It does not really matter who you are – an IT professional, a CTO hiring an IT-service manager, or a businessman looking for a contractor to build a key software for his business work processes: the key question is, most of the time, whether the person asked to perform a specific task is actually competent. Can he or she deliver the service required in the right time and at the proper quality level?
As the sales director for a Kumasi based software company, I am normally on the road to market our Ghanaian developer teams in the Netherlands. I am getting a lot of questions about the quality of our personnel. Of course this is partly due to the fact that many Europeans still have a quite outdated idea about Africa, while, for sure, there are excellent IT people in countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda.
But our customers have a point. They are looking for objective standards if a person meets today’s requirements as an IT-professional. The mere fact that they do not know of the existence of Ghanaian university like KNUST is almost irrelevant in this context, as IT craftsmanship is highly practical and changes very quickly. Rough estimates indicate that in my home country the Netherlands ca. 30% of the IT professionals aged over 40 are unemployed while the industry is showing thousands of job vacancies at the same time. Clearly these people have missed the huge wave of change that has not only characterized the IT industry but the whole world.
We should not forget that Facebook was opened to the public only in 2006, and the first I-phone was introduced in 2007, just 12 years ago. And these are just illustrations of the digital revolution that has been taking place everywhere and is still continuing. Technologies have been changing every few years, requiring a permanent education of IT professionals. A university degree is just the – largely theoretical – beginning of a process of lifelong learning for most professionals and IT experts in particular. Without this, they can be out of business as young as age 35.
Clearly, more than anything, good IT services are a matter of good human resource management. What are the good practices to apply in this area? What should a good IT professional do to keep up with all these innovations? The following measures can be found in the ICT industry worldwide. They apply both on a corporate, department and individual level:
While some of the training institutes in Ghana are generally respected and have their own exam systems, it can be advisable to take certification from an independent globally accepted exam institute. This year starting, EXIN international certification exams will be available in Ghana via its formally accredited exam agency Maxim Nyansa IT Solutions Foundation.
As an NGO under Ghanaian law, this foundation offers these international exams at an affordable fee. Its revenues are being dedicated to support their Learning Transformation program to help schools in Ghana step into the digital world and help young people in this county to prepare for their future jobs.
Diana is a board member of Maxim Nyansa IT solutions foundation and sales director at Trinity Software Center in Kumasi.