The ICT v. Computing debate. Let’s not sacrifice one at the expense of the other
Setting up this Serif Education blog has made use of a wide variety of my skills. Not only have my IT skills been put to the test in the physical setting up of the blog, but I’ve also had to use my creativity to ensure that it looks pleasing to the eye (which I hope you’ll agree it does). The actual writing of this first blog post has also required me to sit down and think about you, my audience, and what the topics are that you would most like to read about. And that’s all before I’ve even started to write!
The skills required to set up and run a blog are transferable skills that can be used in many professions. When the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP announced at BETT at the beginning of the year that the ICT curriculum was flawed, he wasn’t wrong. Yes, we do need to encourage the computer programmers of tomorrow; it’s an essential and growing part of our economy. However, it’s vital that we don’t sacrifice the ‘softer’ skills that the current ICT curriculum provides today’s students with.
Communicating ideas in paper and electronic media in a compelling and audience grabbing way is an essential skill in many workplaces. It’s not just the practicality of using the software to create the presentation, animation, video, brochure, website or graphic, it’s also the skills involved in identifying your audience, managing the project and presenting the information in the most suitable way. Certainly these are the key skills Serif as a software developer finds attractive in prospective employees. We have a clear need for pure programming expertise as we develop software products for the future, but that only forms 20 per cent of our workforce, with the rest employed in product development, marketing, sales, finance and support.
Each day articles appear in the press that claim that the youth of today is ill-prepared for the workplace. If the new ICT curriculum robs them of the chance to develop these essential skills which are so obviously needed, surely we’re only adding to this issue?