WeThinkCode urges SMEs to hire software interns

WeThinkCode has 120 interns who are seeking employment opportunities.
WeThinkCode has 120 interns who are seeking employment opportunities.

Local coding academy WeThinkCode is seeking small and medium company partners to join its SME Placement Programme, which places its students as interns during their work placement period.

The project is aimed at SMEs that need skilled junior software developers who can assist in-house technical staff during two work placements.

According to the coding initiative, students enter the SME Placement Programme with their tuition fees, valued at R100 000 per learner, already sponsored. All the SME partner companies have to pay is the internship stipend. They have first option to hire graduates upon completion of their studies.

WeThinkCode was launched in SA in 2015 and welcomed its first coding students in May 2016. It seeks to eliminate the digital skills shortage by developing 100 000 coders in Africa over the next 10 years.

Last year, the coding organisation unveiled its WomenThinkCode= initiative in partnership with the Momentum Metropolitan Foundation and MWR InfoSecurity, with the aim to overcome the gender disparity in technical roles.

The organisation says it has an enviable record of success, with junior software developers achieving a 98% graduate employment rate and its alumni working in more than 55 leading South African businesses.

WeThinkCode says the SME Placement Programme, which has 120 potential interns, is an opportunity to bring highly-skilled junior software developers into a company, while at the same time providing an essential internship environment that will ensure their eventual success.

“The SME Placement Programme is a win-win for both the SMEs, which need additional resources for their digital projects, and the students, who need vital on-the-job experience,” says Nyari Samushonga, CEO of WeThinkCode.

“We are all about finding top talent, no matter where they are from or what they have done before. Our course is completely cost-free to students, no prior coding experience is required and a Matric is optional.”

The skill sets that a WeThinkCode intern brings to the business will enable them to add value, for example, in the following areas:

• Working with the existing software development teams to enhance and extend existing custom software, particularly for Python or Java codebases;

• Extend or write tests for the codebase;

• Write documentation; and

• Investigate and experiment with new tools and technologies that the existing team may not have the capacity for.

If an organisation is interested in a partnership with WeThinkCode, certain conditions apply: partners need to be registered companies with less than 250 employees and turnover of under R85 million a year. Partner companies must also have a senior technical resource to support the students.

There are two internship periods during the course: three months from March to May 2021 and four months from February to May 2022. The stipulated internship stipend is R7 000 per month.

Continuous learning is encouraged, with the peer-to-peer, practical pedagogy ensuring students are primed to pick up new programming languages quickly.

Fulltime employment for the current group of students begins on 1 June 2022 and hosting SME partners have first right to hire on a minimum one-year commitment after the student’s graduation at the end of the programme.

Each year, WeThinkCode trains 300 talented young South Africans to become highly-skilled software developers in a two-year programme which provides digital skills, including fundamental programming knowledge and practical software development experience in Python, software engineering practices such as unit testing, and test-driven development and exposure to the Java ecosystem and object-oriented design.

Applications for interns close on 30 November on a first-come-first-served basis. The matching process will kick off in December, with interviews held in January.

The first round of work placement will be from 1 March to 31 May 2021, the second round from 1 February to 31 May 2022. Full-time employment begins on 1 June 2022.

For more information and to apply to join the SME Placement Programme, visit the WeThinkCode Web site.

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