Friday, 26 October 2007

Vendors, children, IT skills and blogging

I've been in London this week for CompTIA's Breakaway Europe event. SQA works with a number of vendors, through our DIVA programme, and we offer CompTIA's A+ certification through some of our HN units. The event has been interesting - especially the keynote speeches.

I took the opportunity while down here to attend a few other events. On Wednesday evening I went along to the CEOP offices in London to attend the launch of their cybercafe, which is targetted at 8-11 year olds. CEOP is responsible for child safety online and has shifted the focus from teenagers to younger kids.

Yesterday afternoon I went along to a Westminster e-forum entitled A UK IT SKills Gap? While there was a disappointing lack of hard evidence, some statistics were presented: 46% decline in applications for Computer Science courses at university since 2001; 10% year-on-year decline in A Level entries for Computer Studies. There was a pretty unanimous conclusion that we're heading for an IT skill shortage unless things change.

It was interesting to note that one of these events (the CEOP one) stressed the importance of protecting children from such things as social networks, the other (the Westminster one) emphasised the need to make the school curriculum more engaging, using such things as social neworking!

Each day of the CompTIA event begins with a keynote address and two of them were particularly good - one from Steve Clayton of Microsoft and one from Adrian Webster who is a writer. Steve's talk was about the importance of engaging with customers through such things as blogs; he emphasised the importance of being honest with them. Adrian's talk was about motivation - and was hilarious - so I'm happy to plug him and his book.

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