As part of a long-term drive to grow local IT skills, software development company DVT is participating in the recently-launched Cape IT Initiative’s CapaCITi1000 programme, aimed at addressing the critical shortage of ICT skills in the Western Cape.
CapaCITi1000 is an initiative that is providing 42 primarily non-IT graduates with the opportunity to work towards a Post-Graduate Diploma in Business Analysis and Systems Analysis from the University of Cape Town, while also serving as an intern at a host company for 12 months.
The interns receive a salary from their host employer and the programme is sponsored by the Insurances SETA (INSETA), the Department of Economic Development and Tourism of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape (Department of Economic Development and Tourism), the Department of Communication eSkills Institute and BSG.
“DVT is one of those companies and we have taken on several new employees as a result of the CapaCITi1000 programme. One of them is business analysis student Tara Moss who has a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in English,” says Mario Matthee, head of software quality assurance at DVT.
“As an intern, she is documenting and analysing certain aspects of our business processes, focusing on recruitment. A business process is an activity or set of activities that will accomplish a specific organisational goal. Tara’s role in this project is enabling her to participate in real-world business process documentation, to ask the right questions, and to see for herself how it actually works.”
Matthee says the process is quite an involved one which is all about acquiring leads primarily for contract positions, examining CVs, sorting applications, contacting candidates, arranging interviews for suitable people with business unit heads and account managers, and following up on those interviews.
“Together with UCT and CapaCITi1000, we are working to fast track Tara’s career as an expert business analyst. Normally, it would take four to five years for someone to become proficient in this area, but our goal is to get her there in one year through hands-on experience.”
He points out that Moss’s internship is in line with DVT’s own well established skills development model, which sees the company taking on between 10 and 12 interns for two-year periods every year. Most of these interns work in software quality assurance for 18 months and then have the option of moving into the specialisation of their choice – business analysis, software development or software test automation.
They are sent on targeted courses and are then able to qualify, by which time they have had two years’ experience in quality testing and working in the software development lifecycle.
“It’s a two-year commitment to interns from our side,” adds Matthee. “And the candidates cease to be interns and become junior staff members after the first six months, which really gives them the opportunity to learn and develop their skills.”
In Moss’s case, DVT wants to give her more exposure to all areas of the business. Software quality assurance encompasses everything, from business analysis, to project management, implementation and support, Matthee adds.
"CapaCITi1000 is a unique programme tailored to address an immediate industry need,” says Jenny McKinnell, executive director of Cape IT Initiative.
“What's making it work is the commitment from all involved, which shows what is possible with a cluster development approach. It’s a real plus for us to have a company of DVT’s calibre on board, helping to ensure that much-need local IT skills are being developed.”