How Semos Education makes young Macedonians fit for international markets
Semos Computers Education Center has been working in collaboration with the Employment Agency of the Republic of North Macedonia since 2017. Semos Education is an accredited training provider for the ISTQB® (International Software Testing Qualification Board ) Certified Tester Scheme. During 2020, 130 participants will be trained in the foundations of software testing and agile techniques. At the end of the training, participants need to pass an exam to gain the official ISTQB® certification. As a global provider of certifications, iSQI guarantees assessment against the robust international quality standard for certifying individuals. iSQI talked to Valentina Taseva, CEO at Semos Education, about the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) market in North Macedonia, associated training and the software testing profession.
iSQI: Valentina, you know the market in North Macedonia very well. The country is looking to Europe with the hope to attract investors. What are Macedonia’s strengths?
Valentina: With an annual growth rate less than 8 percent over the last several years, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector in North Macedonia is a promising area for foreign investors. The ICT sector in North Macedonia benefits from a skilled and cost-effective workforce with excellent English language skills, solid telecommunications infrastructure, and low corporate tax. ICT representatives expect the sector will continue to grow.
The total ICT market value in North Macedonia was an estimated USD 400 million in 2018. Hardware is the largest segment. ICT services are the second largest segment followed by software. Many large ICT companies are present in North Macedonia via branch offices, distributors, dealers, resellers, solution providers, and business partners.
iSQI: That sounds very compelling. Seems that there are many well educated people in the country!
Valentina: Indeed! And many young ones. The recent survey from it.mk showed in the terms of age, 60% are between the ages of 25-34, while the degree of education is usually a graduate degree.
The overall objective of the project with the Employment Agency is to integrate young people in the labor market. The target group of the activities are young people up to the age of 35 registered at Employment Agency as active job seekers. Our trainings in advanced IT skills demanded on the labor market increased the employability of the participants and provided them opportunities to increase occupational skills and to obtain qualifications for specific jobs demanded on the labor market. That is, I think, the reason why our project is so successful.
iSQI: Can you explain this in more detail?
Valentina: The purpose of these training sessions is to enable unemployed people to be motivated, requalified and actively involved in the job market, while at the same time mastering the IT skills and knowledge that would benefit them in their job search. The participants have prospects for a new career, better job opportunities, higher salaries, and a chance to be competitive on the international market. At the same time, employers (companies and institutions) benefit from easier access to qualified, trained and certified employees. Government will benefit from a decrease in the unemployment rate. The main benefit are the job opportunities in IT companies, where with the new qualifications they achieved will benefit with higher salaries.
With their integration in the labor market the gap between the demand and offer will be bridged and employers will have more opportunities to employ people with deficient IT skills. The project offers many benefits to all the stakeholders involved.
iSQI: What role do iSQI’s certificates play and how do you see the future of software testers?
Valentina: The demand for software testers in Macedonia in the last 2 to 3 years is high and seems to be growing. Due to the large number of foreign companies in our country that have very serious projects, this profession is executed at a high level and by world standards. There is more room for software testers on our market, and lately we can notice many programmers turn into testers. The IT sector in Macedonia started to request iSQI certificates while recruiting their QA employees. They set the standards where the passed exams and achieved certificates are valued asset in their career.
We have many success stories from trainees who have attended ISTQB trainings, started with manual testing and then continued with automation testing. The many requests that we received from our clients for advanced level ISTQB trainings showed us that there is an opportunity for bringing new products to our portfolio.
|Main activities of SEMOS Education are:|
|◆ Trainings for advanced IT skills, where 28% trainings are delivered in foreign countries
◆ Training and counselling for entrepreneurship
◆ Training in job search and readiness skills and
◆ Internship Program
◆ New office in Serbia from 2019, first traininigs for iSQi certificates delivered in January 2020
iSQI: How do you see the development in the IT sector in the coming years?
Valentina: IT sector is one of the fastest growing technology markets and is set to significantly transform the way we perceive different aspects of life. In Macedonia, the IT sector is becoming one of the several innovative sectors across the country. By its very nature, tech is an innovation-driven industry, making it the ideal playground for business owners and entrepreneurs who are looking to change the world.
iSQI: Thank you, Valentina. We are pleased to collaborate with you in the projects with the Employment Agency and look forward to continuing and expanding our collaboration.
CEO & Owner, Semos Education, Macedonia
Valentina Taseva is an established entrepreneur with over 22 years of experience founding and managing IT training and certification companies in Southeast Europe. She is the CEO of Semos Education in Macedonia and Serbia, a renowned ICT training center, and ClearView, a management training center, as well as owner of Certiadria, a certification center for ICT skills certifications in 12 countries regionally. She earned an MBA from IEDC-Poslovna šola Bled. In 2018 Valentina Taseva was part of Fortune -U.S. Department of State Global Women Mentoring Program. Her most significant award was in 2011 when she received European Bank for Reconstruction and Development – Winner of woman in business award.
The main task of Semos Education is developing a wide range of courses designed for various end users with a different level of computer technology knowledge in offices in Macedonia and Serbia, as well as delivering trainings globally across Norway, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Romania, KSA.
Special attention is given to the cooperation with companies and institutions, organizing a customized training for them, focusing on their needs and their internal development. Semos Education also acts as a service for educational support for companies in the region. Equipped with sophisticated information technology and highly educated and experienced training staff, Semos Education sets the standards in education quality.
In the past several years Semos Education successfully finished many projects with cooperation with the Employment Agency. Below are mentioned all the projects that included ISTQB official trainings and certifications.
|Project: January 2017 – July 2017, 202 attendances (4 LOTS)
➔ MICROSOFT official courses for MCSD: Web Applications (.NET C#) – 30 attendances
➔ ORACLE official courses for MySQL for Developers with PHP and Python – 30 attendances
➔ ISTQB official courses for Quality Assurance Software Testers – 30 attendances
|Project: June 2017 – November 2017; “Component B – Trainings for Advanced IT Skills” Direct Grant Award Contract “Supporting Employment of Young People”
➔ ORACLE/Java Official Training for Java Programmer SE8, 110 unemployed young
people up to age 29
➔ ISTQB official training for ISTQB Tester, for 110 unemployed young people up to age 29
|Project: February 2018 – November 2018
➔ ORACLE official trainings Java SE 8 Programmer – 70 attendances
➔ ISTQB official trainings for ISTQB Software Tester – 30 attendances
|Project with Employment Agency and World Bank: May 2018 – August 2018
➔ ORACLE official trainings Java SE 8 Programmer – 50 attendances
➔ ISTQB official trainings for ISTQB Software Tester – 50 attendances
|The running project in 2020 includes in total 90 attendances for ISTQB official trainings and certifications:
➔ ISTQB official trainings for ISTQB Software Testers – 40 attendances
➔ ISTQB official trainings for Automation Tester – 50 attendances