Secretary General, Irish Computer Society
For the last 18 months we’ve been focused on the COVID-19 pandemic. As the world slowly returns to a new kind of normal, we can’t just pick up where we left off as the digital landscape has changed.
The period of digital transformation we were gradually moving towards pre-COVID has been accelerated and we can no longer have a gradual digital transformation. Alongside this period of digital growth and transformation is the European Commission’s lofty ambition to have 20 million ICT professionals in Europe by 2030. This requires a huge investment to train future generations of workers and to upskill and reskill the workforce.
Upskilling existing employees allows individuals to broaden their knowledge and skillset whilst increasing the skills within the team.
Addressing the ICT skill shortage
There is currently a skills shortage, not only in Ireland but across Europe, making it hard for companies to find the staff they need with the qualifications that are required in this ever-changing landscape. There will always be a role for the traditional academic undergraduate degree, but these must reflect the changing nature of the world.
One solution to Ireland’s skills shortage lies in ‘micro qualifications’ training courses that allow people to continue to upskill without committing to full-time degrees. The European Commission is committed to bridging this skills gap and as a result is funding a number of digital skills initiatives, including the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition. Upskilling existing employees allows individuals to broaden their knowledge and skillset whilst increasing the skills within the team.
The future of the IT profession
The IT profession is central to the health, growth and sustainability of an innovative IT sector. Unlike many older professions, IT has arrived in our economies by many different routes and is not subject to traditional professional regulation.
The profession has made great advances in its short life, from the days when the early pioneers used their skill and creativity to innovate and produce wonderful things that changed our lives forever.
However, as technology is so pervasive and mission critical for all things, personal, social, economic and environmental, it is time for some governance and standards to provide quality assured outputs and to generate trust and confidence in IT professionals.