In a world where technology is the driving force behind innovation and progress, mentorship plays a pivotal role in shaping the tech leaders of tomorrow. On August 30, 2023, St. Joseph's Rapogi Secondary School, under the dedicated guidance of Mr. Boaz Otieno, embarked on a journey of mentorship with a visit to the Oracle Kenya office. The day was filled with insights for students on Oracle as a technology company and its education initiatives, knowledge-sharing, and the realization of the profound impact of mentorship on personal and professional growth. St. Josephs Rapogi is a boys’ school located in Uriri, Migori County in Nyanza, with the motto ‘sharpening for the future’.
Lorna Juma, Oracle Academy Program Manager, opened the session by introducing the 37 students to Oracle Academy and the foundational courses available, including Database Foundations, Java Fundamentals, and Java Foundations. These courses provide an excellent starting point for students to build their technical expertise in Java and database. The Oracle Academy Java curriculum pathway is designed to facilitate the gradual growth of students' object-oriented programming knowledge and skills, encompassing everything from foundational basics to advanced expertise.
The Oracle Academy database curriculum pathway provides students with a practical, hands-on approach that commences with fundamental concepts like database design, SQL, and PL/SQL. As students progress through this pathway, they gain proficiency in using cloud-based technologies such as Oracle Autonomous Database and Oracle APEX to apply their database knowledge in real-world scenarios. This comprehensive journey equips them with the skills and expertise they need to excel in the dynamic field of database management and other technology careers.
The mentorship session featured three esteemed speakers from the Oracle Kenya office, each delivering invaluable insights to the visiting students.
Duncan Eric Ogonji, Principal Cloud Adoption Manager, who was the guest-speaker, took the stage to discuss the top 5 knowledge and skills areas essential for success in the tech industry today:
1. Cybersecurity: Duncan emphasized that cybersecurity is crucial for safeguarding digital assets and maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of data. It's not only about protecting against cyberattacks but also about ensuring business continuity and reputation management. With organizations increasingly relying on digital infrastructure, there is a growing demand for cybersecurity professionals. This field offers a range of opportunities, including ethical hacking, security analysis, incident response, and more.
2. Cloud computing: Duncan highlighted the transformative nature of cloud computing. It enables organizations to scale their operations, enhance flexibility, and reduce infrastructure costs. As more businesses migrate to the cloud, there’s a high demand for experts who can design, manage, and optimize cloud solutions. Cloud architects, administrators, and engineers are sought-after roles in this domain.
3. Data: Duncan stressed that data is the cornerstone of modern decision-making. It’s not just about collecting data but also about analyzing it to gain actionable insights. Data-driven decisions can lead to improved business strategies and outcomes. Data-related roles include data analysts, data scientists, and data engineers. These professionals work with data to uncover patterns, make predictions, and inform strategic choices.
4. Analytics: He discussed the importance of analytics in extracting valuable insights from data. It involves using tools and techniques to process and interpret data, enabling organizations to make informed decisions. Analytics is applied in various domains, including marketing analytics, financial analytics, and operational analytics. Professionals in this field develop models, perform statistical analysis, and create data visualizations.
5. Artificial intelligence and machine learning: Duncan highlighted the significance of artificial intelligence and machine learning as cutting-edge technologies. They involve training computers to learn from data and make predictions or decisions. AI and ML have diverse applications, from chatbots and recommendation systems to autonomous vehicles and medical diagnosis. Careers in this field include machine learning engineers, AI researchers, and data scientists.
These five areas represent the core pillars of expertise in the tech industry today. Each offers unique career paths and opportunities for those who are willing to delve into these domains and stay current with the latest advancements. Duncan’s insights served as a roadmap for students looking to navigate the ever-evolving tech landscape successfully.
Thomas Diero, Senior Client Manager, License Management Services, EMEA, presented the “Four Stages of Competence” as a roadmap for personal and professional development:
1. Unconscious incompetence: This stage is marked by not knowing what you don't know—a phase of exploration and discovery.
2. Conscious incompetence: Here, you become aware of what you don't know, a pivotal moment that drives learning.
3. Conscious competence: You reach a stage where you know what you know and hone your skills through practice and experience.
4. Unconscious competence: Finally, skills become second nature, like instinct.
Thomas also emphasized the importance of a continuous learning mindset, encouraging students to believe in their dreams and seek out mentors.
Marion Karanja, Principal Technology Solution Engineer, gave the students an overview of Oracle as a leading global technology company that offers a comprehensive suite of solutions that cater to a wide range of business needs and challenges. These solutions are designed to empower organizations across various industries to thrive in the digital age. She also highlighted the transformative power of mentorship, emphasizing the significance of being mentored by someone with industry experience, and highlighting the pivotal role mentorship plays in achieving success across various fields. Having a mentor with substantial industry knowledge can provide indispensable guidance as the mentee leverages their insights, from navigating the professional landscape to learning about strategies that have proven effective.
The Oracle Kenya team’s commitment to nurturing young talent and fostering a passion for technology is commendable. By focusing on cutting-edge technology curriculum and industry-relevant skills, Oracle Academy ensures that students are well-prepared to be at the forefront of technological innovation. This benefits not only the students but also contributes to the growth and development of both communities and the technology sector worldwide.