Jidaw Systems

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 professionalism.

Managing IT Career Growth and Expectations

IT 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.

Before 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?

IT professionals (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 skills.

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

Training 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.

The Training Investment

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.

Lifelong learning

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

Oil 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.

Computer 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 professionalism.

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? 


Human 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

Jide Awe is the Founder of Jidaw.com (http://www.jidaw.com) 

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