computer science

Google Gets Girls Coding

Google Gets Girls Coding 150 150 Kerry Butters
 Image: Made With Code

Image: Made With Code

The IT skills gap is now well documented and there are a few initiatives going on around the world that seek to address the issue. In the UK we’re about to see Computer Science come in as a core subject in the curriculum which goes beyond the current ICT qualification and introduces coding and understanding how computers are put together.

At the moment, ICT is more concerned with using applications than anything else and whilst this is of course valuable when it comes to workplace skills, it’s not going to get anyone a job as an engineer or programmer.

Made With Code – Google Initiative

A new initiative from Google seeks to address the skills gap and the lack of women in IT. Last month the search giants announced that just 17% of its technology employees are women. With this in mind, the company has launched Made With Code, a website that provides access to coding projects and an event that’s aimed at high school girls that is due to be held in New York next week.

 “Coding is a fundamental skill that’s going to be a part of almost everything,” Megan Smith, VP of Google[x], told TIME. “So for kids to really at a minimum just be able to express themselves in code and make things and feel confident, that would be important — no matter what their career is.”

Girl Coding Groups

The initiative also saw Google teaming up with girl coding groups in order to get together a national database that allows parents to find a ‘coding camp’ near where they live.

“One of the most important things that we can do is get girls into our computer-science classrooms across our country, including elementary school,” said Smith. “Vietnam is teaching computer science from second grade. Malaysia, China — we’re seeing the U.K. starting to do this at an elementary level. So the best thing to do would be to get them into our schools.”

There are a number of projects that girls can take part in on the Made With Code site, so girls don’t have to wait for special camps to get started. A bracelet can be made and then 3D printed and sent to the participant by mail, for example. Something that’s bound to appeal to lots of teenage wannabe coders.

Connect with Industry Mentors

Girls can also connect with mentors that work in the industry to see where they can apply learned skills in the tech workplace, which will help them to map out careers. Google has pledged a $15m investment into the project over the next five years in computer science grants for the most talented and also teamed up with organisations such as the Girl Scouts to further encourage coding amongst the ladies.

Let’s hope that the UK can follow suit in some way, for girls as well as boys. However, a lot of the time it’s down to parent misconceptions as to the value of learning technology subjects. I recently read an article which stated that parents don’t think digital and computer science skills are valuable, or will lead to a career – that’s a perception that most definitely needs changing.

For more info on the Made With Code initiative, check out the video below.

Graduate IT Jobs: What’s the Best Fit for You?

Graduate IT Jobs: What’s the Best Fit for You? 150 150 Kerry Butters

If you’re graduating this summer and looking to land the perfect job in IT, then it can be difficult to know which sector might be the best fit. This is because there are a very wide and varied range of industries that demand IT workers, far beyond the usual suspects such as vendors and big-name tech companies.

It’s likely that you’ll be attending a good few graduate fairs, where many companies are likely to be looking for the most talented candidates. So what can you do to ensure that you stand out from the crowd? It might be a fact that IT is one of those sectors that has been and still is suffering from a lack of incoming talent, but in the UK, with the curriculum changing to accommodate better IT learning, this is something that could very well change in the next five years or so.

To recruiters, it certainly looks better if you can demonstrate that you’ve explored all avenues, so with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the potential jobs out there that you could land.

Look Beyond the ‘Norm’

As well as the more obvious recruiters that will be doing the rounds at graduate fairs, you should look into other industries that provide IT jobs but are not necessarily in the technology sector.

These include:

·         Investment banks

·         Large retailers

·         Insurance firms

·         Accountants

·         Educational institutions

All of these industries need an IT department and for some, now is the time when they will be investing heavily in technologies such as the cloud and ecommerce. Likewise, there always seems to be a job going at a school or college whenever I check out my local paper for IT support assistants, or network managers, or even for communications which can include maintaining the school website, creating presentations, maintaining databases and so on.

Becoming a Computer Science Teacher

Of course, when it comes to schools, you can also further your education that little bit more and apply to be a Computer Science teacher. The curriculum is chosen somewhat by the teacher, so you have an opportunity to shape the next generation, which can be very rewarding.

You will need GCSEs in the usual subjects, such as English and Maths at a minimum of Grade C and a Computer Science degree. However, if you’re a mature student and can demonstrate a good level of professional experience in the technology sector, then you may be accepted onto a course.

Computing ITT applicants are also eligible for a tax-free bursary of up to £20,000 for postgraduate training, so it’s worth checking it out.

See the video below too for more information on the new curriculum due to come into play this September.

