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Devices pose governance risk

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Financial services companies are using COBIT 5 to ensure that while they are developing new and innovative customer-centric products for use across multiple devices, they are still compliant and adhere to acceptable governance requirements.

In this mobile era, computers, laptops, tablet devices and smart phones have become the new bank ‚’branches’. Customers are used to accessing banking services anywhere, fast, conveniently and most importantly safely, without having to worry about additional risks.

It is with this in mind that financial institutions need quality information, as they rely on it to ensure that the services they are delivering are of the highest standard, they meet with governance and compliance requirements, and that it assists them in retaining and attracting customers.

‚”Information is a key resource for all enterprises, and from the time that information is created to the moment that it is destroyed, technology plays a significant role,‚” states Willie Venter at Quintica. ‚”IT is rapidly advancing and has for the most part become pervasive in enterprises as well as in social, public and business environments.‚”

According to Venter, this is a particularly pervasive trend facing financial services companies as they need to take this information generated from these devices and create innovative products and services that will help them manage costs, reduce security risks, and most importantly to assist in adhering to relevant laws and compliance requirements.

Enter COBIT 5, a globally accepted framework providing an end-to-end business view of the governance of enterprise IT that reflects the central role of information and technology in creating value for enterprises. COBIT 5 builds on five principles and seven enablers, which according to the organisation are designed to: ‚”assist enterprises to meet their goals and realise business benefits through the effective use of IT while maintaining IT related risks at an acceptable level.‚”

‚”Customers want to bank with a financial institution that provides innovative banking solutions that are cost effective and efficient, while providing assurance in security, quality, speed and reliability. Some financial institutions are on the right path and others are trailing behind. COBIT 5 provides guidance for all such institutions regardless of size and helps them adhere to governance requirements along the way,‚” states Venter.

One of the COBIT 5’s principles is ‚”Meeting Stakeholder Needs‚”. These stakeholder needs must be transformed into actionable goals. Another principle is covering the Enterprise end to end. This principle ‚”addresses the governance and management of information and related technology from an enterprise wide‚” perspective for a seamlessly integration in any governance system.

Technology continues to play a major role in the provision of Internet banking, automated teller machines, point of sale and mobile banking solutions. It is here that business and IT need to meet in order to make the right decisions regarding the right technology applications to invest in: employment of people with the right behaviour, skills, and competencies: and the establishment of processes required to deliver and support these applications and services.

‚”The combined teams also have to put policies in place that protect their customer’s information and maintain the integrity of their institutions by means of a code of ethics, which encourages a culture of excellent customer service and ensures financial transparency,‚” states Venter. ‚”To achieve this, COBIT 5 provides guidance by means of its enablers, namely: policies, principles and frameworks, processes, organisational structures, culture, ethics and behaviours, information, services, infrastructure and applications, people, skills and competencies.

‚”To this end, COBIT 5 offers financial institutions the tools to better manage and enable their business all within the law. It also understands that because of these myriad methods to access your bank, risks are increased, and it (COBIT 5) provides guidance to manage these and other complex IT challenges, save costs and achieve more efficient and effective service delivery to maintain customer satisfaction,‚” ends Venter.

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A career in data science – or your money back

The Explore Data Science Academy is offering high demand skills courses – and guarantees employment for trainees

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The Explore Data Science Academy (EDSA) has announced several new courses in 2020 that it says will radically change the shape of data science education in South Africa. 

Comprising Data Science, Data Engineering, Data Analytics and Machine Learning, each six-month course provides vital digital skills that are in high demand in the market place.  The full time, fully immersive courses each cost R60 000 including VAT. 

The courses are differentiated from any other available by the fact that EDSA has introduced a money back promise if it cannot place the candidate in a job within six months of graduation and at a minimum annual starting salary of R240 000.

“For South Africans with drive and aptitude, this is the perfect opportunity to launch a career in what has been called the sexiest career of the 21stcentury,” says Explore founder Shaun Dippnall.

Dippnall and his team are betting on the explosive demand for data science skills locally and globally.

 “There is a massive supply-demand gap in the area of data science and our universities and colleges are struggling to keep up with the rapid growth and changing nature of specific digital skills being demanded by companies.  

“We are offering specifically a work ready opportunity in a highly skills deficient sector, and one which guarantees employment thereafter.”

The latter is particularly pertinent to young South Africans – a segment which currently faces a 30 percent unemployment rate. 

