The UK has a major problem when it comes to technology training, computer science education and preparing young people for the job’s market, particularly when it comes to jobs in technology, hardware, software and development.
Our universities, schools and businesses urgently need to understand the value of agile and DevOps style working processes, in order to ensure that pupils, graduates and in-company trainees are able to obtain the skills they need for our fastest-growing technology businesses in Britain.
Producing the “high-performing IT professionals of the future” is the aim of DevOpsGroup Academy Head James Harvey, according to a recent interview he gave to DevOps.com.
Harvey is outspoken when it comes to explaining the need for urgent changes in the ways in which IT, technology and computer science is being taught to young people.
“I think the biggest challenge that we’ve seen is that, even though you are getting hundreds of thousands of students graduating with computer science degrees over the years, the gap that we are experiencing between what people are learning at university versus what the commercial world is demanding is astronomical,” he points out.
How to close the tech skills gap
“The skills gap is one of those things that is very difficult for universities to keep on top of, because things in the tech world change rapidly and dramatically. So ultimately what you are learning is often outdated by the time you finish anyway. It’s a different skill set that you learn at university: It’s very lecture-based, it’s very academic and it’s very blue-sky. And it’s very much “in an ideal world” setting.
“Whereas what we are trying to do with The DevOpsGroup Academy is to say, when things aren’t quite so perfect and when you do have to be a bit more pragmatic and apply some of the things you have learned on a bigger scale, then we can help bridge that gap.”
DevOpsGroup Academy is working closely with a number of UK universities and doing a lot of work with the National Software Academy that’s based at Cardiff University, where they have introduced a summer placement scheme to help their students take the learnings that they’ve got from university to a different level. Breaking down those barriers between universities and the commercial world is the long-term mission of the DevOpsGroup Academy.
“I think the long-term goal for us is all about that accelerated learning. Learning as you are working and as you are going along,” Harvey explains. “And allowing and giving people the space to do that, to learn from each other, to collaborate. We are ultimately disrupting and changing the norm of what goes on right now, because the one thing about university learning is that it doesn’t set you up for starting your career once you’ve graduated. You are learning about these small, isolated examples that don’t really set you up for work in the commercial world.
“So if you give these students the space and environment to do this accelerated learning, then within six months they are very close to what you would consider to be an associate-level engineer that comes into our organization. Which is extremely powerful for us. And it sends a really strong message about the educational methods that we use and the partners that we work with as far as training is concerned.
“Ultimately we are doing this, as we’ve always said, because we want to invest in the next generation of talent. We are expanding rapidly and we are doing this because we want to give these kids jobs, in the end.”