Presented by Red Hat

How Red Hat helps in South Africa’s IT skills shortage

One of the key challenges to adopting open source technologies in South Africa is the shortage of local skills. Red Hat helps clients overcome this obstacle.

Red Hat is busy with its global roadshow called Red Hat Forum, which recently came to Century City in Cape Town. Red Hat invited a panel of three of its clients to answer questions about their experience of adopting open source software.

The panel was comprised of Derivco technical specialist Lawrence Serfontein, Bayport International DevOps and project delivery lead
Haaike van der Merwe, and Standard Bank enterprise architect Dorain Pretorius.

They were asked what, if any challenges they’ve faced with their Red Hat roll-out and Bayport’s Van der Merwe was given the first opportunity to respond.

“The biggest challenge we faced, is skill,” Van der Merwe said. “There is a shortage of skill in South Africa currently, which everyone is aware of. I think everyone here can relate to that.”

IT skills shortage

One major contributing factor to South Africa’s tech skills shortage is emigration.

For every skilled worker coming to South Africa, eight are leaving. That’s according to statistics from the Department of Home Affairs’ 2017 white paper on emigration, as highlighted by The Enterprise Observatory of South Africa.

To overcome the challenge as a result of the skills shortage, Van der Merwe said they downloaded the community versions of the Red Hat products they wanted to test.

“We saw what we can and can’t do, we knew what we wanted to do, and we approached Red Hat,” he said. They were able to go to Red Hat for help with a clear business case and a well defined list of where they had shortcomings.

“So far it’s worked really well for us,” Van der Merwe said.

Derivco’s Serfontein said that, entirely of their own doing, they found themselves working in isolation. He said that, due to local skills shortage, working on Linux was intimidating for a lot of the teams they engaged with.

“We tried to solve all those problems [by] ourselves, for them,” said Serfontein.

He said they found that the best way to deal with the challenge is to keep the teams they are working with engaged — involve them in the conversation and keep them updated on the project’s progress.

“It just greases the wheels really nicely for when you’re going to do that handover,” said Serfontein.

Pretorius, from Standard Bank, gave advice to others who might be considering using Red Hat’s services.

“You have to leverage your engagement with Red Hat,” said Pretorius.

“A lot of us [customers] think we know better. There’s a lot of knowledge that’s global that you can leverage. It is actually at our fingertips… Leverage the expertise out there.”

This article was published in partnership with Red Hat.

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How Red Hat helps in South Africa’s IT skills shortage