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Top ICT award for Gadget founder

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Gadget founder Arthur Goldstuck has been named recipient of the Distinguished Service in ICT Award 2013 by the ICT industry’s professional body.

Gadget founder and editor-in-chief Arthur Goldstuck has been named recipient of the Distinguished Service in ICT Award 2013 by the Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA) and the award sponsor, EngineerIT.

The IITPSA, the professional body of the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, in conjunction with EngineerIT, determine a worthy candidate for this award for ‘distinguished service’ to the IITPSA and/or the IT Industry based on the following criteria:

The Award criteria are:

* The recipient ideally should have been a member of the professional body of the IITPSA for 10 years;

* Has demonstrated a long-term commitment to the objectives of the IITPSA and the ICT sector.

* Has been a role model and mentor showing dedication to the advancement of
the ICT industry in SA.

* Is recognised as having made an exceptional, career-length contribution to
the ICT industry.

The person who receives the award is also bestowed with the grade and title of Fellow (or Honorary Fellow) of the Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa, if he/she is not a Fellow already. The ‘worthiness and acceptability’ of the nominee for this award is assessed by the Committee of Past Presidents of the IITPSA where a majority must support the nomination and recommend it to the IITPSA Executive Council. Here, in turn, the nomination must also receive the support and approval of the majority of the Executive Council.

The Citation for Goldstuck’s award, presented at the IITPSA President’s Awards Breakfast last week, reads:

“It is our custom not to mention the name of the Award Recipient until the end of the citation, but we will be very surprised if everyone in this room, including the recipient (who doesn’t yet know that he is getting the award), doesn’t work out who is being referred to after the first few sentences that follow.

“This person is a well-known South African journalist, media analyst and commentator on information and communications technology, internet and mobile communications and technologies.

“He is a former investigative journalist and news editor at the Mail & Guardian, one-time South African correspondent for Billboard, contributor to numerous magazines and newspapers on tech and popular culture. He has written 18 books, including 7 on Internet- and mobile-related topics, 6 on urban legends and 3 humour books. Most have been best-sellers in South Africa, with “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Internet: A South African Handbook” the biggest selling IT book ever in this country.

“He is the Editor-in-Chief of Gadget Magazine which is South Africa’s oldest online technology magazine, launched in 1998. In June 2011 it became a content partner of the MSN portal, replicating its content on the Tech & Gadgets section of the MSN.co.za portal.

“This person is the founder (in 2000) and Managing Director of World Wide Worx, a leading independent technology market research organisation. World Wide Worx researches Internet access, mobile consumers, mobile Internet, mobile payments, online banking, online media, social media, cloud computing and trends shaping business and consumer use of technology in Africa. It has established itself as one of the leading independent technology research organisations on the continent.

“He was a pioneer in the South African market in the use of the internet as a tool for productivity. He developed the first South African benchmarks for website strategy, and has represented South Africa as a judge for events ranging from the International Advertising Festival in Cannes to the Global Mobile Awards at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. World Wide Worx research is used by international, regional and local organisations, corporations and universities. He also provides regular newspaper columns on IT-related topics, and has been interviewed on SA radio stations many times, making technology interesting and accessible to the general public.

“He is both a true stalwart and a justifiably well-known personality of the South African ICT Industry and is fully deserving of the 2013 award for Distinguished Service in ICT, having made a genuine career-length contribution to the community and the world of ICT.

“The Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa and EngineerIT are thus delighted to present both an Honorary Fellowship of the Institute and the 2013 Distinguished Service in ICT Award to Arthur Goldstuck.”

The IITPSA President’s Awards Breakfast, hosted by ITWeb, also saw the following awards presented:

Sal Laher, CIO of Eskom, was named the 2013 Visionary CIO of the Year winner.

Mteto Nyati, Microsoft SA MD, and Barry Dwolatzky, director of the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering, were the co-winners of 2013 IT Personality of the Year Award.

