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IT Training and Developments in Nigeria
What is the state of IT training in Nigeria? As one with
interest in IT career development, here are some of my thoughts on this
important sector. Just as IT has become more important, the lack of IT
knowledge has become more dangerous. Organizations need to use technology to
create new added value. IT literacy determines relevance. IT training is not an
option, but a necessity. There is a
steady and growing demand for IT training - in terms of computer literacy and
IT Career Growth and Expectations
is making a tremendous impact and this in turn generates quite a bit of heat in
the IT career arena. There is heat, is there light? The interest is certainly
good for the growth of the industry. However, interested individuals must learn
to manage career growth and expectations. Career planning is essential. Let's
run through some hard can't-be-challenged facts: Training alone doesn't
make one an IT professional. You can't simply throw money at training and
certification and go to sleep. And IT is not a get-rich-quick scheme.
investing in training, beginners must identify their interests, abilities,
hopes and ambitions. IT is a field that emphasizes knowledge. They must
answer these questions: Do you want the power of knowledge? Do you enjoy and
hunger to learn new things? Which area of IT?
(newcomers or experienced pros) need to understand that acquiring quality
training is just as important as having a career focus, lifelong learning, soft
skills, ethics as well as adopting a proactive success driven attitude.
In a market where
experience appears to be king, though practical training is useful, newcomers
need to be resourceful in creating opportunities for themselves.
The challenge of IT training for Business
Today unlike what happened in the past you don't need to adopt the
gun-to-the head or doomsday-awaits-you approach to convince companies to invest
in IT training. The challenge for most organizations is not just to make the
investment in information technology training but the main back-breaker is
usually in identifying required IT expertise.
Investment in IT training is at a
nascent stage. But many companies are still very amateurish when it comes to
investing in IT knowledge acquisition. Top executives in companies today
understand the need to acquire technology knowledge, but they don't seem to
know what to acquire or how to acquire it in an efficient manner.
On a general note, CEOs and
organizations still need to be more informed when it comes to IT knowledge and
Organizations need to define their IT training needs wisely. Is training
need based on the latest technology? Or on what your competitors are doing? If
you understand IT, how well do you understand your business? Which technology
skills are critical to driving the business side up and business challenges
down? Which skills will allow the benefits of IT to be demonstrated? Is
training required because the organization is unprepared for the technology?
Does the business environment demand new updated skill sets? Or does the IT
staff need training in the fundamentals?
Training is about Business
value, Business strategy
is a path, a route not the destination. We must invest in IT based on business
value and strategy.
Many are gradually
appreciating that training in the most sophisticated technologies is meaningless if these skills or
technologies do not support or enhance their key areas of business.
The irony of success in IT
investment is that it has less to do with employing avant-garde technology and
really more to do with the suitability of the chosen technology and the
technology's alignment to the business processes and operations it supports. Is that common sense or uncommon sense?
You need to see clearly where the
company is going and how IT fits into its business strategy. IT skills must be
based on how to apply IT to create business value.
The bottom line is that critical
IT investment such as training must be aligned to the company's business
strategy. How do such IT skills make the company more responsive and
competitive in line with the company's vision and strategy?
CIOs, IT Managers must understand
the business processes and goals very well and recommend training that is
relevant in closing the gap between IT capabilities and business needs.
Businesses should stop wasting resources on experimental, outdated or fanciful
programs that will not make any difference. Avoid the "deep pockets, no
purpose, no results, will-try-another-day" syndrome.
While technical training is often supported by organizations, there is a
need to start investing in soft skills. IT staff need not only technical but
also soft skills (presentation, communications, project management, etc) to
deliver value to partners and customers.
After the training need
has been identified, another challenge is in the actual investment decision.
How do you decide whom to invest with? For many organizations, cost is a major
issue in the decision-making process. There are other issues at play besides
money. It is reckless to choose an inferior training solution to save money. On
the other hand high cost does not indicate high quality. The quality of
training varies widely.
Decisions should be based
on substance. Organizations need to consider quality of materials, competence /
real world experience of trainers, degree of instructor support, corporate IT
focus, counseling facilities, track record and other quality related issues.
Meeting of training needs should be ongoing rather than one-off. Providers, clients and users must be able to rapidly adapt to changes in the technology and business environment. As we have seen over the years, yesterday's technology or techniques may not work for tomorrow's market. Technology very often changes the way business is done. So while keeping up-to-date is crucial, we cannot neglect flexibility and versatility.
Nigeria - Employment and Empowerment
is money. Knowledge is power! Nigeria's future depends not on oil but on the
quality of human capital. A country with a huge populace that is not empowered
is not a giant but a disaster waiting to happen.
education must be accompanied with serious manpower planning in the ICT sector. In the digital age, sustainable, strong growth of Nigeria's economy requires
a skilled and enlightened populace that can both take advantage of advances in
ICT and also contribute to these developments. Nigeria requires not just IT
soldiers but IT tacticians and architects.
Regulation is important
but what is needed now is an environment that encourages employment and
empowerment. This would deal with matters such as compulsory computer education
in schools, IT education incentives, grants, tax holidays, ICT parks,
apprenticeship schemes focusing on increased computer literacy and IT
IT-poor, IT-immature, IT-positive, IT-initiative
The right environment facilitates the achievement of IT training objectives. And for Nigeria what are these objectives? Nigeria needs to shed the garment of technology-backward. Information technology is an opportunity that Nigeria can't afford to waste. The solution is not just hardware and software consumption. Is Nigeria IT-poor or IT-immature? Nigeria has been identified as the fastest moving and one of busiest ICT market sectors in the Africa. Hip Hip, Hurray?! Is that enough? What is the pride in being at the forefront of consumption while languishing in the backwater of development?
capital development is key. IT training must be treated as a priority. The
question is simple: does Nigeria want to develop or not? Are we allowing things
to play out or do we want to take the initiative. Who will be sorry? The choice
is ours. Joking with computer education is a luxury the nation cannot afford.
The goal of computer education is
the acquisition of relevant IT skills for jobs, enterprise and development. IT
training is a must-have for development.
Nigeria needs computer education to empower the person, the enterprise
and the nation. To: Expand horizons. Create potentials. Create wealth. To learn
is to be empowered.
Jide Awe is
the Founder of Jidaw.com (http://www.jidaw.com)
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