I am still thinking about digital skills after the DSS17 conference at Sunderland Software City. It is such a complex problem to deal with. There are so many players involved, right from parents and family, through the education system to employers. Even peer pressure has a part to play.
One interesting aspect about working in the digital sector, as if soon there will be any other, is that the rate of change of jobs is enormous. There are new jobs emerging every day in areas we would not have considered a few years ago.
Skilling the digital workforce therefore is not just a problem of now, it is also a problem of the future. There is an inherent danger in extrapolating the present to try and predict what is coming.
Martin Hamilton spoke to us from Jisc, a not-for-profit company working to support post-16 and higher education. He introduced us to the concept of near future jobs, those that are available now but are not yet in the mainstream. DNA editor, drone engineers and asteroid miner are three that he mentioned. You can apply for these now.
Who can tell what requirements there will be in the next few years. With the rapid change in technology, the event horizon is getting ever closer and this makes it very difficult to be clear about what to do.
It is paradoxical though. These near future jobs are being created yet they are also being filled, I assume. The people that end up doing these jobs somehow have developed sufficient skills to blag their way through the interview.
The answer must lie, therefore, in not training for every possible skill but rather to focus on developing people’s ability to learn, adopt and adapt to whatever comes next. We need to be pre-active. Preparing for the unknown is possibly the greatest digital skill we can have.