AUTHOR: Ed Rayner

Welcome to blog 3 in our Parent Series, designed to help us truly prepare the younger generation for their future in the big wide world of technology. What skills will they need to flourish and how can we help them best prepare for their giant leap into the digital age?


What skills, both hard and soft, are needed to pursue a career in tech’ and is the current school system and associated curriculum failing its students? Could our ‘tried and tested’ education route be a direct cause towards the current IT skills gap?

 

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What are the hard skills needed to pursue a career in tech?

Hard skills can be defined simply as measurable and teachable abilities. But what exactly are these future proofed skills – and how do we best acquire them?

Problem solving for example, a skill that can easily blur the line between hard and soft, is crucial when attempting to stay on trend and in line with technology. With software updates occurring almost daily within infrastructure, the need to stay agile is a must. The potential issue of conflict within a network alone can be mind boggling for those not versed in the design or configuration and troubleshooting of wired or wireless setups.

A good example of the above being covered in professional training is the Computing Technology Industry Association’s (CompTIA) A+ Technician certification, designed to take candidates from little or no knowledge, up to a professional IT technician in roughly 70 hours.  

The syllabus is written and then measured by examination, with a purpose to ensure that candidates are better prepared to troubleshoot and problem solve. Certified technicians will understand a wide variety of issues ranging from networking and operating systems, to mobile devices and security, enabling them to keep vital infrastructure ticking - and in turn operations on a day to day basis.

Sadly, our experience of the younger generation having academic and or traditional qualifications and not being career ready grows daily. Even a Masters in Cyber Security will not equip our potential workforce with the tools, know-how or even the methodologies to get the job done. The working world needs specific skills to deliver specific jobs and even the titles of pro’ certifications provide clear insight into what will be achieved. For example, the EC-Council’s Certified Network Defender, or Certified Ethical Hacker. The CompTIA Cyber Security Analyst, or Advanced Security Practitioner all pretty much speak for themselves in the industry.


Do my children need to be good at science and maths to pursue a career in tech?

Obviously any core academic knowledge and qualification is a must and will assist in a greater capacity when embarking upon advanced learning. However, the need for advanced level subjects is more often than not misunderstood when approaching technology.

Often we’re met with the question of academic prerequisites for training, in the same way a University would stipulate prior to enrolling students on a degree course. The simple and to some surprising answer is a short but well explained no. Yes, you would require a good level of written and spoken English and numeracy, however – a large number of our next wave ethical hackers, are GCSE standard academics with Pentagon level certification skills.

The real requirement for understanding technology is to understand technology. This means a stripped back lesson starting from the basics of your craft, all the way up to the specifics of doing the job. All of which can be tackled with professionally mapped training and associated live online labs to facilitate a step by step approach into the unknown.       

 

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What soft skills and personality traits are necessary to successfully work in the tech industry?

These are often what employers to refer to as the more intangible and non-technical abilities that are sought from candidates. In the same way that a nurse or doctor requires a good ‘bedside manner’, careers in tech require strong communication skills, responsibility, decisiveness and the ability to effectively negotiate. IT professionals have now moved on from being the once ridiculed ‘geek’ to the VIP of business. These tech’ VIP’s are now viewed as the women and men who ‘keep the lights on’.

All business is at the mercy of its technical efficiency and any pause or downtime will result in losses. A large part of how technology is kept moving is communication to end users.  When you empower a person with just a basic understanding of how it works and why we do it this way, then odds on they will cooperate. If something ‘makes sense’, then human nature generally implies that we will become complicit.  

The purpose of Learning People training is to certify students to professional standard – however, the certification is only part of the parcel. We work closely with all of our students to ensure that their transferable and emerging soft skills are up there in line with all certifications achieved. The aim of our careers in tech team however, is to focus, position and help place students into their specific sector and destination role of choice using both the hard and soft skills appropriate.

Want to speak about getting your next generation up-skilled and ready for work? Simply contact us to speak with one of our dedicated career consultants.     

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