The Institute for Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA) has awarded a team of final year BCom Informatics students at the University of Pretoria with a Women in IT award for their outstanding final year project.

The new IITPSA Women in IT award is intended to boost the profile of IT as a career choice for young women in South Africa. “IITPSA has a focus on addressing the South African IT skills gap, and in particular, it seeks to encourage more girls and women to enter the IT field,” said Tony Parry, CEO of the IITPSA.  “This award, along with numerous other development initiatives, forms part of our efforts to encourage and reward young women entering the IT industry.”

Dr Lizette Weilbach, co-ordinator of the final year project, said “The award is a generous one and certainly encourages the young women on the course.” She noted that there are still fewer females than males studying informatics, with only 30 per cent of the students being female. “The numbers are picking up, but we would like to see more young women entering this field,” she said.

The team winning the IITPSA Women in IT award came second overall in the final year project, but was the only all-girl team competing. “As Honours students, their solution was quite advanced and industry ready, and met the needs of the client,” she said. The project delivered an end-to-end nursery management solution with plant management, mobile and ordering features. The team comprised Nadine Ferreira, Nicole Davisson, Jessica Munro, Nandipha Dilla and Lanné du Preez.

The BCom (Informatics) degree offered by the University of Pretoria is the only degree in Africa that is internationally accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) of the USA. Dr Weilbach said the program is deliberately structured to offer hands-on practical training and real-world experience, in which students undertake real world projects for real clients and must present their solutions to key stakeholders to ensure that they are industry ready at graduation.