Open doors for learners with the potential to thrive in the worlds of IT

Date:7 February 2022 Tags:, ,

Careers in Information Technology (IT) are interesting, rewarding, and offer opportunities in a wide range of sectors. However, the global IT industry has skills shortages in many specialisations, meaning a skills pipeline of young IT professionals is urgently needed for organisations to progress into the 4th Industrial Revolution.

So says Admire Gwanzura: President of the Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA), who was announcing the 2022 Talent Search – a fun challenge for learners that helps identify those with computational thinking skills.

Gwanzura says: “Information technology (IT) has evolved and grown over the years. The growth of the sector has experienced an increase in opportunities for young professionals across many exciting areas such as cyber security, app development, cloud computing, robotics, artificial intelligence and much more. With the right IT qualifications and skills, young South Africans can be the global leaders in technology and innovation. Unfortunately, many young people – especially girls and young women – are hesitant to study IT-related subjects, and this should be changing.

The Talent Search, a challenge run by the Computer Olympiad, which is an IITPSA programme, helps identify learners with computational skills. By running the Talent Search at their schools, teachers can help learners discover that IT isn’t as intimidating as they may think. They can reveal their aptitude and start encouraging them to work towards rewarding careers in IT. That’s why the IITPSA would like to encourage government, independent and home schools to participate in the Talent Search. We also encourage parents to motivate schools to enter their learners in the Olympiads.”

The Talent Search is the South African version of the Bebras Contest which attracts more than two million participants from more than 50 countries in the rest of the world each year.

Locally, it is a free programme which can be undertaken either online, or offline using pen and paper. The challenge is a series of puzzles tailored by age and grade, with five categories for learners ranging from Grade 4 Elementary to Grade 12 and Elite level.

After the Talent Search, learners who have already mastered a computer language can enter the Programming Olympiad. Those who know how to use applications like spreadsheets, databases and a word processor can enter the Applications Olympiad.

Talent Search will run from 7 to 11 March 2022, with participating learners writing a 45-minute paper at their schools. The Talent Search teaches learners to think computationally and solve problems and helps schools to identify which learners should consider IT, CAT, Science and Maths as subjects. Learners can participate either online or offline, and the tasks and challenges are supervised by their teachers. The top 50% of participants countrywide will be awarded gold, silver or bronze certificates, according to how well they performed in the challenge.

To see examples of past pen and paper challenges, visit https://olympiad.org.za/talent-search/past-papers/pen-and-paper/ or to practice online, go to https://olympiad.org.za/talent-search/past-papers/online-trial/

Schools are invited to participate by registering here: www.olympiad.org.za/Talent-Search/register/

Picture: Pexels

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