Tezza Academy started in November 2020 and it evolved from what was known as Tezza Boot Camp. We set up a boot camp to help introduce young IT professionals to the field of software testing.
The objective was that, by training them to become certified software testers, we will place them in a Mentoring Program where they shadow experts for about two months of professional field experience; and then they start their careers as testers.
However, in our bid to grow our consulting practice in software testing and product development, we realized that all our clients were faced with the same problem, being the dearth of highly skilled professionals leaving the country for emerging opportunities abroad. At this point, we figured that the boot camp will just not cut the demand, as our clients need highly skilled professionals.
So my partner and CEO Roland Omoresemi decided what we needed was to evolve the boot camp into an academy, where we have a more robust and multidisciplinary curriculum that looks beyond just the software testing skill set but one that comprises IT domains that we specialise in and ensure we build a team of well-focused competent professionals who can serve our clients in all our operating regions in Africa and the US. It was this vision that gave birth to Tezza Academy in November 2020.
Tezza Academy is currently training the second set of professionals to be admitted into the Academy. The first set which was a mix of trainees from Nigeria and Kenya completed a three-month training program in multiple domains such as Software Quality assurance, Customer Experience Management, Test Automation, Software Development Engineering in Test, Performance Testing, Test Data Management, Agile practice, Java Script development, The Consultant Mindset, essential pillars of leadership amongst others. Our goal was to ensure that all our trainees were exposed to about the same level of training, then they now chose their areas of specialization.
Strategic Placements – Addressing the ‘unemployability’ challenge
In terms of success stories, every single one of the 20 trainees who went through that first class has been fully engaged at a client site as a practicing consultant. As a matter of fact, their placements occurred before they graduated from the academy. We have consultants from that class solving problems for clients in the US, Kenya and Nigeria with exceptional client feedback.
In terms of success stories, every single one of the 20 trainees who went through that first class has been fully engaged at a client site as a practicing consultant. As a matter of fact, their placements occurred before they graduated from the academy. We have consultants from that class solving problems for clients in the US, Kenya and Nigeria with exceptional client feedback
One of the significant value propositions, of Tezza Academy is to make sure all our trainees live, breathe, eat, learn and develop within the same facility under one roof. This creates an environment where they challenge and develop themselves and create a harmonized culture. Part of what we do at the Academy is not just train them on technology skills, but expose them to the core ethos of how we do business at Tezza and promote a healthy curiosity mindset which is valuable in helping our clients attain optimal value. At Tezza Academy, we breathe our core, value system, and standard operating procedures into our trainees, and make sure they Learn It, Know It, and Own It. This becomes a fundamental aspect of their professional practice.
Through this, everyone in the academy knows his or her own strengths and weaknesses. They all know how to back up and compensate for each other when it comes to executing their work. This helps us develop a fused multidisciplinary team capable of providing immediate redundancy for every consultant engaged with our clients. This practice has keenly accelerated the competence levels of our trainees such that we have multiple instances where our graduates start outperforming the people that they were shadowing only a month ago. We have trainees who in less than three months after completing their program, have stepped into managerial roles with our clients.
Those are some of the more fundamental testaments that we have from the Academy. We also have testaments from clients in Nigeria and in the US, who have spoken about the quality of the people who came through the Academy and how they have engaged and created real value for them at their various projects. These are written testaments from our clients attesting to the quality of the people that have come out from the Academy.
Tezza is focused on skill development and professional placements
Tezza Academy has largely focused on just the development of highly skilled professionals and working on placing them with valued clients that need these skill sets. In recent times, we started speaking to parties willing to partner with the Academy. People who found out about what we are doing and got interested in helping to develop this vision, expand and scale it, such as the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN). The PFN led a leadership team to the Academy to meet with us and find out what we are doing. They have met with the trainees inside the Academy and they have already made a commitment to partner for the growth and development of the objectives of Tezza Academy, starting this year.
The core importance of the Academy is to develop highly skilled professionals across multiple domains, and have professionals who have multiple competencies. The essence is for us to have a team that can help address the skill gap that we have in Nigeria now and will keep evolving in the years ahead. We also develop custom curricula to address specific client requirements.
The Academy is less than a year old and we are happy with the quality of professionals that we have been able to develop, the level of engagement, their commitment, and their drive towards establishing this vision for building highly competent subject matter experts here in Nigeria.
One of the fundamental aspects of what we are trying to do at Tezza Academy is not limited to developing competence skill gap, but to build, and address some of the social challenges that lead to the exodus of highly skilled professionals in Nigeria.
One of these social challenges is decent, affordable accommodation and the basic infrastructure required to ensure our youths and highly skilled professionals can be truly engaged and able to practice their career here in Nigeria with stable electricity, internet access, and decent and affordable accommodation. Part of what Tezza Academy is putting in place now is providing decent accommodation for those who have graduated from the Academy, such that whilst they are working for Tezza over the next two years after their graduation, they can be engaged and housed in such facilities in comfort.
All these are part of the next steps and the things that the Academy has made a priority. Before the end of the year, we expect that we should be able to get that kick-started.
Jide Modele is the Managing Partner, Tezza Business Solutions