Team work and a sense of collaboration were the best things about studying in the department

A profile photo of alumni, Saleh. He is wearing a plaid shirt and standing in front of some red rocks.
Saleh Maitala
Program Manager, IBM Africa Skills Initiative
BEng Software Engineering
After graduating Saleh joined IBM immediately in their Manchester labs focusing on Software Development. He did that for a year and moved to Nigeria to help build the business and focused on software sales.

In his current role, he is in charge of managing the Skills Initiative Programs and University Relations where they help train youths and students on critical technology skills of the future such as A.I, Blockchain, Cloud, Cybersecurity, Datascience etc.

What are your main responsibilities?
Liaise with Universities and Government to help train students and youths on the skills of the future.

Can you describe a typical day?
I spend about 80% of my week traveling and meeting decision makers, academic leaders, collaborators, NGOs. A typical day might involve meeting with my team to strategize on delivering our commitments to meeting with decision makers to chart out educational policies in their regions.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your current role or your greatest achievement so far?
Creating direct impact in the society and upskilling people. 

Are there any challenging aspects? If so what are they?
Yes always and I see them as opportunities to help and address them. Typically schools, communities and governments are looking for ways to create jobs and make their citizens active and remain employable. With the Skills Initiative program from IBM, we work out ways we can bridge the knowledge gap and train citizens on critical technological skills of the future.

What skills/qualifications from your degree or other training do you make use of in your job?
More than anything, the experience and skills (team-work, empathy, leadership) I picked up from my volunteering activities at the Student Union. It opened my eyes to a lot of possibilities as to how with the right commitment, passion and resources, societies can be uplifted and transformed.

Why did you choose to study at Sheffield?
Reputation of being a top research university and of course the Sheffield Student Union (still the best year in year out in England!) 

Did your time at Sheffield meet your expectations?

What were the best things about studying in the Department?
Team work and a sense of collaboration.

What did you like best about Sheffield?
Student Life.

Where do you see yourself in the future?
In Africa, leading the development efforts of the continent. 

If you could give one piece of advice to current students or recent graduates what would it be?
Stay passionate and believe in your abilities!

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