Building Local Capacity and Creating Job Opportunities for the Next Generation of Data Scientists and Software Engineers in the MERL Digital Tech Space

On May 19th, 2021, I4DI initiated its 2nd annual Digital Technology Internship in collaboration with the Regional Development Agency of Sandzak– SEDA, Municipal authorities in Novi Pazar, and the State University in Novi Pazar, Serbia. 


Targeting young software engineers and up and coming technology enthusiasts, this internship is an opportunity for young people from the region to build hard skills and launch their career in the software development industry (web development, mobile app development, and web design), with a particular focus on developing software solutions that enable evidence-based decision making and have application in monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning processes (MERL). This four-month immersive opportunity combines blended learning, design thinking, and advanced practical work with the latest technologies and libraries for data mining and visualizations to prepare these young professionals to build technology-centered solutions to complex challenges and apply their knowledge to real-world problems. 

Some remarks from past interns:

 “It’s an exceptional way to jump-start your career. Early on you’re met with the real market and real-life projects which are unique and engaging. And because of people who know to properly teach you and share their experience with you, you get this feeling of satisfaction at the end of the day, because you’ve learned more than you were expecting.” – Armin Bronja, Associate Software Developer at I4Di, (former intern)


“It exceeded my expectations and it was valuable in figuring out my career path. I was offered a job because of my internship. Doing an internship is a great way to build connections.” – Ahmet Halilovic, Associate Software Developer at I4Di, (former intern)


“For such a small period, I was able to learn much. Helpful mentors, relaxed atmosphere. Get a feeling of how would it be to work for a big organization. Overall great experience.” – Denis Drekovic, Front-end Developer at I4DI, (former intern)

Digital technology interns at I4DI also receive mentorship from renowned software engineers and role models with international careers who come from their own region. At the end of the program, successful interns that demonstrate the strong performance gain access to employment opportunities with I4DI. Hence, 50% of interns from last year’s cohort of 8 interns received employment offers from I4DI and are active contributors to our team.

“Being a mentor is a great responsibility, but also a tremendously rewarding experience. Whilst it is usually expected from mentors to guide and advise throughout the process, the learning process happens for both sides. I am proud of our cohort, their eagerness, commitment, and drive to learn and advance in the field of interest. Witnessing their devotion and ethics makes me hopeful that the future will not only bring new and advanced technologies but also strong advocates for fair and ethical use that will benefit us all.” – Kemal Sokolovic, Lead Software Engineer, I4DI

Currently, our intern team is working on exciting initiatives that range from the creation of the Data for Social Change dashboard that maps the results of 2020’s racial justice movements, work on waste management applications that connect citizens with waste service providers in Cambodia under the USAID-funded Tech for Green Cities project, and other tech solutions for contemporary problems such as the covid-19 pandemic.

Our lead partner, SEDA was instrumental in popularizing this internship among college students and early career professionals. Due to increasing popularity and an overwhelming number of applications, this initiative gained media attention in the region. Investment in this partnership and the region’s economic development is I4DI’s priority. As such, I4DI’s CEO, Dr. Azra Nurkic, traveled to the region in May 2021 to meet with the local partners to discuss the current program and set joint priorities for the future of the initiative. During that time, Dr. Nurkic also met with current and prospective interns and was invited to give an interview on a popular talk show on the regional Serbian television, about female entrepreneurship in digital tech, local development, and investment in developing talent for the next generation of tech solutions. During this conversation, she also outlined the significance of the internship moving forward and partnership with the municipal authority and local associations.

Should you or someone you know be interested in applying to I4DI’s Digital Technology Internship, send your resume by e-mail at Applications must be received no later than June 14, 2021. Interviews with shortlisted candidates will be held at the Regional Development Agency of Sandžak in its offices in Novi Pazar, Serbia.