A career in data management
Data management skills are highly sought after in the South African Information Technology (IT) industry, as an increasing number of companies are relying on data accessibility to achieve business objectives, streamline their operations and gain agility – all of which can positively impact their bottom line.
To give more young people a chance to enter this exciting and highly competitive field, Data Management Professionals South Africa (DMP SA) offers an annual internship programme that forms part of its scarce skills development and talent acquisition strategy. The programme actively encourages individuals from diverse backgrounds to apply for available positions at the organisation once they have completed the course.
“As a company, we are serious about developing new talent and giving young people a chance to forge a career in the field of data management. However, the internship programme came about not only to pass on knowledge and skills within the data management field, but to drive work-integrated learning,” says Chris de Bruyn, Head of Training, Risk and Compliance at DMP SA.
“Beyond equipping interns with scarce skills that they can take into the industry, the programme also provides them with experience of working within an organisation and interacting with people.”
This year’s group of interns all successfully completed the programme and 9 were permanently placed with DMP SA to develop their passion for data management into rewarding careers. In the long run, their qualifications will add to the scarce skills talent pool within the IT sector.
Interest in computers
Siyanda Ngobese, who completed this year’s internship programme, says he developed an interest in computers from an early age, which prompted his father to buy him his first machine.
“I was always interested in building computers, so the plan was to follow a career in IT all along. However, working in data management, specifically, is the cherry on top. It is fascinating because it involves managing people’s data which is not only a challenging task, but also exhilarating due to the vast possibilities that this field has to offer,” he says.
Fellow intern Dexter Ndlovu notes that he is particularly passionate about the disaster recovery aspect of data management and helping organisations be ready for any eventuality should an incident occur.
“Whether it is human error or a natural disaster, it is very interesting to be part of a company’s plan to secure and protect its data, laying out the strategy to prevent, mitigate and manage the damage that any type of disaster might cause,” he explains.
Godisang Sepato describes his journey through the internship programme as a transformative experience that taught him many things beyond just the skills needed for data management, but also how to deal with customers.
Expanding skillset and beyond
“The internship not only expanded my skillset, but also shaped my overall vision of practical knowledge within the workplace and also equipped me with soft skills, which has been an invaluable asset as I continue to advance in my data management career,” says Sepato.
Speaking about what advice he would give to the youth who are considering a career in data management, Theunis Kruger says he would strongly encourage them to pursue their journey, as it is a fulfilling and ultimately rewarding career, with long-term prospects.
“I say ‘go for it’. Data management is not a field that is likely to disappear any time soon, so it will be a rewarding career. I would also advise those looking to enter this field to make sure that they at least understand the basics of IT - that knowledge can certainly help,” he concludes.