A team of final year BCom Informatics students at the University of Pretoria has won a Women in IT award sponsored by the Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA) for an outstanding final year project.
The new IITPSA Women in IT award is intended to boost the profile of IT as a career choice for young women in South Africa. “IITPSA has a focus on addressing the South African IT skills gap, and in particular, it seeks to encourage more girls and women to enter the IT field,” says Tony Parry, CEO of the IITPSA. “This award, along with numerous other development initiatives, forms part of our efforts to encourage and reward young women entering the IT industry.”
Says Dr. Lizette Weilbach, co-ordinator of the final year project: “The award is a generous one and certainly encourages the young women on the course.” She notes that there are still fewer females than males studying informatics, with around 30% of the students now female. “The numbers are picking up, but we would like to see more young women entering this field,” she says.
The team winning the IITPSA Women in IT award came second overall in the final year project, but was the only all-girl team competing. “As Honours students, their solution was quite advanced and industry ready, and met the needs of the client,” she says. Their project delivered an end to end nursery management solution with plant management, mobile and ordering features. The team comprised Nadine Ferreira; Nicole Davisson; Jessica Munro; Nandipha Dilla and Lanné du Preez.
The BCom (Informatics) degree offered by the University of Pretoria is the only degree in Africa that is internationally accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) of the USA. Dr Weilbach says the university’s course is deliberately structured to offer hands-on practical training and real world experience, in which students undertake real world projects for real clients, and must learn to present their solutions to industry stakeholders, to ensure that they are industry ready on graduation.