Consider Options Carefully

For young people, it’s often very difficult to know what direction to take when it comes to deciding what career path to choose, so you should consider your options carefully. Think about what modules you’ve really enjoyed during your degree. If you loved coding, then you’ll be a great fit for software, web or app development. I’ve left out games development here as it’s a field that many young people want to get into, but is a difficult one to break into.

I’ve heard so many young people say their dream job is to be a games dev, but when it comes to the crunch, they don’t enjoy it, or lack the skills required when it comes to coding. Yes, making PC and console games sounds like great fun, but you still have to have the ability and the talent.

Software development in general means being office based and often quite isolated as it requires you to apply a reasonably high level of concentration. It’s not just games companies that offer development jobs either, there are plenty of large companies that develop their own software, as well as smaller, niche businesses that offer bespoke software to certain industries.

Think About Postgraduate Education

You can of course choose to go down the route of taking a Masters degree, but you can also think about IT certification. This tends to be expensive, but so does taking an MA and there’s no reason you couldn’t still get a career development loan, although you should check that the provider is on the eligibility list before you apply.

Many of the major IT companies offer certification, such as:

·         Microsoft

·         Cisco

·         CompTIA

And many more. Professional certifications are often given more weight by IT employers, as faith in graduates is not as its optimum level right now, probably because of the lack of decent courses that have been available in the past. However, this is something that is changing and it’s worth chatting with recruiters at graduate fairs to find out if they like certified candidates and if so, which certifications they prefer.

Keep an Open Mind

Technology is such a huge part of our lives these days that there’s a demand for it in virtually every sector. With this in mind, whilst you might have had an idea floating around in your head about rising to the top of Microsoft in the next couple of years, be realistic and realise that opportunities exist everywhere.

Be inquisitive and do your homework before the recruiters talk to you and there’s a very good chance that you’ll impress somebody enough for them to make you an offer. You may have been thinking games and end up getting supermarket, but you’re just starting out on your exciting new career and so need to keep your options open.

Having said that, there’s certainly nothing wrong with being ambitious, so if you feel that you’ve got what it takes to work for a big company that you have your eye on, making some serious cash, then what have you got to lose but a no? And those, at this stage of your life, mean very little.

Who knows, you could very well be the next Steve Jobs…

[Video] Plugging the IT Skills Gap – Education

[Video] Plugging the IT Skills Gap – Education 150 150 Simon Randall

The IT skills gap has been subject to much discussion over the past few years and is something that makes it difficult for many companies to find people with the right skills that they need in order to help their business grow.

So what is being done to address it? There are plenty of programs around for adults to gain certification in many areas of IT, from Microsoft Engineering certification, to various Google programs that are aimed at improving on existing skills. But what does this mean for the future of the industry? Is it enough?

Computer Science and the UK Curriculum

Of course, in some schools around the country, Computer Science has become part of the curriculum, but for the most part, education around the sector remains lacking. Even the degree level course of the same name doesn’t really address the high-end skills that the industry lacks even now.

Without addressing this, it’s likely that we will see more and more skilled jobs remained unfilled and desperate employers casting their net around the world in search of the top IT professionals. This is true of a range of skills that are needed, such as:

·         Security

·         Big Data

·         Programming

·         Computer engineering

And more …

Is Security Really so Important?

Of course, more sophisticated attacks are occurring daily and a portion of these are carried out by states, not just cyber criminals. This means that it’s necessary to ensure the safety of the web infrastructure, as the consequences of an attack on the main nodes could prove to be fatal in numerous ways. Just think about how much of our lives, both working and personal, are now controlled by technology, from the National Grid to Emergency Services.

However, security is far from the only skills that are needed overall, as technology continues to charge swiftly onwards, changing the way we work almost on a monthly basis. It’s become so important it almost defies belief that it’s not yet been effectively addressed.

Some large IT organisations are addressing this and helping both kids and adults to better improve skills. One of the problems many companies find is the cost of training, so it really is something that needs to be addressed at more of a ‘grass roots’ level. Take a look at the video below to find out what’s needed and what companies like Oracle are doing to address the problem.

Quadratek People

Bearing all of this in mind, now is an ideal opportunity to introduce you to Quadratek People, our innovative solution which helps the private and public sectors to find highly qualified IT professionals through a pro-active approach to recruitment.

As members of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, we’re a trusted resource for both IT job hunters and employers. Our consultants work hard to match the right people with specialist skills with the right job.

Interested in finding out more about how Quadratek People can help fill your IT gap? Looking for a high-end position in IT, either permanent or temporary?

Give us a call now on +44 01252 849 006 to see just what we can do for you.