In today’s data-driven world, effective data management practices have become imperative for organizations to make informed decisions. It is in this light that Rwanda ICT Chamber in collaboration with Cenfri and the Mastercard Foundation, undertook a pioneering Data Management training project. This initiative aimed to equip young professionals with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in the field of data management.
A Wave of Enthusiastic Applicants
The call for data management training applications, posted on social media from October 25th to November 8th, 2022, received an overwhelming 1,267 applications. Of the applicants, 67.48% were male, 32.52% were female. They came from various educational backgrounds and levels of education: 881 had bachelor’s degrees, 92 held master’s degrees, and 294 had completed secondary education. The applicants varied from mathematicians, statisticians, to economists. This shows a strong interest in data management among young professionals.
A Comprehensive Approach
The Data Management training initiative was a combination of online and in-person learning methods that emphasized on the practical rather than the theoretical teaching and learning process.
Online learning session: Shaping Future Data Professionals
The training kicked off with a one-month online model training on the iHUZO Academy’s platform which facilitated flexible, self-paced learning from 5th January to 31st January 2023. All applicants immersed themselves in the courses that were made available on the iHUZO academy’s online platform. The trainees were expected to cover all introductory courses for six courses; data engineering, privacy law, business intelligence, SQL, econometrics, and the art of crafting insightful presentations. Among those who took online sessions, 118 completed the courses and were thereafter given real-world projects to work on for them to apply what learned online. After evaluations, 59 trainees were the best performers and were therefore invited to continue with the in-person part of the training.
In-Person learning sessions
Starting from May 2023, N@tcom Services Ltd conducted an in-person data management training program. The diverse cohort of 59 trainees (18 females and 41 males, 3 of these individuals being people with disabilities) started the in-person classes. The Data Engineering, Data Strategy, and Data Governance class was composed of 19 trainees (4 females and 15 males). The Business Intelligence and Econometric class consisted of 19 trainees (4 females and 15 males). The Data Privacy Law and Protection class, which was conducted in collaboration with the CERTA Foundation, was composed of 21 trainees (10 females and 11 males). These sessions were not just theoretical; they were also practical. Participants honed technical skills, navigated real-world challenges, and bridged the gap between theoretical knowledge and its practical application.
During the three long month training, the trainees were categorized into 3 classes. The first class is the Data Engineering class. They covered topics in Data Engineering, Data Strategy and Data Governance. They have acquired technical skills such as automation of Extract, Load, Transform (ELT) processes, and the construction of data lakes and warehouses, the data strategy and governance framework that navigated the complex data landscape, focusing on leveraging data for informed decision-making, safeguarding data assets, and uncovering key business questions.
The second class was the Data Privacy Law and Protection class which thoroughly explored the nuances of safeguarding personal and sensitive data privacy, while also addressing the legal and ethical boundaries of data protection, with a specific emphasis on the Rwanda Data Privacy and Protection Law that was enforced on 15th October 2023.
The third class was the Business Intelligence and Econometric class which covered the business intelligence course that provided the fundamentals of data mining, as well as techniques for visualization and reporting, and econometrics which bridged the gap between data and economics, teaching participants how to apply statistical methods to economic data in order to provide informed insights from data they analyze.
At the end of the in-person learning sessions, trainees were given real-world projects to work on in the 4 priority sectors of the Private Sector Data Acceleration Program namely agriculture, tourism, education, and trade.
Data Privacy & Protection
(Left to right) Mr.Micheal Butera (CERTA), Jean Damascene Niyonsenga (DPO trainee), Ms.Isobel Acquah (CERTA), Mr.Alex Ntale (ICT Chamber), Mr.Kevine Bajeneza (Natcom Service Ltd) during graduation ceremony at Career Center.
On graduation day held on 2nd August 2023 at the Career Center, the trainees were given their certification of completion. During the ceremony, trainees from each class represented their peers by making presentations showcasing the knowledge and skills acquired during their training and their relevance to companies. The presentations were on the following topics:
Mr. Alex Ntale, the CEO of Rwanda ICT Chamber commended the efforts of the organizing team and also recognized the outstanding performance of the trainees throughout the program. He echoed that this was the first fruit of collaboration between CERTA and Rwanda ICT Chamber. With Tech businesses on the rise in the ecosystem, this program is instrumental as a first movers advantage for the ICT Chamber, hence a call to action to further leverage data to build a vibrant tech industry.In essence, this training program is more than a curriculum; it’s a catalyst for change. It’s the bridge that transforms enthusiasts into experts, theory into practice, and companies into data-driven pioneers. As these graduates step into the world of data, they carry with them not just knowledge, but the power to shape the future.
A New Chapter: Data Fellow in Action
To further support the trained individuals, the top 20 performers were granted professional internships in esteemed companies such as RSwitch, EAX Exchange, Pivot Access, and Centrika giving them an opportunity to apply their newfound skills. The fellows are integral to companies that are shaping the data management landscape. The hands-on experience is not only enriching their understanding but also propelling them towards a future where data is not just a resource, but a driving force. From the remarkable journey, some of the fellows shared their testimonies which portrayed a silver lining for the future of data management in the Rwandan ecosystem.
Data Protection Officer fellow
“It was a rewarding experience to take the data protection course as a lawyer and ardent supporter of data sovereignty. It not only expanded my comprehension of the complex legal issues surrounding data protection but also sharpened my grasp of the significance of the idea of data sovereignty. In today’s data-driven world, having a thorough understanding of the laws, rules, and international agreements governing data privacy is crucial, and the course gave me that knowledge. I also became aware of the importance of harmonizing legal procedures with the overarching objectives of safeguarding personal information and privacy. This new information enables me to make greater contributions. As the world becomes more linked and dependent on data, it has become more successful at developing data protection rules, bridging the gap between legal competence and national interests, and promoting data sovereignty.
Business intelligence analyst fellow
The Private Sector Data Intelligence Acceleration Program, has sharpened my capabilities as a business intelligence analyst, developed my analytical acumen, and enhanced my practical application of the knowledge I gained through working with a well-established company. This has honed my ability to translate complex datasets into actionable insights, enhancing effectiveness in my career as a Business Intelligence analyst.
Data engineer fellow
My experience as a trainee in the Private Sector Data Intelligence Acceleration Program at Rwanda ICT Chamber was truly transformative. The training has not only equipped me with essential technical skills but also instilled in me a deep understanding of the practical applications of data in the real world.I am immensely grateful for the guidance and support I received from the skilled professionals at ICT Chamber, which has significantly shaped my career trajectory
In the age of information, data management has become an essential investment for organizations looking to leverage their data for growth and success. This data management training enhanced the knowledge of data engineers and business intelligence analysts so that they can contribute to enabling businesses to have the right infrastructures, make data-driven decisions, and remain compliant with relevant regulations.