When he was still in school, Sebastian Pérez tried to develop an application with his classmates. That experience and the influence of his older brothe r, who works in the field of technology, reaffirmed his enthusiasm for the digital world. Today he is 19 and is in the fourth semester of Software Development Technology at the Pascual Bravo University Institution, with a scholarship from Sapiencia, the Higher Education Agency of Medellín.
“I have found it to be a wonderful experience. Both Sapiencia and the university have been very attentive to my process. In the future, I see myself with many capabilities for a good job opportunity and to continue lear ning much more,” says Sebastián.
According to the Ruta N Medellín website, the Fedesoft Observatory and the Colombian Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies the country will require some 200,000 specialists in everything related to inform ation technologies by 2025. These professionals are the support of the so called 4.0 industry, digital transformation or Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Likewise, there is a demand for developers, data scientists and experts in topics such as agile devel opment methodologies, mobile applications and engineering focused on Artificial Intelligence. “The most enabling skills in the IT industry continue to be programming languages, operating systems, databases, everything related to ubiquitous computing and da ta analysis, explains Javier Fernández,” Director of Ruta N.
On his part, Carlos Alberto Chaparro, Director of Sapiencia Medellín, indicates that one of the most important skills todays is the ability to work in a team and to create synergies. In addition, the understanding of all types of texts, an adequate level of English and handling of information, in other words, knowing how to use information in a practical manner are also essential. In addition, it is mandatory to strengthen citizenry components “It is not enough that we train a functional workforce, useful for work, if they do not have skills to relate to others. We must educate good people,” Chaparro points out.
Innovation is not an area or a division. It is what we do every day to change the ways in which we behave.”Javier Fernández, Director of Ruta N.
Daniela Rodríguez is 25 years old and she is a health administrator. Although she began her professional career in this area, she found a new passion that she decided to explore. “I attended a forum on women’s participation in science and technology where we were encou raged to be part of that industry. I started to go to the free meet ups and study programming languages on my own. I liked it more and more and I looked for alternatives to study,” says Daniela.
That’s how Daniela found the Fondo Sumanti, a funding fund for education in specialized talent, focused on technology and innovation. A program of Ruta N, Sura Asset Management, Comfama and Protección that, in turn, connects students to the needs of companies in the sector, thus favoring employability.
“In this case, the agreement was with the Evertec company. I had the opportunity to study in the virtual platform, with the advice of those who work in the company, who guided the skills to be acquired. Then there was a practical part of challenges to be developed. And a huge plus was the possibility of staying in the company if one finished successfully,” says Daniela. And that’s how it was for her: “It was worth it. For me personally this process brought me quality of life. In the company human quality is spectacular, and they value people.”
Just like this, there are several organizations looking for local talent. In 2020, with support of and advisement from ACI Medellín, some 24 companies have settled in the city. And with the help of Ruta N, Sapiencia, higher education institutions and other entities, there’s support focus on specialized training for young people in the city.
These joint efforts responded to one of the strategies of the Medellín Development Plan, which aims to consolidate the city as a Software Valley, with decided support from organizations such as the ACI Medell í n, in charge of the international projection of the project.
The city’s talent is preparing to take on the challenges of the 4.0 industry.
Photo: Pioneras Dev. archive.
One of Ruta N’s strategic programs is the Talent and Employability program, which links business demands to the skills of the city’s youth and their intentions to be employed, as well as to generate employment and entrepreneurship. We start from the fact that quality employment generates quality of life. Ruta N’s premise is the transformation of the ecosystem to generate greater wellbeing, emphasizes Javier Fernández, Director of the corporation.
“A colleague from the University told us he had seen the call. We thought ‘That must be a lie! How are they going to hire people without experience? We looked for the inform ation, we went to the meeting at Ruta N and that’s how it all started,” remembers Valeria Granado, a fourth semester IT student at the University of Antioquia and currently a junior developer at Evertec.
Through the Fondo Sumanti and its alliance with Ev ertec, Valeria studied programming. “First it was about studying and learning the language, then applying what was learned to develop some challenges posed by the company. Thanks to that, I’m at Evertec. It has been an enriching experience every day I learn something new. I feel very good and it is my first job,” says Valeria.
