The announcement coincides with today’s opening of registrations for next year’s intake. The Cape Town-based academy will also open a campus in Gauteng next year to accommodate its expanding student base.
“We opened the Academy in January this year with 100 interns. Growing local demand for data scientists, however, has propelled us to quadruple the number of internships offered in 2019,” Says Shaun Dippnall, EDSA co-founder, “These internships are sponsored by South African corporates drawn largely from the ICT, banking, insurance and retail sectors.”
Part of the reason why EDSA has been able to quadruple its intake of interns is thanks to funding injection from BCX, which is also a founding partner of the initiative. According to the company, the investment has largely been fuelled by the growing demand for big data analytics, with a significant need for this skill set within the country.
“Data analytics is a field with the potential to grow the South African economy to new heights. We expect our efforts in the market to contribute to the overall growth of the ICT sector, which is estimated to be at a market size of R155 billion by 2020,” enthused Portia Maurice, BCX’s chief social impact officer.
In order to cater for the expected increase in interns, EDSA is expanding from its base operations at the Bandwidth Barn in Woodstock, Cape Town, to an additional campus in Gauteng, although the location for the new venue has not been mentioned as of yet.
“Corporate demand for data science talent has been immense and given that most of our sponsors for our 2019 student intake are Johannesburg based, it makes sense to provide a campus in Gauteng, facilitating the flow of candidates into their businesses. Also, more than half of our current students are not from Cape Town and chose to relocate to be here for the programme,” noted Dippnall.
The programme’s organisers are pleased with the progress made by its current intake of interns and the success of the Academy’s online application process.
“We have had a 98 percent retention rate, which is extremely high, given the complex and highly technical nature of the course,” adds Dippnall.
There are also no restrictions to entry, nor are any formal qualifications required for the programme. According to EDSA, of the 100 interns selected from the over 10 000 who applied for the 2018 intake, 32 were matriculants, with no previous training.
That said, applicants should be between 17 and 35 years of age and must pass a series of challenging aptitude tests, an on-line data science boot camp, a case study and an interview process.