October 6, 2015
Guest blog post by Marco Comastri, EMEA President of CA Technologies.
If we want to reduce our Digital Debt, we need to inspire the Next Generation of ICT professionals.
A Growing Digital Debt
We are living in an Application Economy where every business is being rewritten by software. This transformation is driven by innovation and technological advancements. An essential component are those developers with the skills to transform those innovative ideas into code and literally “rewrite” business models.
The increasing gap between demand and supply of those skills is not new for the ICT sector. But a new element is the fact that automotive, banking and other sectors are now vying for the same talents.
I call this trend the Digital Debt: as investment in the Application Economy is transforming our society, we are increasingly coming short on one core asset: skills. With the growth of STEM-related job positions forecasted to reach an annual rate of 8% by 2025, relative to the average 3% forecasted for all positions, we are risking losing out on the growth potential of these investments, building up a Digital Debt.
The development of technical and scientific expertise is an economic imperative. We need to inspire the next generation of young people to pursue STEM related careers. Companies have an important role to play as it becomes a core business issue. Without that new generation, innovation in exciting growth areas like big data and the Internet of Things will be affected.
The example of data scientists – BigStorage
Let me give you one example in the big data space. As we all know, there are many opportunities connected to analytics applied to a vast set of data. A research team in CA Technologies is working on the development of sustainable energy systems based on big data. The focus is on a real-time anomaly detection system together with subsequent Big Data root cause analysis system. The intent of this initiative is to increase the intelligence of systems to allow for a deeper, improved understanding of energy consumption. This would facilitate the reduction in energy consumption, improving the overall efficiency of such systems/infrastructure.
But finding the right data scientists is not easy. This prompted us to identify partners and through coordination with the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, we joined a European Horizon 2020 Project called BigStorage. The project aims to educate young data researchers on the various facets of data science via direct collaboration with organisations and research institutions.
Create Tomorrow – together
As a software company, organic innovation is core to our survival. Hence, ensuring there is a steady supply of talent is a top priority. Therefore we recently refocused our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program in Europe on skills and STEM, calling it “Create Tomorrow”. Last year we made a pledge to the European Commission’s “Grand Coalition for Digital jobs”. And I am happy to announce that this week we joined another EU campaign, “eskills4jobs”. We will also participate again in the EU code week with a one week coding activity for high school students in our Prague development site.
We also need cooperation with government. We strongly welcome the past leadership at European level with the various projects to increase public private cooperation. Various countries are also playing their role but more needs to be done, faster.
A call to action
The European Union is working on a horizontal skill strategy attempting to take a broader view of the skills gaps. It is not clear yet if digital skills and a focus on STEM will be crucial components of that strategy. We need to be ambitious; merely calling out the STEM issue is not enough. We need strong political leadership to move the needle.
The national level is of course crucial as, for example, school curricula are a national competence. Countries should be able to choose which actions to implement and adapt them to their culture and objectives. However, we need to share the common goal of fixing the skills gap to allow for continued innovation in the application economy and jobs and growth. To that end, we call for a strong renewed action supported by the European and national level with clear deliverables and timescales. We hope the EU skills strategy will just do that, with strong support of the European Council and European Parliament.Blogactiv Team