For Ethiopian New Graduates & Youth: Defining ICT (Infrastructure) Roles in the Market Place!

👉  If you are like me, read this piece. The schools I went for did not prepare me well for jobs. Over the years, I have to learn everything by myself and the hard way. Over the last few years, I have the pleasure of working with new employees and mentor interns as part of my current role and I came to learn that much has not changed at schools since I left. 

Hoping it will help new graduates clarify the job roles and expectation in the industry and tailor their approach to prepare well in advance, let me briefly clarify the roles and expertise required in the ICT sector.

Bear in mind that this advice focuses more on the infrastructure aspect as opposed to applications. As you know it, business is multidimensional and usually multiple disciplines are needed to run it effectively. For now, I will narrowly focus more on the technology part. Technology itself covers many product lines and evolves quickly and I will approach the subject more broadly. Life thought me that every knowledge is public and you nurture it to yourself better as you reflect and share it to others who may not have the access. Listen to me if you are a manager. When you teach your subordinates, you are helping yourself to have the space and time to focus on the things that matter most to yourself and the business you represent. Because the subordinates you teach will do the hard work on your behalf.     

Hopefully, I will come back to the telecom, energy and power sectors some other time. Any one of you reading this tread, I call up on you to do the same in your sector of expertise. Because it helps. The Youth are Ethiopia’s future and let us collectively guide them start informed.    

Ethiopian 10 years perspective plan wishes to anchor the private sector for its development aspiration of the coming ten years and I can see a lot of expectation and competition in the market place, and in consequence a pressure on the youth. Hence, the youth need to acknowledge that and try its level best to embrace it and focus on the subjects that matters to them most.   

Whether we acknowledge it or not almost all of us are engaged in sales in one form or another, implicit or explicit and it is valuable to prepare ourselves in advance. Below are the roles you need to understand if you aspire to join the ICT sector in Ethiopia.

1. Sales Management Roles

This role may also be expressed by analogous terms such as account management or business development roles depending on the preference of the organization and the nature of the business. As the name implies, sales managers build customer relationships, actively look for business leads, nurture them in to opportunities, close sales, handover to delivery management team, follow up the delivery progress and support whenever required in an end-to end process. Start to learn sales processes and methodologies

Essentially, sales skills are required as opposed to technology skills. However, it would be relevant for people with technology background to easily influence and interface with the customer or end-user. The solutions, products and services you are going to sell meant to solve some kind of problem for the end user and you would have an unparalleled advantage to influence perception and decisions if you have the knowledge of the solutions, products and services you sell.

2. Solution and Product Sales Management Roles

As you can tell, this role demands a deeper technology knowledge and skill of products and solutions. The person in this role is responsible for design, configuration and pricing of products and solutions to meet the technical requirements (usually bidding/tender requests).

Often described presales, the product or solution manager works in tandem with the sales manager to clearly define and respond to the requirements.    

3. Service Management Roles   

Service management generally includes project delivery management, test and commissioning, after sales/ customer support/maintenance and spare part management roles. 

This is a role where all the promises made by the roles above are realized and is considered key for a business continuity.

Project management is a broad concept covering 10-12 knowledge areas and clear processes which are key to project success. A one clear career path.

As an engineer/ expert you need to have a deeper knowledge and skills to design, configure, test and commission products and services based on the low-level design, LLD, so that the promised services (example internet access) are up and running.

In the after sales or maintenance stage, the same level of expertise is required to conduct routine health checks, troubleshoot problems, replace defects and restore services. The boxes, software and technology we usually talk about are not meaningful by themselves. They are meaningful when we set them up to solve the anticipated problems and you can imagine the expectation.

This is probably the area you need to focus more as a new entrant as it needs expertise in larger quantities. Next could be solution and product sales management roles.    

4. Channel Management Roles

Indirect sales or Channel business model is the preferable business model in the ICT sector. Partnership among businesses is key to deliver solutions, products and services from the vendor (manufacturer) to the end-user or customer. Channel Sales and channel relationship management skills are fundamental to navigate the complex channel policies. 

🔑  Recap

These four roles does not work in siloes. They are all related to successfully deliver the solutions, products and services. Other roles mentioned in project delivery management above are equally important. You have all rounded perspective does mean you have a better chance of being sought after in the work place but you need to have a real expertise in at least one of them. 

Although there are a wide range of solutions, products and services demanding expertise at all levels, IT, IP and DC facility product lines are common in the Ethiopian ICT market. Think about them even before you leave school if possible. You will easily secure a job if you acquire industry standard (certified) skill in at least one of the product lines and a reasonable knowledge in others.    

One final advice if I have to give to new graduates is real-time communication and reporting. Whatever you do and wherever you are, reporting and effective communication are key. Communication is abundantly lacking in the market place, and trust me you are not alone but you can improve it from the outset. If you ask me one universal shortcoming in the Ethiopian market, I tell you communication whether in the form of reporting, presentation or one-on-one discussion. In fact, that is why Showing Up ^ Exposure Matters comes in to being.

I think Communication is something our schools and stakeholders need seriously think about to change it as a culture but you can do your part by yourself.    

You, the youth, once you get the job, the best advice I can give you is that you use your probation period to your advantage asking more questions to understand how the organization is structured, how decisions are made, what products and services are being offered, what expectations are there from you and how you fit in there instead of starting operational work outright. Everyone before you has been there and understands you are a new comer and is happy to extend support. It would be in your best interest to NETWORK with people who has related expertise as well. 


        ✅  Hope it helps and let me know in the comment section below.

         ✌   Good Luck in your search for a meaningful Career.  

Word of appreciation of the Youth


👍 : In every series, I mention a youth who I find is inspiring with what he/she does. Today, I introduce you Feben Damtew ( @f_e_b_a_) a youth in tiktok who I find teaching Afan Oromo. I find her inspiring because she not only take advantage of the platform but also the initiative to teach the language she knew to fellow Ethiopians when too many of us are doing nothing except complaining. Let us appreciate and support her.

End.  One final Thought: What ever we do to succeed,

Showing Up Matters

We write and Podcast on career growth & personal development and inspire the youth to take action. 

4 thoughts on “For Ethiopian New Graduates & Youth: Defining ICT (Infrastructure) Roles in the Market Place!”

  1. User Avatar

    Once you make up your mind on which segment you wanted to focus as your career path, you need to invest a good deal of time to have a deeper knowledge and skill. Having a skill is not sufficient. You need to prepare to pitch yourself in interviews. Boldly and shamelessly tell the interviewer what you can offer, why you are different from the 100s of applicants, what the job really means to you personally and how it is related to the job role.

  2. User Avatar

    ” Most people are communicating from a place of needing a job. I empathize. I’ve applied to jobs when I’ve needed work. But, as an employer, I’m not posting a job to provide you a service. I’m posting the job to make my company better. Focus your communications to answer this”, Say’s Sam Rosmarin on his Twitter Feed.

  3. User Avatar

    While you seek for jobs in the market, you need to ask yourself what special value you could provide in the companies you work for. Remember that the commercial market looks after someone who shares a burden(takes responsibility) and drives value to the organization. Organizations may have different set of values. Whether stated or not, financial gain is the intrinsic value for most commercial market players and financial value is important to sustain the business. Hence, asses yourself in that metric.

  4. Pingback: How I End Up Building a Website: Showing Up ^ Exposure matters » Showing Up ^ Exposure Matters

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.