Tech key to drive the 4th Industrial Revolution

The job market is rapidly evolving and the demand for industry-ready talent is growing by the minute

In Summary
  • The question of whether every young person especially falling within the category of Gen Z should learn how to code, is paramount in the future of work discussions.
  • Coding future seems promising as it has grown to impact a wide variety of industries, and has been recognised as one of the most marketable skills in the current era.
Kushite ICP.Hub East Africa Co-founder Yvonne Kagondu
Kushite ICP.Hub East Africa Co-founder Yvonne Kagondu

Close to one million students graduate from our Universities and Tertiary institutions every year.

These numbers keep overlapping each other, year in year out. Now, extrapolate this to Africa, we are looking at 11 million students graduating every year.

The glaring concern right now is that most of these young people are getting stuck as they are unable to find employment or engage in gainful economic activity.

So the question is, are our institutions of learning churning out the right skills and are they congruent with industry demands? Is technology perhaps a game changer from an employment creation or enterprise development perspective?

The technological advances of today are impacting the future of work by causing a significant shift in industry demands.

As a result, the job market is rapidly evolving and the demand for industry-ready talent is growing by the minute.

Luckily, a good number of learning institutions have recognised the need to bridge this divide and prepare individuals for the demands of the industry.

So far, several initiatives in Kenya, such as the Kushite ICP Hub East Africa, have been at the forefront of bridging this gap by offering free real-time industry-ready curriculum and practical exposure to interested individuals.

The current technological advancements are affecting how we work as new developments continue to transform the industry.

The integration of machine learning, artificial intelligence, block chain, internet computer and data analytics, among other developments, have rendered some jobs obsolete while creating new opportunities in tech-related fields.

This development is also relevant from an enterprise development perspective, as the recent wave of technological advances have garnered widespread attention among industry leaders, policymakers, investors, and researchers.

Enterprises expect these recent developments to be highly disruptive, and hence recognise the need to adapt accordingly to remain relevant and competitive.

Enterprises across the globe are increasingly relying on tech to maintain competitiveness, streamline operations, as well as drive innovation.

This paradigm shift has increased demand for tech-related skills more than ever.

By acquiring A1, Met averse, Block chain, Big Data & Analytics, Quantum Computing, and 3D printing-related skills, young people will be equipped to adapt and navigate current industry trends.

It is important to encourage young people to acquire such skills, whether it is implementing AI, leveraging block chain technology, or understanding automation, so that they may position themselves for long-term success.

The growing need for tech-related skills is a key aspect that motivated the founding of tech- hubs such as Kushite ICP.

These Hubs acknowledge, and have made significant strides towards educating young people in East Africa, from offering free classes on the Introduction to Block chain, to providing incubation programs for developers willing to build on Internet Computer Protocol (ICP).

Speaking of Block chain, there’s currently a major shift from Web 2 to Web 3.

It’s critical to note that Web3 has positioned itself as a key driver of innovation considering it is built on digital ownership, security, and transparency, as well as powered by block chain and decentralization.

By pioneering the next internet frontier, web3 guarantees developers a host of benefits, including heralding the realisation of decentralised apps (dapps) that symbolise a return to the ideals of a publicly owned internet.

Dapps leverages block chain and peer-to-peer technologies, and appeals to developers as a place to innovate and collaborate effectively.

Interestingly, the Internet Computer is one of the most popular web3 projects that enable developers to create apps, websites, and other web-based services without dealing with centralized authorities.

Designed to host everything from DeFi platforms to enterprise IT systems, the Internet Computer is a network of sub-block chains that guarantee to enhance the Internet with an innovative form of server less cloud functionality.

Another very popular topic amongst young people right now and there seems to be pressure from parents as well is that , should every young person especially falling within the category of Gen Z learn how to code?

Indeed, the future of coding seems promising as it has grown to impact a wide variety of industries, and has been recognized as one of the most marketable skills in the current era.

By learning how to code, young people can acquire the power to harness computers to develop, reshape and improve various industries.

Therefore, young people should be encouraged to acquire this skill as it has grown to become a mainstream, core discipline that is beneficial in almost all industries.

It is also worth noting that coding can be learned by almost anyone, as one does not necessarily need to have prior experience or be a math expert.

To get started, one simply needs to be inquisitive, committed to learning, and willing to practice the newly acquired coding skills regularly.

Focus also needs to be directed on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related courses as it is evolving and becoming more inclusive.

As a result, there has been an increase in the number of women pursuing careers and succeeding in the STEM industry.

Already, some initiatives have been put in place to help women gain the needed skills and resources to navigate the STEM industry.

Amidst the future of work conversation, we should perhaps think about a potential paradigm shift with regards to push for employability Vis a Vis enterprise development.

Can we re-orient our curriculum to focus more on skills development geared towards enterprise development, meaning those who are training to go out there and create jobs rather than look for jobs?

One interesting solution could be the introduction of ‘incubator and accelerator’ programs in our institutions of learning.

This should provide a platform for innovators to go through a mentorship program and tweak their value propositions to a point where they are ‘investor ready.’

This way as they graduate they will already be running fully funded enterprises ready to solve the world’s problems whilst at the same time creating the much needed and elusive jobs!

It’s critical to note that some progress has been made in this regard especially in the tech space.

Both incubators and accelerators have been playing a vital role in supporting young people venture into tech-related careers.

These two entities are crucial as participants get a unique opportunity to acquire the relevant skills and acumen needed to navigate the ever-changing ecosystem.

Technology hubs such as Kushite ICP.Hub is among other key entities that acknowledge the benefits young people can access from such programs.

The Hub has its own incubator program in place, where developers who rank the highest at the hackathons, which it orchestrates on numerous occasions, gain access to education, mentorship, and investment opportunities that will help grow their unique and disruptive ideas into profitable ventures.

So far, the hub has carried out 10 hackathons in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda and is looking to focus on incubating the best projects and turning them into functioning tech businesses.  

The writer is the Co-Founder at Kushite ICP.Hub East Africa

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