Saving Computing Science – How the Scottish Tech Community can Make a Difference

Schools are back in and many parents working from home are quietly celebrating a bit of peace and quiet during the day (although I did forget the pain that is making tailored pack lunches for fussy children!).  It’s great that the school doors are open again. Throughout lockdown parents like myself have found an even bigger appreciation of the challenges that teachers face – especially having earwigged in on a few of my kid’s virtual classes.

Exam results were also out last month and the low take up in Computing Science made for disappointing reading.   Coupled with the downward trajectory in the number of people choosing a career in teaching Computing Science this suggests a worrying trend for the future of the Scottish economy, which is already facing a shortfall in qualified IT and data professionals.

Aside from working in tech recruitment, I have always had a keen interest in CS since my first “coding” days on my C64, but my enjoyment of computing wasn’t just down to exciting programming or Dailey Thompson’s Decathlon (if you know, you know).  Rather, it was inspired by my fantastic computing science teacher, Mr Malakoty.

Mr Malakoty inspired me and a number of other less than enthusiastic pupils, helping us to get through the computing coursework with some really interesting projects, taught with a tremendous passion that swept us through our exams.  I look back now and realise there is no way I would have passed computing and gone on to eventually study a Post Grad in IT if it wasn’t for his teaching style and CS knowledge.

I was impressed last year when Kate Forbes in the Scottish Government invited Mark Logan to conduct a review of Scotland’s Technology Ecosystem.  The review was comprehensive and identified three fundamental supporting areas upon which the performance of the Scottish Technology Ecosystem depends. Education was identified as one of these fundamental dependencies. However, we are yet to see the Scottish Government put in place actions that will change the downward trend of take up in Computing Science.

This is where the Scottish Tech Community can make a difference.  

The brilliant Toni Scullion, a Scottish teacher and founder of dressCode, the charity that aims to encourage more girls into Computing Science, launched the Digital Technology Education Charter (DTEC) earlier this year which aims to support, encourage and inspire the next generation of computing science at school.  By signing up to support the charter, you can bring us closer to saving Computing Science by:

  • Inspiring Parents and Pupils at career days about the joys of a career in IT
  • Inspiring Schools to find time for their teachers to upskill as technology moves so quickly. It is so difficult for teachers to find the time as they have to be present in the classroom
  • Showcasing your work in classes to bring the curriculum to life
  • Sharing your input and ideas around improving the curriculum to equip the pupils with strong programming skills
  • Encouraging more females into the profession through case studies showcasing this as a great career path for women in technology
  • Hosting or attending DTEC Events

 

Nearly every organisation in Scotland just now has talent issues within tech and the only way to ensure this stops is to get in at grassroots and inspire the next generation. Let’s get involved!

For a confidential discussion around your technology recruitment needs, or to find out more about getting involved with the DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION CHARTER, contact [email protected]

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