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Tech geeks invited to enter Talent Search competition

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The Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA) is running a Computer Talent Search across South African schools, to identify learners with information technology talent.

The Talent Search, a challenge run by the Computer Olympiad, which is an IITPSA programme, helps identify learners with computational skills.

The Talent Search is the South African version of the Bebras Contest, which attracts over two million participants from more than 50 countries across the globe each year.

Locally, it is a free programme that can be undertaken either online, or offline using pen and paper. The challenge is a series of puzzles tailored by age and grade, with five categories for learners ranging from Grade 4 Elementary to Grade 12 and Elite level.

By running the Talent Search at their schools, teachers can help learners discover that IT isn’t as intimidating as they may think, says the IITPSA.

Admire Gwanzura, president of the IITPSA, says careers in IT are interesting, rewarding and offer opportunities in a wide range of sectors. However, the global IT industry has skills shortages in many specialisations, meaning a skills pipeline of young IT professionals is urgently needed for organisations to progress into the fourth industrial revolution.

“Information technology has evolved and grown over the years. The growth of the sector has experienced an increase in opportunities for young professionals across many exciting areas, such as cyber security, app development, cloud computing, robotics, artificial intelligence and much more.

“With the right IT qualifications and skills, young South Africans can be the global leaders in technology and innovation. Unfortunately, many young people – especially girls and young women – are hesitant to study IT-related subjects, and this should be changing,” notes Gwanzura.

The Talent Search teaches learners to think computationally and solve problems, and helps schools to identify which learners should consider IT, computer applications technology (CAT), science and maths as subjects, he adds.

After the Talent Search, learners who have already mastered a computer language can enter the Programming Olympiad. Students who know how to use applications like spreadsheets, databases and a word processor can enter the Applications Olympiad, a challenge for those who take CAT or the International Certification of Digital Literacy, or are otherwise computer literate.

The Talent Search will run from 7 to 11 March, with participating learners writing a 45-minute paper at their schools. Learners can participate either online or offline, and the tasks and challenges are supervised by their teachers.

The top 50% of participants countrywide will be awarded gold, silver or bronze certificates, according to how well they performed in the challenge.

Schools are invited to participate by registering here.

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