Comptia EMEA Conference

At our recent CompTIA EMEA Members and Partners Conference, which was held in London on the 11th and 12th October I was part of a really interesting panel on the topic of “The Value of IT Training and Certification – An International Perspective“.

As with all aspects of the conference the panel was quite diverse and it included:

The key outcomes from this discussion were:

We need to attract young talent into the tech workforce

You will have heard me speak and write about this huge issue before – you might check out my recent post about the young man I met on a recent flight!

Basically it seems that kids (that makes me sound very old!) are not interested in a career in IT.

We don’t have enough qualified teachers to teach IT in schools

This is certainly a big issue and in many cases we are seeing that academia is struggling to keep pace with the requirements of the real world. As well as not producing the required numbers of graduates often the courses are outdated and the necessary tech skills lag behind industry.

In some locations industry are working very closely with the local colleges influencing the courses being run and the actual content of these courses. The progressive companies in some cases are providing lecturers for these courses to ensure that graduates are fully up to date – this is also a very clever way of recruiting.

Soft skills for techies is a big requirement

I guess this is nearly a cliche that many highly intelligent and talented people who work in IT can easily get lost in their keyboards and their world of coding and not have the vital soft skills that are needed to work with people and get things done.

It’s a fine thing to state it is a problem and it could be a bigger challenge cracking it! We are creating a programme to deal with this very issue.

Continuing Education (CE) is necessary

With the rate of change it is essential that we build continuous education into all of our workplaces and training programmes for techs to make sure that they maintain their knowledge and they always stay current.

While the young entrants in every organisation need to be trained and inducted maybe part of the process is that the mentors can actually learn and stay fresh by working with these new people. We can all learn from each other.

100% Performance based (simulations) exams are the way forward

It looks like the days of learning by rote are no longer sufficient and are clearly numbered. This method of assessing people is very inaccurate so in the future CompTIA will have our core training programmes 100% performance based.

Physical location is a challenge with learning

If we want more graduates and more people to enter our industry then we must make it much easier (and cheaper) for people to take their exams. To achieve this remote proctoring for exams is required and it is up to us to deliver these options.

Mentors are important

While we agree that having mentors from the world of tech for kids will be important this is not a new idea. Mentors have always played a critical role in inspiring people in their career choices and our industry must proactively put mentor programmes in place so we are achieving this.

We need people that young people can look up who can demonstrate to them what a career in IT means and within workplaces mentors that they can shadow.

As always these conferences are a fantastic way to bring thought leaders together to share experiences, discuss issues and brainstorm. For me as always I got a lot from the presentations, from the panel discussions and from the chats over coffee, lunch and yes. at the bar!

Things keep evolving, there is lots to do and all we have to do now is….Just do it!

John McGlinchey

John McGlinchey is the Senior Vice President of Global Business Development & Products for CompTIA