With South Africa’s unemployment statistics on the rise, a Wits course aims to tackle the problem.  

As many IT professionals around the country continue to lose jobs because of the effects of covid-19 on businesses, a Wits initiative aims to address the issue by providing a free professional development course to improve the employment prospects of its graduates.  

The Johannesburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE), a Wits centre that aims to develop and equip individuals with skills to enable digital transformation in Africa, and the IT multinational Accenture have partnered to solve the unemployment issue through education. 

Professor Barry Dwolatzky, director at the Wits JCSE, told Wits Vuvuzela, “This course is offered to help people who know how to write software or have a degree in information systems or computer science. They must also have recently lost their jobs or are finding it difficult to gain employment.” 

Dwolatzky said many IT experts have either lost their jobs due to the covid-19 pandemic or are finding it hard to get work because companies are not recruiting. 

The professional software development course will take place entirely online over a period of eight weeks from October through to November and will have a total of eight modules. Dwolatzky said it will involve live sessions with a real instructor. 

The course is sponsored by Accenture as part of its covid-19 relief programme. It is aimed at individuals with a basic background in computer science education. 

Professor Joel Quirk, a senior lecturer on political studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, said while online courses can be useful“they cannot easily substitute for other forms of education and training. There is not enough scope for one-to-one interaction, for multi-sided conversations or for many other essential aspects associated with learning.”  

Quirk does concede, however, that this form of learning tends to favour computer programming and ITrelated subjects. “Online trainings tend to favour particular subjects and styles of learning,’’ he said. ‘‘This means they are a good platform for learning, say, computer programming. But the format does not lend itself to subjects in the humanities.” 

The JCSE will hold interviews and will require references to ensure that participants do not abuse the process and apply for the free option when they do not need it. 



FEATURED IMAGE: A student checks out the Wits JCSE training course outline. Photo: Ntando Ximba