It is important to be able to make that transition from being consumers of technology to being creators of technology. Understanding that logic and programmi ng languages are the basis for empowering talent and creating our own models.”Marian Villa, CEO Pioneras Dev.
Carlos Chaparro, director of Sapiencia, explains that the Technology Scholarship initiative, a program in agreement with the educational institutions of the municipal and departmental level, is being redirected to digital industry programs. Likewise, the core of the strategy is the Training of specialized talent, articulated by Sapiencia and companies of the 4.0 industry. There will be 50,000 scholarships for citizens of Medellín. With three months of theoretical training and two of labor insertion, underscores the director. The above in lines such as programming and software development, big data, Blockchain, precision agriculture, fashion 4.0, art and digital animation.
Another experience is that of Lina Xiomara Redondo, 21, a sixth semester student of Technology in Community Management and a scholarship holder at Sapiensa. She is currently doing her professional internship at Cementos Argos’ Rio Claro plant. “Here I accompany community processes, education and training, and programs for corporate change. In my career I gained a lot of knowledge, it has administrative, environmental and technological components, everything that is required for a contextual understanding and for working in society,” she says.
During the mandatory isolation, Lina also took the opportunity to complement her training and advance in the courses on the @Medellín platform, Ciudadela Universitaria Digital on: Entrepreneurship Environmental Sustainability; Victim Care; Citizenship and Democracy, and Biosecurity. “All very relevant, which contribute to the training and improvement of the human being. I recommend the platform because the tutors are very attentive. There is space for interaction, forums, asking questions… we are not there for a grade, we are there for learning,” says Lina.
Sapiencia’s D irector, Carlos Chaparro, says the idea is that @Medellín will move from being a platform to a digital community that will house the city’s digital training programs, with both public and private offerings. The initiative will also include several other actors from the private sector. Thus, education is renewed and is a fundamental pillar in the consolidation of Medellín as a Software Valley and the city as a great ecosystem of innovation.
Through different workshops and meet up s the community of Pioneras Dev. shares its knowledge before the pandemic it was a face to face networking.
Photo: Pioneras Dev. archive.
Innovation with Inclusion
Approximately, only 3 out of 10 IT jobs are held by women. It is precisely to give women a leading role in this area and to close these gaps that Pioneras Dev was created. “It was very difficult to find my peers. I wanted to connect with women who might have my same interests and motivations, because I love technology and I was always the minority. I wanted to identify women who were doing amazing things to have them as role models, someone to look up to co create etc.” says Marian Villa, CEO of Pioneras Dev.
“Pioneras initially emerged as a community of knowledge and by 2017 it was transformed as an NGO and non profit entity. Currently, it is making a transition in to a social enterprise, one that works with training and connecting talent with IT companies, especially wo men. We have different training programs such as the meetups (which are free), workshops and bootcamps which are training programs in various technologies. Soon we will be announced as a training institution of the Fondo Sumanti,” says the CEO.
Marian Villa describes Pioneras as a life changing experience through which many women were able to find employment opportunities. “For me it meant finding a purpose. I began to take a more active role and realized that many women did not have the same privileg es. Knowing that you are helping them change their lives is fulfilling,” she says. The CEO also points out that the McKinsey Global Gender Gap study shows that countries around the world that invest in diversity and inclusion policies can increase their GD P by up to 11%.
On the other hand, the COVID 19 pandemic also demanded new perspectives and skills in the digital landscape. “We must understand that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is above all an educational, social and economic transformation, which willgenerate new forms of work. Ruta N, as a center of innovation and business, is projected towards the territory as a creator of opportunities and proposes a comprehensive digital transformation,” concludes its director Javier Fernández.
In this way, each story, each individual who had the opportunity to expand his or her capabilities and be trained in digital issues represents the joint efforts of various institutions such as Ruta N, Sapiencia, ACI Medellín, which believe in education as the foundation of the Mayor’s great commitment to turn Medellín into a Software Valley, well know n around the world and which generates opportunities for the community.