Kenya ICT Board launched on Tuesday, February 7, 2012 a certification program that will offer credential examination for software developers in Kenya. The Certification program dubbed ‘Chipuka’ which stands for “To Emerge” is being designed in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University. The certification will help employers to easily identify software developers that have the skills necessary to carry out IT jobs to a professional and world class standard.
Responding to software skills gap
A study carried out in 2011 by the Kenya ICT Board and IDC, revealed that there is currently a software skills gap in Kenya. Although there is a high demand for software development in Kenya, few companies source these skills locally. At least a quarter of companies surveyed said they were not satisfied with the quality of IT professionals in the local market. As a result, nearly a third, plan to contract external providers.
The survey predicts that the demand for software developers will grow by 135% between 2011 and 2013.
In order to mediate the software skills gap, the Kenya ICT Board is partnering with local and international universities to ensure companies have an easy and reliable way to identify skilled software developers in Kenya.
“In order to spur innovation in ICT, we need our youth to be equipped with marketable skills,” says Dr. Bitange Ndemo, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Information and Communications, “This certification will help us market our talent and grow the job market for young developers.”
Localized cross-vendor certification
The Kenya ICT Board recognizes that there are a number of certification programs for software engineers available in Kenya. But many of those programs only test for general knowledge of software, rather than actually requiring someone to write software. Others certify competence for only certain software environments or only a certain vendor’s tool set. Chipuka will be the first “authentic” examination that would be attuned to the needs of the industry in general and incorporate a broad selection of professional tools.
A pilot exam will be ready by March 2013; the certification should be fully operational in Kenya by October 2013