Globally, we are currently amidst the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). Characterised by the fusion of the biological, physical, and digital worlds, a new era of technological integration is being ushered in that sees artificial intelligence, robotics, cloud computing, and wireless technologies becoming commonplace in our everyday lives. While pre-2020, Africa lagged in several indicators essential to the success of a digital revolution, the world today is a vastly different place than it was a mere two years ago. As entire economies begin to emerge from the collective tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic, early research seems suggest that COVID-19 has pushed the majority of companies globally over the technology tipping point – ultimately changing the landscape of business and the lives of consumers forever. In a short space of time, the rapid shift from offline to online channels meant that digital adoption took a quantum leap at both organisational and industrial levels.
As online shopping statistics soared, remote working mandates become the norm, online learning truly took centre stage, and the dust finally begins to settle, there is no denying that the digital landscape has forever been transformed. But to truly make the most out of the 4IR and the digital strides gained during COVID-19, there is no denying that Africa will need to take decisive steps to help close the gaps that exist in digital skills and infrastructure on the continent.
The School for Data Science and Computational Thinking – a space fostering excellence
Stellenbosch University launched the School for Data Science and Computational Thinking on 29 July 2019. Aiming to be a world-class institution for data science and computational thinking in and for Africa, since its launch three years ago under the guidance of its director, Prof Kanshukan Rajaratnam, the institution is already widely recognised as a leader in its field. In today’s rapidly changing world, the school aims to play a fundamental role in enhancing South Africa’s competitiveness in the 4IR, with part of the institute’s strategy for excellence being centred on building the capacity in data science and computational thinking through education and training. The school was designed to be a Type 3 academic entity – a research-intensive institute that has a strong academic footprint and as a result, the subject matter covered by school is both immense and diverse. The impressive growth shown by the institute in such a short space of time, suggests that the school is well-positioned to engage collaboratively with like-minded partners, both locally and abroad, to help enhance the institute’s educational strategies and truly bridge the digital skills gap on the continent.
HyperionDev – a well-positioned partner
Founded in 2012, HyperionDev is southern Africa’s largest tech education provider. What began as a small grassroots movement amongst a group of computer science students, has grown to include two physical campuses, several respected university partners, and a comprehensive and robust online education platform. The company’s human-led approach and the level of engagement on the platform forms a critical part of the company’s success. It essentially ensures that HyperionDev equips their students with the necessary skills that allow them to be considered truly capable and qualified candidates in the greater work market. Having successfully launched their first international partner bootcamp with the University of Edinburgh in 2022, the company is well-positioned to act alongside other educational partners to help development their online educational offerings to extend their reach both locally and abroad.
Introducing the three co-branded online bootcamps
Through the School for Data Science and Computational Thinking, HyperionDev in partnership with Stellenbosch University is launching a three co-branded online bootcamps: the Software Engineer Online Bootcamp, the Data Scientist Bootcamp, and the Full Stack Web Developer Bootcamp. While the bootcamps are hosted and presented on HyperionDev’s online learning platform, the School for Data Science and Computational Thinking plays an important role in quality control - ensuring that the content hosted by the platform meets the high educational standards of Stellenbosch University. Furthermore, Innovus - the division of Stellenbosch University responsible for technology transfer, entrepreneurial support and development, and innovation – was an integral part in facilitating the partnership, being involved in both the business and trademark aspects of the co-branding of the bootcamps.
As part of HyperionDev’s mandate in closing the digital skills gap that exists on the continent, the company offers students who are unable to study through platform due to financial constraints various options to improve their access to quality education. This includes access to study loans, partial needs-based scholarships, payment plans, and discretionary discounts.
Paving the road for collaborative excellence
These bootcamps aim to not only allow the School for Data Science and Computational Thinking and Stellenbosch University to develop their capacity for data science and computational thinking but also help bridge the digital skills gap that exists on the continent to help Africa make the most of the 4IR and to be truly part of the global change.
Innovus, Stellenbosch University
15 De Beer Street
PO Box 3135
t +27 (0) 21 808 3826