Featured

SA academy offers 400 data science internships

The Explore Data Science Academy (EDSA) has announced 400 free internships for its 12-month Accredited Skills Data Science Programme in 2019.

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The announcement coincides with the opening today of registrations for next year’s intake. The Cape Town-based academy will also open a campus in Gauteng next year to accommodate its expanding student base.

Commenting on the announcement, EDSA co-founder Shaun Dippnall said: “We opened the Academy in January this year with 100 interns. Growing local demand for data scientists, however, has propelled us to quadruple the number of internships offered in 2019.” 

“These internships are sponsored by South African corporates drawn largely from the ICT, banking, insurance and retail sectors, which are leading the application of data science in their businesses to leverage competitive advantage,” Dippnall added.

BCX is a founding partner of EDSA, having injected R50-million into the training of 300 interns over three years. The investment has largely been fuelled by the growing demand for big data analytics and BCX’s recognition of the need for this skillset within the country.

“Data analytics is a field with the potential to grow the South African economy to new heights.  At BCX, we believe data science will allow businesses to make intelligent, data-driven decisions and propel South Africa to become a technology leader as we enter the 4th industrial revolution,” said Portia Maurice, BCX’s Chief Social Impact Officer.

“We are proud to be a founding partner of the EDSA, and believe that our focused strategy on developing disruptive future digital skills has the capacity to change the lives of many young South Africans.”

“In fact, we expect our efforts in the market to contribute to the overall growth of the ICT sector, which is estimated to be at a market size of R155-billion by 2020,” she added.

Gauteng Campus

Commenting on the decision to expand the EDSA’s current base at the Bandwidth Barn in Woodstock, Cape Town to Gauteng in 2019, Dippnall said:

“Corporate demand for data science talent has been immense and given that most of our sponsors for our 2019 student intake are Johannesburg based, it makes sense to provide a campus in Gauteng, facilitating the flow of candidates into their businesses.”

“Also, more than half of our current students are not from Cape Town and chose to relocate to be here for the programme.”

BCX again has taken the lead by being the first to sponsor the inaugural intake of students for the Gauteng campus, which will open its doors in January 2019.

Student Progress

Dippnall is overjoyed by the progress made by the current intake of interns and the proven success of the Academy’s online application process.

No restrictions to entry, nor are formal qualifications required for the one-year Accredited Skills Data Science Programme.  Applicants should be between 17 and 35 years of age and must pass a series of challenging aptitude tests, an on-line data science boot camp, a case study and an interview

“We have had a 98 percent retention rate, which is extremely high, given the complex and highly technical nature of the course.

Of the 100 interns selected from the over 10 000 who applied for the 2018 intake, 32 were matriculants, with no previous training.

“What’s more students have already demonstrated their ability to begin solving real world problems – including an analysis of the water shortages in Cape Town, after just a few months of exposure to data science techniques and tools,” he said. 

A team from EDSA was placed third in a recent City of Cape Town-sponsored Hackathon.

Mirroring the workplace

The EDSA Accredited Skills Data Science programme is an agile, digital, peer-to-peer, modern education course that is Seta-accredited and teaches students new economy skills that are not offered on current platforms. In addition, AWS is Explore’s exclusive machine learning platform provider.

“Our course closely mirrors the demands of the workplace. Included in the curriculum are tools such as Python, PowerBI, SQL and Scikit-learn, which are routinely required when building data science applications. We have also added job immersion and self-paced project work, which both involve team dynamics and interaction,” Dippnall said.

While job placement at the end of the year is not guaranteed, Dippnall is confident that uptake of candidates will be strong given the shortage of skills. Stipends are available to cover the living expenses of successful candidates who are in financial need.

“We are particularly excited to be the first institution to offer a focused, comprehensive and free year-long accredited skills data science programme in the country that builds the relevant digital skills within our youth, so that they can thrive in the new economy,” Dippnall concluded.

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Arts and Entertainment

Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist

Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.  

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Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.

The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela.  It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.  

“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time.  We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”

The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba.  It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.  The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.

Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.

“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”

This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.

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