“If you have skills in either Data Science, Data Engineering, Data Analytics or Machine Learning, you will find work locally, even globally. We’re confident of that,” says Dippnall.

EDSA is part of the larger Explore organisation and has for the past two years offered young people an opportunity to be trained as data scientists and embark on careers in a fast-growing sector of the economy.  

In its first year of operation, EDSA trained 100 learners as data scientists in a fully sponsored, full-time 12-month course.  In year two, this number increased to 400.  

“Because we are connected with hundreds of employers and have an excellent understanding of the skills they need, our current placement rate is over 90 percent of the students we’ve taught,” Dippnall says. “These learners can earn an average of R360 000 annually, hence our offer of your money back if there is no employment at a minimum annual salary of R240k within six months.

“With one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world – recently announced as a national emergency by the President – it is important that institutions teach skills that are in demand and where learners can earn a healthy living afterwards.”

There are qualifying criteria, however. Candidates need to live in close proximity (within one hour commuting distance), or be prepared to live, in either Johannesburg or Cape Town, and need to be between the ages of 18 and 55. 

“Our application process is very tough. We’ll test for aptitude and attitude using the qualifying framework we’ve built over the years. If you’re smart enough, you’ll be accepted,” says Dippnall.

To find out more, visit  http://www.explore-datascience.net.

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Triggerfish launches free digital learning Academy online

Platform designed for anyone wanting to understand more about career opportunities in animation.

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Triggerfish, in partnership with Goethe-Institut and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, has launched Triggerfish Academy, a free digital learning platform for anyone wanting to understand more about the career opportunities and how to get started in the field of animation. 

The website features 25 free video tutorials, quizzes and animation exercises introducing animation as a career and the principles of storytelling, storyboarding and animation, as well as several additional resources to help guide aspiring animators into a career in animation. 

“The South African animation industry is growing – and so is the demand for skilled animators globally,” said Noemie Njangiru, head of Culture and Development at Goethe-Institut Johannesburg, pointing to  the success of recent Triggerfish projects like the Oscar-nominated Revolting Rhymes; Mama K’s Team 4, recently announced by Netflix as their first original animated series from Africa; and this year’s New York Children’s Festival and Shanghai International Film and TV Festival winner Zog.  

Njangiru also highlighted the opportunities for animation outside the traditional film industry, within fields like advertising, app and web design, architecture, engineering, gaming, industrial design, medicine, and the motor industry, not to mention growth sectors like augmented reality and virtual reality

The course was created by Tim Argall, currently the animation director on Triggerfish’s third feature film, Seal Team. He’s roped in many of the South African animation industry’s brightest stars, from Malcolm Wope, character designer on Mama K’s Team 4, and Annike Pienaar, now working at Illumination in Paris on Sing 2, to Daniel Snaddon, co-director of the multi-award-winning BBC adaptations Stick Man and Zog, and Faghrie Coenraad, lead dressing and finaling artist on the Oscar-nominated Revolting Rhymes, as well as Triggerfish head of production Mike Buckland. The featured talent share not just their skills but also their stories, from how they broke the news they wanted to be animators to their parents, to common myths about the animation industry. 

“As kids, animation is part of our lives, so we don’t really think about the idea that animation is actually somebody’s job,” said Argall. “When I was a kid, I loved animation and I loved to draw. I remember when I was about 12, I thought: ‘I really want to see my drawings come to life. I want to be an animator.’ But I had no idea where to even begin.” 

Triggerfish Academy is his attempt to make it easier for the next generation of African animators: an accessible starter kit for anyone considering a career in animation. 

“By the end of working through this course, you’ll have all the background you need to know whether animation is a good choice for your career,” said Njangiru.  

Aspiring animators can also use Triggerfish Academyto learn how to write and animate their own short story, then post their animation on the Academy’s Facebook group for feedback and advice from professional animators. 

Triggerfish Academy is set up so that youth can play with it directly, but it’s also been designed to double as an activity plan for teachers, NGOs and after school programmes to use. Schools, organisations and other animation studios who are interested in using it can contact Triggerfish for additional free classroom resources.

Triggerfish Academy is just one of a number of Triggerfish initiatives to train and diversify the next generation of African animators, like sponsoring bursaries to The Animation School; the Mama K’s Team 4 Writers Lab with Netflix; the pan-African Triggerfish Story Lab, supported by The Walt Disney Company and the Department of Trade and Industry; Animate Africa webinars; Draw For Life; and the Triggerfish Foundation schools outreach programme. For more information, visit www.triggerfish.com/academy.  

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