With the job market becoming more and more complex, a group of Information Technology (IT) experts formed an organisation that helps Cambodian students close the gap between school and a real working environment. The team call themselves “Sharevision”.
The idea for the initiative came when a group of IT professionals and students came together at Bar Camp in Phnom Penh, explained Chhun Samnang, one of the group’s founding members. The Sharevision team began their activities soon after the meeting finished and now there are around 30 members, seven of whom are quite active in volunteering their time to set up meetings on opportunities and best practices in IT.
Explaining the need that his team identified before beginning Sharevision, Chhun Samnang, who works in Yoolk as a software developer, said “curriculums in school, some of which are outdated, are different from the reality of the workplace. If we introduce what a realistic working environment is like, it will guide students to see what they are going to do and how they can do it”.
“Cambodian people haven’t formed communities to share experiences with each other; even Barcamp Phnom Penh, which is held once a year, talks generally about IT. We want to have more discussions on specific topics,” Chhun Samnang added.
Another founder of the team, Suy Channe, product manager from the Innovative Support to Emergencies, Diseases and Disasters (InsTEDD) said, “We are now working. We want to help the society as much as we can. So we came up with this idea,” echoing the sentiments of her teammate Chhun Samnang. “The standard of graduates is still limited, so they aren’t good enough to be selected for work,” she added.
“Most stuff in the real work place hasn’t been taught in school,” explained Suy Channe. So to counteract this problem, Sharevision brings professional IT people to talk with students about what they have learned and how those lessons can be directly applied to the workplace. Suy Channe added that all the members in Sharevision are equal and there is no leader or owner of the team.
Since they began in 2009, the team has been going to universities and schools such as Build Bright University (BBU), Cambodia University for Specialities (CUS), and SETEC University, sharing their experiences in different topics. Each time, there were around 50 to 60 students, some in IT and other studying other subjects who were interested in the topic.
Sharevision welcomes volunteers from any field to share what they have learned in their work or what the best practices are for students to adapt to work environment that they might not have been prepared for at school.
“The purpose is not to make this team popular. We want Khmer to share experiences with each other,” Chhun Samnang said. “Everybody learns from each other.”
Sharevision has members from all over the IT landscape, including places such as Yoolk, InSTEDD, Digital Divide Data (DDD) and others. They usually discuss their project on Saturdays, when they aren’t busy with work.
Besides Sharevision there is another programme called “Developer Camp” conducted at on the fourth Saturday of each month. This is also a meeting of people interested in IT and it is open for all people to join.