CIO SA tech news round-up: Vuyani Jarana launches broadband firm, Liquid joins Nokia’s global partner programme, big tech firms seeking out skilled C++ developers, while Meta plans to lay off thousands of employees this week


Former Vodacom boss launches broadband firm

Vuyani Jarana, former CEO of Vodacom Business and South African Airways, has launched llitha Telecommunications, which promises affordable internet in underserved areas.

llitha Telecommunications launched its brand and services in Mdantsane, Eastern Cape, last week, with co-founder Vuyana claiming funding from the Industrial Development Corporation and the Development Bank of Southern Africa.

According to Vuyana, the name Ilitha, which means ‘rays of the sun, sunshine, or light,’ reflects the company’s core values of “providing light at the end of the dark tunnel for people who have been left behind without access to affordable internet”.

The speed at which the company is providing this connectivity through fibre is super-fast – much like the speed of light,” he explains.

“Initially our informal payoff line was ‘leave no person behind’, and consistent with this, and in providing the people who pay the most for data access to the internet, the name Ilitha was most fitting.”

TooMuchWifi, a South African internet service provider, recently revealed plans to expand the provision of affordable internet after receiving $1 million (R18 million) to expedite operations.

llitha has now entered the race, with an ambitious goal of “connecting homes in the township and rural areas, delivering affordable broadband to all”.

According to Vuyani, the company offers unique fibre-to-the-home products with network access available in one-day, seven-day, and 30-day increments. All products provide unlimited data at 20/20 Mbps speeds. Customers can purchase access online using vouchers from all major retailers, as well as debit cards, credit cards, and other widely used payment methods.

“Through our investment in Ilitha, we will connect humanity, create possibilities and change lives. The internet has become the most powerful engine for human development and reduction of inequality, hence access to affordable quality broadband has become a human rights issue,” says Vuyani.

“We see our project going beyond what traditional telcos in South Africa have done all these years; we see the internet as a vehicle to create digital jobs in the townships.”

Liquid Networks is set to join Nokia's Global Partner Program

Liquid Networks, a business of Cassava Technologies, a pan-African technology group, announced it is entering into a channel partner agreement with Nokia.

As a result of this relationship, Liquid Networks will partner with Nokia on private wireless 4G and 5G opportunities for industry verticals. In addition, Liquid Networks will market, distribute and service Nokia’s product line of its NDAC (Nokia Digital Automation Cloud) solution portfolio consisting of Nokia 4G and 5G Radio Access Equipment and Nokia’s NDAC Core Solution for onsite campus deployments.

“In the last two years, we have witnessed businesses on the African continent understanding the need to digitally transform. Becoming a Nokia Global Partner Program member is a significant milestone for Liquid Networks. Our customers can now benefit from the speed and simplicity of the NDAC platform, which will help them with their immediate and future digital transformation needs,” says Deon Geyser, CEO of Liquid Networks South Africa.

“Nokia has deployed mission-critical networks to more than 2,200 leading enterprise customers in the transport, energy, large enterprise, manufacturing, webscale, and public sector segments around the globe, a Nokia executive said.

The company also offers its expertise across a variety of verticals to more than 485 leading home wireless customers worldwide and is recognised by many industry analysts as a global leader in home wireless networks.

Big tech firms are seeking out skilled C++ developers

According to Analytics Insight, an influential platform dedicated to insights, trends, and opinion from the world of data-driven technologies; there is a growing shortage of C++ developers and big tech firms are on a hunt for new recruits.

The general consensus at a webinar on high-frequency trading with C++ presented by ProfitView, a provider of crypto trading software, was that there is an issue with the big tech software firms, and it has become a global issue to find skilled developers.

Where are all the C++ programmers? A bad reputation, the notion that a language is legacy software, appears to deter people from using it. This comes as no surprise given that prominent figures in technology, such as Microsoft Azure CEO Mark Russinovich, have urged people to “deprecate” C++ in favour of Rust “for the sake of security and stability”.

The reports of C++’s demise could be false. According to ProfitView CEO Richard Hickling, a former software engineer at Barclays and Bank of America, C++ has been declared dead numerous times. Hickling cited Java, which “seemed to be replacing C++ itself for a long time” but hasn't.

So, where have all the C++ programmers gone? According to the Stack Overflow Survey 2022, C++ usage among respondents fell by about two percentage points last year (from 24.3 percent to 22.5 percent), despite an increase in its use among professional developers. The good news is that C++ is one of the top six programming languages in that category, with 34.7 percent of those learning to code using it.

C++, in reality, is neither simple nor popular. Rust received an approval rating of 87 percent in the Stack Overflow Survey’s “most loved” category. Only 8.8 percent of those polled used Rust professionally, and only 9.3 percent used it at all. C++, on the other hand, maintained its 48 percent share.

Nonetheless, by consistently ranking in the top four of the TIOBE index, C++ has earned a place in their “big four”.

The truth is that there are many C++ jobs available in the finance industry, but there aren’t as many people to fill them as there are in other languages. The language could be challenging. But it’s worthwhile.

Making a return is a C++ function. It received an eight percent rating as the best coding language this month, putting it at number four on the Tiobe Index. With 11-12 percent, it isn't quite comparable to C, Java, or Python, but it does show that C++ is among the top choices – and that it is continuing the trend of rising popularity that began in 2020.

Although C++ has yet to completely replace Python in the financial sector, it is becoming more user-friendly and expanding beyond some of its traditional spheres of application. For example, Goldman Sachs is looking for professionals who can write in both Java and C++ to help with the transition of its SecDB risk and pricing system away from its proprietary language, Slang. C++ is also used extensively in analytics systems, site reliability engineering, and strats responsibilities involving pricing, risk, and P&L calculations.

According to Analytics Insight, learning Python is now required if you want to work in finance. Despite the fact that many students learn to code in Python, the more difficult learning curve of C++ can help you stand out when applying for jobs. Furthermore, newer versions of C++ are easier to use than older ones. C++ 20 now includes more support for large-scale, dependable software.

Meta announces mass job cuts this week

The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that Meta is planning a massive round of layoffs this week.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the job cuts could affect “tens of thousands” of employees and could occur as soon as 9 November.

A Meta spokesperson declined to comment, instead pointing to CEO Mark Zuckerberg's recent remarks during the company’s third-quarter earnings call, which hinted at upcoming downsizing.

“In 2023, we’re going to focus our investments on a small number of high priority growth areas,” he said in October. “So that means some teams will grow meaningfully, but most other teams will stay flat or shrink over the next year. In aggregate, we expect to end 2023 as either roughly the same size, or even a slightly smaller organisation than we are today.”

Employees at Meta told Business Insider last month that managers had begun requesting “increased intensity” and had warned of impending layoffs of 10 percent to 20 percent of the company’s workforce.

“Mark's message was clear: you have three months to prove your worth, put in 200 percent effort, or resign now if you don't like it,” one of the employees said.

Meta’s stock dropped by 20 percent last month after the company reported lower-than-expected earnings, prompting criticism for gaffes such as spending $4 billion (R73 billion) on the metaverse in the most recent quarter.

The layoffs come as a growing number of tech companies cut jobs and many employers prepare for an impending economic downturn.

Twitter laid off an estimated 50 percent of its workforce on Friday, shortly after Elon Musk took over as CEO. Stripe cut 14 percent of its workforce last week, Lyft dismissed 700 employees, and GoFundMe laid off 12 percent of its workforce in October, among other things.

“It’s going to be a hard time; at the micro level, it will affect a lot of people’s jobs and livelihoods,” Mark Peter Davis, managing partner at Interplay Ventures, told Business Insider.


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