Unfolding plans 53 – ICT is not just Microsoft office or computer games

ICT is not just Microsoft office or computer games.  It pervades all of our lives.  There is nothing that we do that doesn’t have technology behind it somewhere.  There is a shortage of young people coming into the industry.  We need to get out there and show young people how exciting ICT is. We need to present our story better and we need to interview our prospective employees better.  Also, we should be blind to colour and gender. It is about bringing all people into the industry.

After our Women into ICT event (Unfolding plans 41) I managed to get a slot at an upcoming meeting of the Durham Association of Secondary Heads (DASH).  It’s not until July yet this feels like traction to me.  Elizabeth who got me the gig told me about Michael Gove’s Progress 8 plans whereby he identified some subjects with a higher batting order than others.  I accept that he was not everyone’s cup of tea as secretary of state for Education but I will not go into that.  My understanding is that the belief is that if you don’t get a grasp of these key subjects then you are going to struggle in an increasingly competitive work environment.  I think they are English, maths, science, languages (is English not a language?), history and geography.

How interesting.  Computer science didn’t get a mention.  I may have missed it and I think that it may be within the science pot after all there are supposed to be eight and I’ve only listed six.  But that doesn’t matter.  Even if it is not included the others are just as important to ICT.  My premise is that all of the subjects listed within Progress 8 have a role to play in our more technical future.

For example, we need great copy writers, story tellers and technical authors so a good command of English would be a great start.  Mathematics is an obvious candidate for computer programming, many enter into the industry in that way, yet so is the command of languages.  Being able to interpret the thoughts and actions required into a readable language is certainly a useful skill.  How about the rise of mapping technology which has made such a huge impact on how we use information?  That’s geography isn’t it?

I’m not so clear on the role of history, it’s a subject that I was never very good at while at school, partly because I felt it would be better to focus on the future than the past but I would imagine that the ability to read and comprehend complex documents and interpret what has happened is a skill that any self-respecting Business Analyst would have.

In essence I don’t think there are any subjects that preclude anyone form making a useful contribution to the industry or having a great career within it.  We need to use all the talents we have in what will be an all-encompassing way of living and working.  Whatever your skill set may be I’m sure there is a niche for you to occupy and our role is to open up these opportunities to those mulling over their choice of career.

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