BCX brings Alibaba Cloud Academy to SA

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 06 Oct 2023
BCX CEO Jonas Bogoshi.
BCX CEO Jonas Bogoshi.

Telkom subsidiary BCX, in partnership with Chinese multinational cloud company Alibaba Cloud, has expanded the Alibaba Cloud Academy to SA, to upskill youth and C-level executives in cloud computing.

This was revealed yesterday by BCX CEO Jonas Bogoshi, during an interview with ITWeb, at BCX’s headquarters in Centurion, Gauteng.

Alibaba Cloud Academy provides over 130 online and in-person certification courses that prepare customers, partners and developers to tackle cloud solutions with Alibaba Cloud products.

Taught by instructors with technical expertise, the academy offers a new generation of cloud computing training, including machine learning, DevOps, big data, virtualisation, storage, application modernisation, cloud migration and cloud security.

According to Bogoshi, the expansion of the academy to SA forms part of the newly-signed exclusive deal between BCX and Alibaba Cloud, to offer the Africa Local Public Cloud service locally, to enhance the technology capabilities of enterprises across the continent, with low latency and high efficiency.

Alibaba Cloud bills itself as the largest cloud computing company in China and Asia Pacific, operating data centres in 85 availability zones across 28 regions globally.

Before opening the academy to the local public, BCX introduced the training initiative internally, upskilling over 200 BCX employees, to ensure they increase their agility and adaptability in relation to cloud skills, noted Bogoshi.

“Once the training was done, we realised we needed to go beyond training our workforce, and there are three key areas which we are focusing on. The first is training our customers and partners to understand the Alibaba Cloud – there are many tools that can be used to develop applications and many other things that one can take advantage of, in terms of cloud capabilities.

“Secondly, we are talking to a number of higher learning educational institutions, and two have agreed to take on the Alibaba Cloud training courses and include them in their curriculum for third-year students. This agreement still has to go through a process to be signed and approved,” he explained.

According to Bogoshi, there is a gap between what students learn in tertiary education and the work they are expected to conduct in the real world of the ICT sector. The collaboration between higher learning institutions and the Alibaba Cloud Academy seeks to bridge that chasm, he noted.

Thirdly, BCX envisions upskilling South African youth on a broad scale, to help combat the high youth unemployment level, while plugging the ICT skills gap in SA, he continued.

Many of the Alibaba training programmes are agnostic, allowing participants to understand all types of cloud and not only Alibaba-focused courses, he pointed out.

“The Alibaba training programmes have many courses, with some that target young people, so we would like to have as many people as possible participate in these, for them to have the concept of cloud computing for the continent’s digital economy. The BCX-Alibaba Academy team are conceptualising the training programmes, which will either come at a low cost or free of charge.”

The academy also has a big focus on training C-suite executives in cloud, as they are the decision-makers around strategic decisions on technology deployments, he said.

Jan Bouwer, chief solutions officer at BCX, noted that the growth of Africa’s cloud sector, propelled by hyperscalers entering the market, is leading to a talent war for cloud computing skills.

To create a pipeline of tech skills, BCX is developing a delivery centre where young graduates will come in, receive training and work with BCX clients.

“What we have observed is that the younger graduates who are coming in are very quick to understand and grasp new technologies, such as the cloud; better so than our older executives.

“We've been able to seamlessly train them on the new Alibaba platform to build our new products in a short period of time. And we will continue to train more with time,” added Bouwer.