ThoughtWorks, a multinational software delivery and technology company, has urged the private sector to develop and implement innovative interventions that will help produce better qualified professionals, particularly User Experience (UX) software designers, in order to develop a new breed of professionals to help deliver better software, by starting with addressing chronic skills shortages.
Rob Enslin, Lead Consultant Experience Designer at ThoughtWorks, noted that UX designers are scarce in South Africa. He further said Senior UX designers are going abroad for better career opportunities.
“The industry and Government are not doing enough to reduce the migration or attract the talent back in the country. This poses a serious threat to the country’s ability to compete on an international level and design great software right here in our country.”
“The IT industry is moving at a very fast pace and we cannot afford to lose talent to other countries. Internet users in South Africa, for instance, have increased significantly since the year 2000. This is a clear indication that more experienced UX designers are needed to provide great experience to connected users,” said Enslin.
“The education sector also needs to play its part. The current education system is not geared up to produce graduates that have the relevant skills required in the market. The sector needs to use local experienced UX design professionals to help teach subjects in their related fields, rather than just relying on newly qualified graduates to perform the role. Teaching design in the context of Software development needs to be covered in detail and curriculum material needs to be updated constantly to keep up with developments in the market.”
In other countries such as the United Kingdom and United States, it is much easier to find the qualified UX designers compared to South Africa. ThoughtWorks has taken the first step to bridge this gap by introducing world-class meet up sessions for anyone interested in UX design, in the heart of Johannesburg.
The sessions, dubbed ‘UX Joburg’, provide a platform for designers interested in enhancing their experience in design to come together, learn and share among others, ideas, tools, prototypes, research material, interaction design, user testing and content strategy. This is in line with the World Information Architecture Day taking place on 21 February 2015 that aims to share the common goal of teaching, learning, and shaping the future of Information Architecture, a closely related discipline of UX.
Regular UX Joburg meet-ups are held at ThoughtWorks’ offices in Braamfontein.