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Jessica Hawkey Training Developers

Jessica Hawkey in an interview on Training developers

In this recipe, redAcademy MD Jessica Hawkey talks about training developers at a pace that keeps up with industry advances.

The managing director of redAcademy, Jessica Hawkey, is an inspiring example of someone who found her way into her passion through career and life experiences.

She started her career in financial services at State Street Poland, one of the world’s leading providers of financial services to institutional investors, where she was responsible for the launch and training of the Asset Manager Services division in the country. From there she joined the Carrick group, an award-winning offshore wealth management organisation, in the position of general manager of operations.

Having realised the massive opportunity that lies in the development of software engineers, she founded redAcademy, an innovative skills- and career-development hub that aims to address two pressing challenges in South Africa: youth unemployment and the shortage of software development skills.

10 Tasty Bites

  • Where Did Your Passion For Development And Software Come From?
    I started off my career in financial services. I started off in a new team in asset management and there I was involved in training and development, and I realised what an opportunity there is for growth for individuals to drive their careers.

  • How Has The Personal Transformation Been From Working In Financial Services To A Startup?
    The transition was natural for me. I was involved in operations in my previous role where I was exposed to the marketing side of things, the training side of things, as well as software teams – these are all things that translate into this new business venture.

  • How Does redAcademy Train Software Developers?
    We graduate students as junior software developers. However, they might want to go into the leadership space, or into testing spaces. There is such a demand in the environment at the moment that I think the opportunities are endless to mould your career after learning in an academy.

  • What Are The Qualities Of An Entrepreneur?
    My skill set lies in bringing teams together and in leading individuals. When I have an idea, I have a strategic vision of how to incorporate it, how to bring it to life. It’s about living and breathing that idea and that’s something that I enjoy doing.

  • Do Tech Entrepreneurs Need To Understand Coding?
    Not all tech entrepreneurs need to understand code. It depends on what your role is. It is more important to understand how code impacts your environment, how code and technology impact the area that you’re operating in, how it impacts your business and the industry as a whole.

  • What Are The Most Important Languages For Aspiring Software Engineers To Learn?
    As an aspiring software engineer, it’s important to start with the most widely used languages. I think this lays the foundation and gives you the basis to start your career. It also gives you the best opportunities for employment.

  • What Are The Primary Problems In The Tech Ecosystem?
    One of the primary problems that we’re facing in the tech ecosystem at the moment is the shortage of skills. 

  • How Can South African Entrepreneurs Find Local Talent?
    Training in software has a twofold outcome benefit, in that it offers young people in South Africa the opportunities they need and it meets the country’s demand for skilled developers.

  • Why Is It Important To Train The Youth Of South Africa To Be Software Developers?
    Having the facts and figures of youth unemployment, and knowing what the opportunity in the market is in the form of demand for software developers.

  • How Does redAcademy Develop Individuals?
    We found that training individuals and helping them grow are as important as spending time reflecting with them on how far they’ve come in the early stages of each intake.

About this recipe on training developers

South Africa has a staggering youth unemployment rate and a crippling shortage of skilled software developers. The solution seems obvious, but it’s taken a financial services professional to come up with a training model that addresses both challenges.

Here the MD of redAcademy reflects on her own entrepreneurship journey, as well as the reality that young people’s training needs extend beyond coding languages. She speaks passionately about the imperative of helping others to believe in themselves, and why it takes facts and figures to turn a vision into reality.

What You’ll Learn

This recipe reveals Jessica Hawkey’s views on entrepreneurship, the state of the local software development industry and the origins of the training philosophy on which redAcademy is founded.

You will gain advice on how to approach a career in software development, how much tech entrepreneurs should (or should not) understand about coding, and the knock-on effects of the skills shortage in the tech industry.

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