Here’s an article of interest:

Technology firms say the UK has a 'digital skills gap'

It doesn’t really surprise me in the least bit.

I’m in my mid twenties and cannot say that at 18 I would have been much use to a primarily digital firm, at least not on the front lines. I can do plenty of things but virtually all of them are self-taught. Formal education provided me with virtually no useful technology-related skills (and I didn’t go to a bad school as you may well know).

When visiting universities computer-related courses were suggested but they all looked so distant from my skillset as to embarrass those doing the suggesting. How could I hope to go to Cambridge and study anything like that without any real grounding in the principals earlier in my education?

Due to my recent move and all the challenges that has presented I’ve not properly got back into Harvard’s CS50 yet but it remains on my to-do list. Thus far I see no reason it couldn’t have been taught in school.

In fact the only thing even resembling programming I remember doing was Logo on St. Michael’s set of Acorn Archimedes. In recent years I recall someone telling me how valuable Logo was as a teaching tool. Apparently pupils need to learn that the computer will only do what it is told, no more, no less. It didn’t occur to me that anyone would be foolish enough to think otherwise. Under normal circumstances an oven will not heat up without being told to do so. It doesn’t magically know the correct temperature. Why would a computer be any different?

I didn’t encounter a single teacher, IT or otherwise, who actually knew more about computers than I did whilst at school. I did encounter people who knew more but they weren’t teachers. Things seem to be shifting a little in more modern curriculums but it’s still common to see a focus on Microsoft Office rather than portable skills.

Is it really that surprising that our sys admins steer clear of teaching given the wages and stresses involved?

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