Globally, CIOs and recruitment agencies are seriously concerned about the impending skills shortages in the ICT sector. In South Africa, these same concerns are being echoed, and hopefully the thousands of matriculants will capitalise on this opportunity.
GetCertified MD Arnold Graaff says there is a huge demand for software developers, and forecasts predict a growth in demand for Web developers.
“Employers are not only impressed by course certificates – they also want to see that you can solve a business problem with your skills – and they want to see how you do it.
“You will be surprised at how many students come here and complain about the big brand colleges that charge astronomical fees and offer no project assistance to their students. After completing a year of studying, they feel like they have nothing to show and they have no confidence either,” he says.
GetCertified offers a weekly open support evening, at no extra cost to its students, where they can ask questions about their specific course and project. Furthermore, GetCertified is part of a group of companies that also own a recruitment agency, Compuways. Unlike other training companies, GetCertified strives to find a job for all its unemployed students.
“We encourage students to follow our methodology, which results in an international certification and a proper project to show to potential employers. Our mission is to assist students to pass their international exams. We achieve this by delivering our courses with a strong practical flair, instead of focusing only on exam questions and answers,” says Graaff.
He says the benefit of practicality is twofold; the student can immediately use these practical skills in the workplace, and they can prepare more easily for exams.
“Many unemployed people come to us to better themselves for the job market, and we have successfully placed many such at our clients from our recruitment company Compuways.
“No knowledge of programming,  not sure what steps to follow or the cost thereof? Firstly, a bare necessity is a matric certificate with at least a pass in mathematics. We always recommend you should do an aptitude test like the one on 3smartcubes.com and send us the results.”
GetCertified recommends that complete beginners should start with the “Complete Introduction to Programming”, which can be done over five days full-time. Alternatively, students can do part-time training courses which run over five Saturdays (six hour sessions) or two nights per week for five weeks (three hour evening classes), because there is more time to take the knowledge in and process it with exercises.
The budget to do at least four courses to get to the international certificate level is about R8 000.00 per course, but five or six courses are even better and recommended. The duration is five to six weeks per course.
Graaff says practical skills and abilities are critical. “First of all, a programmer needs to know his tools. If you know the building blocks and tools, you can proceed to build the house. We teach you the theory and how to apply it during our courses. We also teach you how to approach and solve a business problem using these tools and skills.”
After the second course, students must hand in a practical project to demonstrate their abilities in knowing the tools and ability to design and build the house. GetCertified issue two certificates – an attendance certificate and a practical certificate.
“Training always gave me satisfaction. I love empowering people – there is nothing more satisfying than seeing someone’s eyes light up when mastering a new skill. Trainers need to be technically capable, patient, observant and passionate about their subject, like me.
“These are the characteristics I look for when I employ lecturers. All our lecturers have a tertiary qualification in IT and a successful track record in lecturing. Although many students’ main aim is to just get international certification, employers realise that alone it is not enough to be employed. The best way to understand a certification question is to practise everything as far as possible practically.
“This is why we try to include as much as possible practical exercises and projects in our courses. We do not want to deliver graduates that can pass an international exam and is not sure how to put things into practise,” Graaf concludes.