Saturday, April 20, 2024

Absa Data Science Hackathon unveils talent

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By BENEDICT TEMBO

Chilekwa Banda’s participation in the Absa Data Science Hackathon was an incredible moment that has ledt an insellible mark in her life.
She had the opportunity to share her knowledge and expertise in the digital financialsServices industry by providing insights around the future of data science and digital finance with an audience at different levels and stages of their careers.
“At the moment, the number of women innovators in Zambia is very low as can be seen even from the participation in the ABSA hackathon and the Women in Technology Network wants to change the narrative by promoting more women in innovation as well as data science and off course technology,” said 38-year-old Ms Banda.
As a member of the Women in Technology Network, Ms Banda says it was rewarding to see a female emerge as one of the top three winners.
“[It was] an absolute honour to witness an important event such as this. It fits into our mandate to increase women’s participation and promote gender inclusion and diversity for equal access to technology,” she said.
Ms Banda holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computing and Information Systems from the Zambia Centre for Accountancy Studies.
With 15 solid years of experience in digital finance and highly skilled in mobile device management, Fintech and banking, she is currently pursuing a Certification for Digital Finance Practitioners under the Digital Frontiers Institute.
Timothy Chimfwembe, one of the three top dogs at the Absa Data Science Hackathon feels great about his participation.
Chimfwembe, a 27-years-old civil engineer from the University of Zambia is a self-taught data scientist.
“I learnt data science from videos on the internet. This is something I am really passionate about. So just having the recognition means everything to me,” he said.
For Shadreck Simumba, participation in the ABSA data science hackathon him provided a great learning moment to explore new skills and tools.
“It also provided an opportunity to improve on the skills. Especially presentation and communication. It also provided an opportunity to learn and network from the experienced industry players,” Simumba said
He said the hackathon provided an opportunity for problem solving and innovation
“I feel great to be offered an opportunity to work for a big bank like Absa,” Simumba said
Andrew Shaw, the head of marketing at Paratus described the Absa Data Science Hackathon as an excellent event.
Paratus provided internet connectivity for the event.
Absa Bank Zambia Plc launched the first ever Data Science Hackathon whose objective is to grow awareness of the importance of data and create a pool of talent that Absa can use to recruit skilled data scientists.
Absa Bank Zambia Plc Managing Director Mizinga Melu who spoke through the acting Managing Director Harton Maliki at the launch announced that as a digitally led bank, Absa had committed to create awareness around data and its importance and harness the opportunity the use of data presents in driving innovation in organisations and the world at large.
Ms. Melu stated that the bank believes in the revolution that technology and financial services are going to bring together and that the fuel that will drive this technological revolution will be big data.
She also noted that organisations now have an obligation to set a big data strategy, identify big data sources, and analyse the data coming up with intelligent data driven decisions and solutions.
Big data is driving insights and innovation beyond organisation.
Young data enthusiasts were taken through various assessments for two days, out of which the Bank selected the top three who will join Absa Bank Zambia as interns with a chance of permanent employment.
The rest will be taken into the bank’s ready to work programme where the Bank mentors youths in readiness for employment.
The Zambia Information and Technology, through its Director-General Choolwe Nalubamba expressed interest work with the 17 other data scientists.

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