Industry joins forces with academia to ensure graduates are equipped
As part of BSG's ongoing commitment to investing in local talent and skills development, BSG CEO, Greg Reis, recently attended the two-day Rhodes University Information Science (IS) Department Advisory Board meeting.
Rhodes University recognises the need to align their curricula closely with the needs of industry. For almost two decades, they have therefore been working with Industry professionals, like Reis, via the IS Faculty Advisory Board. The intent is collaboration between industry and faculty to create compelling and relevant curricula. Regular, open consultation with industry ensures graduates adequately prepare to enter into the South African job market.
This board meeting focused on reviewing the range of IS curricula in relation to changing industry trends and also allowed IS students to showcase their current work. IS honours and third-year students presented their work to the board and an audience of over 150 people. The adoption of Agile, build-measure-learn and CX approaches were among the themes evident in the projects and indicated a good level of alignment with current industry trends.
The board reviewed the curricula reports for first-year through to honours and provided their perspectives taking into account changing industry trends. Two key trends were shared: firstly, the change in how solutioning and delivery is rapidly moving from a traditional requirements/design linear approach to one of multi-skilled teams working in a build-measure-learn, Agile manner. And secondly, the acceleration of the importance of the use of data in problem-solving mechanisms. These valuable industry insights will be used in the final curricula for 2018.
For almost 20 years, Reis has been a purposeful patron of education through his service on various university boards and various other talent development initiatives. Since he started BSG in 1997, he has watched hundreds of IS and computer science (CompSci) graduates enter the working world, and has found that the more aligned the curricula, the better equipped the graduates are to handle the needs of the market, thus adding greater value to the South African economy.
According to the World Economic Forum, South Africa was last out of 146 countries in maths and science education in 2014, vital areas to the ICT industry. In order for the situation to improve industry and academia must continue to stand together, back South African talent and skills development and lobby government to make the necessary changes.
"If we want change, we must invest in South African talent through initiatives like this. This partnership ensures that graduates applying for positions in our - and other - organisations are armed with the skills they need to maximise their impact." comments Reis.
With members from all facets of the ICT industry, boards like this one are uniquely positioned to assist and guide the skills transfer process. IS Faculty Head, Greg Foster, believes that the input of industry thought-leaders is invaluable to Rhodes University when it comes to defining its IS curriculum each year. Thanks to the input of Board members, Rhodes University's IS graduates are highly sought-after in the ICT industry.
BSG is proud of our long-standing relationship with Rhodes University and values their collaborative approach to creating a highly relevant education for young talent entering the South African job market.