There is a well documented supply shortfall of candidates for ‘tech jobs’. code.org/stats estimates this to be around 1m unfilled jobs by 2020.
I believe that Industry needs to solve this problem, not the education system, and it can do it with a collaborative set of Open Badges.
Mark Hartely’s post over at KPMG’s tech growth blog posits that to address this potential shortage ‘The UK education system needs to get with the program’.
His reasoning is that:
as the pace of technological change is so fast, I worry that these institutions risk falling further and further off the pace.”
I was about to tweet Mark with my agreement but something was bothering me, I couldn’t quite agree with him and this is why:
it’s not the responsibility of educational institutions to keep up with the insanely quixotic turns of technology industry
Nor can it realistically do so. If that code.org job shortage stat turns out to be correct, anyone with technical skill is going to be headhunted with extreme prejudice into industry, not academia. So the supply of quality teachers will shrink. As is the case right now.
So let’s reverse that stat and take the burden from the already creaking educational institutions. Let’s leave them to excel at what they do: progressing education and research as a rigorous academic discipline. Something that I believe should be one step removed from the madness of Internet speed innovation. This is an important role for our society and civilisation.
Academia should be Industry’s House of Lords. They should retain a healthy, if grudging, respect for each other!
Does the UK Industry need to get with the program?
I believe so and if you think about it, it’s the one best placed to do so, as it painfully understands what’s needed.
It’s Industry not Education that has to be the one to change and there are some fine examples of this such as Google’s Summer of Code, Mozilla.org’s webmaker, the very brilliant young rewired state etc
But what about traditional industry, why doesn’t Tesco, HSBC, KPMG, Carphone Warehouse or Virgin run summer of code camps? I’d love to get a group of kids hacking on a Tesco Clubcard API 😉
If we take look at the fantastic Mozilla Open Badges initiative, UK Industry could come together and create an Industrial apprenticeship.
A combined Industry set of Open Badges could be the practical equivalent of a Computer Science degree.
With it we could fill that shortage quickly. With smart, tech focused students who want to work, learn and earn their qualification on the job. It would be globally portable and industry recognised.
It would by default meet the pace of new technology developments.
So let’s put that burden on private industry.
It was our industry that created this incredible opportunity for growth.
Let’s all go and help realise it.