Developing their way to the top

The Digital Academy launched in August 2015, with the main objective of creating innovative digital products in Africa. The Academy seeks to address the lack of digital skills on the continent by creating employment opportunities for youth. The constantly changing digital landscape is the motivation behind two of our team leaders, Tshepo Mashabathakga and Bonificious Mokomane, who both say their worlds revolve around the digital environment.

Tshepo’s love affair with technology started when he was in high school. He enrolled in Unisa to further his knowledge. While doing his final year, he started attending hackathons where he heard about Empire State, a partner company to the Academy that builds mobile applications and Web sites. The company ran a competition for students to build a Web application, and Tshepo’s was successful. He was subsequently offered an opportunity there. It was Empire State’s struggle to find good developers that led to the birth of The Digital Academy, which then provided a broader platform for the up-skilling of youth in the industry. The establishment of this initiative saw Tshepo move from Empire State to be a team leader at The Academy.

Leading a team of interns also helps Tshepo to grow and improve his craft as a developer as he enjoys teaching the interns, as well as learning from them.

“He is a good team leader and he is always open to learning new things from us,” says an intern in Tshepo’s team. The Kagiso-born youngster’s plan is to become a senior developer, and believes he’s heading in the right direction to achieve his goal.

Bonificious Mokomane who, like Tshepo, came from Empire State as an intern and has been with The Digital Academy since its inception, is grateful for the opportunity. He is adamant that it has made him the developer he is today. “I had to transition from writing code at an intern level to actually writing production-ready code.”

Growing up in Mamelodi, Bonificious’ love for software development started at a very young age. His inquisitive nature led him to want to know how computers were built and how they functioned. He shares the same sentiments as Tshepo with regards to not just being the teacher but also a student. Bonificious sees the tech of the future moving towards cyber-security, and he wants to become a certified cloud security professional.

The tech space is constantly evolving as new technologies arise, and these two team leaders say they use all the resources they have at their disposal to stay updated.

The Digital Academy and Empire State are two entities that take pride in changing the lives of young people by providing skills and creating jobs in the tech space. As such, 30 interns are recruited every quarter for a three-month internship programme that equips self-taught and qualified aspiring developers with practical skills for the real world. Upon completion of the internship programme, some of the interns are placed with our partners, such as Barclays, for an extended internship.

Those interested in joining The Digital Academy can visit our Web site: http://apply.thedigitalacademy.co.za/  




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