The Akwa Ibom Tech Week 2023, held at the Four Points by Sheraton in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom state, Nigeria, garnered significant attention from tech enthusiasts across the nation who spoke on how to build a sustainable pipeline for the tech ecosystem in Akwa Ibom state.
Focused on the theme “Africa’s New Tech Destination,” the event showcased the potential of the region, positioning it as a burgeoning tech hub, second only to Lagos in Nigeria.
A pivotal panel session addressing the imperative issue of “Building a Sustainable Talent Pipeline” featured notable tech figures such as Aniebiet Udoh, founder of Kodel Hauz, Unyime Tommy, managing partner at Assurdly, Mark Essien, CEO of Hotels.ng, Richmond Bassey, Co-founder of Bamboo, and Idongesit Essien, State Director of the Nigeria Export Promotion Council.
Diving into the heart of the matter, the discussion shed light on challenges within the industry, particularly the pressing need to bridge the gap between the existing skill set and the ever-evolving demands of the tech sphere. Bassey highlighted the difficulties in balancing high-quality technical skills with problem-solving soft skills, emphasizing the competitive market where companies are willing to outspend for top talent.
Communication barriers were brought to the forefront, especially in the context of global offices and virtual meetings. Insights revealed the significance of addressing nuances such as tone, accent comprehension, and optimizing camera and audio settings for effective communication.
Essien proposed a critical strategy for bolstering the tech community, advocating for increased funding and commercial viability in training programs. To ensure sustainable growth, a proposed policy of allocating 10 percent of remote workers’ earnings to fund training initiatives for aspiring tech professionals in Akwa Ibom was put forth.
Standardizing the framework for tech training was another essential point, emphasising the need to evaluate the effectiveness of initial tech training for newcomers. Furthermore, the need for intensified training to nurture junior professionals into senior roles was highlighted as a crucial step for talent development.
Udoh emphasised the significance of sustaining interest and progression in the field, stressing the value of internships to expose individuals to real-world challenges. Additionally, the imperative of deepening one’s knowledge in the long term, rather than prematurely assuming the status of a senior tech expert, was strongly underscored.
In essence, the Akwa Ibom Tech Week 2023 served as a platform for critical discourse, paving the way for a more robust and inclusive tech landscape in Akwa Ibom and Nigeria at large, while addressing key challenges and fostering a culture of continuous learning and growth within the industry.