Kirk Hope of Business NZ writes regular articles for Stuff. A common theme of his articles is the mismatch between what the education system produces and skills required by NZ businesses. A recent article stated:
“Engineers are needed, and qualified IT people, and tradespeople, and technical workers of all kinds.”
I don’t agree with everything Mr Hope suggests in this article eg “careers advice needs to start earlier than year 9” … most Year 9/10 and indeed older students cannot even articulate a 12 month goal let alone something longer term, BUT he is on target when he suggests:
“We should work towards getting a more responsive education and training system to produce more of the skills we need.” source here
Many colleges (especially girls colleges) find it a challenge getting students to take IT courses (programming, algorithms, computer science etc..). There are many reasons for this, including caregiver and student perceptions about what subjects are important… and IT skills do not always figure. It is not just caregivers and students that need to get the message it is Career Advisers, Deans, and Senior Management.
Fortunately help is on the way…
Google has launched a “Careers with Code” initiative which is targeted at 14-18 year olds. The most recent focus is on combining computer science with students interests… and is certainly worth a read, not just by students but by Careers Advisers, Deans and caregivers.
While this is not a panacea to the problem it is a welcome contribution to increasing the number of students studying Computer Science.