Learning to program as an alternative to social inclusion

"I wanted to work and knew that in IT I could do it quickly. So at 19 I took a three months course in the NGO ComIT, and after I finished I was offered several jobs, and chose one at Softtek", says Gisela Quiroga, who is now 21 years old and still works in the company of technology solutions and services, performing development and maintenance of applications. At the same time, this young lady, who lives in Ciudad Evita, Buenos Aires, Argentina, with her parents and brothers, is studying Computer Engineering at the University of La Matanza.

Through their areas of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), several local technology companies in Argentina are working to enable young people to find employment in this sector, which suffers a shortage of professionals. It is not, of course, an option to replace university careers but rather a tool for inclusion in sectors of society who do not know the IT as a work option or did not have the resources to approach it naturally.

There are also several NGOs that provide free and short courses such as ComIT. "We do not address poverty because we believe that in that area there are other problems to target previously. But we target people in precarious jobs or whose families are low income and also aim people who have completed high school, because we need a minimum level of logical capacity and do not want for them to abandon formal studies at the prospect of getting skilled labor, "says Pablo Listingart, president of the institution.

Microsoft also conducts in Latin America CSR actions aligned with education. For example, his campaign #YoPuedoProgramar program promotes learning among young people 12-25 years. The courses (free, short-term) are available on their website and were designed in conjunction with specialized organizations such as Code.org, OIJ and ComIT, among others.

"Data from the latest report of the Permanent Observatory of Software Industry and Information Services of Argentina (OPSSI) for 2013 reveal that employment in the sector increased. 63% of companies said they had grown in staff. Despite that, the sector remains around 5000 jobs unfilled. From young graduates of technical schools, to graphic designers, programmers and engineers have opportunities in the industry The technology industry is extremely important for social development. from innovation, infrastructure and communications, to the development of applications, processes and content that may give an answer to the demand for other industries explains José María Louzao, president of the Chamber of Software and Computer Services (CESSI) . Key to this is generating instruments of cooperation with the public and private sector, encourage the formation of qualified human resources in the industry and encourage the study of computer careers that are increasing the contribution that the sector can provide for development to the country."

The issues are raised. Solutions that run on technology companies and NGOs, too. "These initiatives can help alleviate a deteriorating educational situation like the present, but the state is the one who must deal with a more comprehensive solution for youth in general. From our position as NGOs we can help society, but the real impact we have is very low compared to what may have the formal education system as a whole in Argentina"says Listingart.

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