and is intended to be embedded in African realities while unleashing the African spirit of enterprise and creativity to generate homegrown digital content and solutions while embracing what is good and relevant.
“The ADC is running multiple initiatives to improve the tech talent pipeline starting from primary school all the way to working to improve the skills of practicing professionals. As part of the skilling drive, the ADC is looking to improve tech-based curricular within local institutions of higher learning so as to reduce the skills gap between classrooms and the workplace,” says Irene Githinji, the ADC’s Student & Education Engagement Program Manager.