Personal growth and development are part of Entersekt’s company culture, underpinned by two core values: 'relentless curiosity' and 'growth and success'. This mindset, coupled with a desire to transform the software engineering landscape in South Africa, motivated Entersekt’s newest undertaking.
Shortage of engineering talent
South Africa is faced with a severely limited pool of qualified and experienced software engineering and developer talent. According to BusinessTech, less than 0.5% of active software developers globally can be found in South Africa – a mere 121,000 across the entire country’s population.
This available talent is constantly being approached by multiple tech enterprises and start-ups in South Africa, resulting in high churn, combined with over-dependence on existing staff, across the entire industry.
Another significant factor contributing to this skills shortage is the trend of local businesses, that have traditionally not depended on software, starting up software and technology teams of their own. This well-known global phenomenon, associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), naturally increases the demand for developer talent dramatically.
Hiring fresh graduates as a solution
Many organizations facing these challenges resort to hiring fresh graduates. However, analytics has shown that these graduates struggle initially to contribute meaningfully to the organizations that employ them. Young developers also seldom remain at companies for long, typically leaving after two to three years for better opportunities and exposure to other technologies and environments.
The root cause of these challenges appears to be twofold:
- Graduates are not given an opportunity to participate in an extended internship, which was more common in the early days of engineering (think ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s).
- Companies are not building strong relationships with new graduates to develop mutual loyalty and a sense of commitment and belonging.
Yet another challenge is the general shortage of students studying engineering and computer science in South Africa.
The net effect of this situation is that both Entersekt, at a micro level, and our country, at a macro level, need to do more to incubate and grow developer talent and ensure the retention of that talent.
Introducing Entersekt’s new graduate program
According to Adnaan Isaacs, Entersekt SVP Software Engineering: “This is where Entersekt’s new graduate program came to the fore. Entersekt invests for up to a year in promising graduates, in terms of teaching them real skills, on real-world software and IT platforms, using the latest technologies.”
Isaacs goes on to say that graduates are provided with basic industry skills and mentored by experienced engineers so that they can learn from some of the best minds in the fintech industry.
“This program equips graduate engineers to make substantial contributions to the industry within a year of graduating from an academic institution and to make a real impact on our country. We are also optimistic that once our program becomes known among school learners, it will encourage them to pursue tertiary studies in software engineering, knowing that companies like Entersekt are prepared to invest in and grow them once they graduate,” concludes Isaacs.
The program has been specifically developed for young engineers in the early stages of their careers. When engaging with recent graduates, it became clear that the culture shock of switching from university to working life with no transition phase was an area that sorely needed attention. With this in mind, the 12-month program was tailored to include professional development workshops, access to mentors and leaders, and personal development coaching.
In addition to expanding their technical skills, the graduates will attend sessions with subject matter experts to learn critical life skills such as how to do your taxes, maintain wellness, and budget – the real-world life skills everyone wishes they’d learned in school.
Workshops and coaching sessions will equip the young software engineers with the professional skills they’ll need to ensure long-term career success. They’ll gain career-critical skills needed to stay curious and continue learning, engage meaningfully with colleagues and clients, network, problem-solve, and collaborate effectively.
Want to join us? Apply mid-year for 2024’s program
Next year will be the first run of this exciting new program, with eight candidates already selected to start their Entersekt journey in January 2023. Applications opened in mid-2022 and saw hundreds of aspiring software engineers put their hand up for the challenge. The overwhelming response humbled the hiring team and made for an extremely competitive selection process.
“What impressed us was the high standard of candidates engaging with us. Most were well versed in the principles involved in application security used extensively in fintech software. We at Entersekt are excited to begin a journey with these talented people and help the industry as a whole to develop,” says Paul Knauer, VP Software Engineering, one of the Entersekt leaders involved in the selection of the graduates to participate in the program.
The Entersekt team cannot wait to welcome the graduate group and looks forward to a journey of mutual learning and growth. If you’re graduating in 2023, keep an eye on the Entersekt careers page as applications for the 2024 program open mid-year.