Stands for Chartered IT practitioner guy…
Was having a think about the NZ computer society’s new thing, professional certification program. Initially, I was sceptical, thinking “kids don’t go to accounting because they can be a CA, and they sure don’t study law because they have to sit a bar exam”.
Having thought about it some more… I am still sceptical. The NZCS (which I am trying to join, but don’t actually know anyone to recommend me, drop me a line if you do!) I believe correctly identify the lack of recognition of IT as a discipline amongst students and parents, and suggest that a professional qualification will help.
But I don’t think it will. Its too late in the food chain…
The problem for me is that kids (and parents) have no idea what a career in IT means. Why? They don’t understand the role of IT in society. Law? Easy, saw that John Grisham film with Tom Cruise. Medicine? I watch Shortland St, I get it. Accounting? Boring, but all about $$$. Engineering? Bridges and buildings right? IT… um. Computers. um. Hmm.
So theres the issue. Its not because of the lack of a professional standard, although Im certainly not suggesting thats a bad thing. Its simply because parents (and kids) do not understand what it means to be involved in IT. They are happy to be IT consumers, but the jump to IT producer is enormous, and there is no schooling structure to support it
How do we change this? Obviously, we moan to the government about how the current curriculum is inadequate (this is sarcasm). It is inadequate. Actually, it doesnt exist at all AFAIK. IT was never treated as separate from ‘technology’, which encompasses basically anything using some form of tool.
So theres a problem. Kids don’t get into CS because there is no CS to get into. It doesnt exist. Sure, there are things where you can learn Excel and Word, but I’m talking coding. Algorithms. Databases. AI. World changing, speed. Power. *arf* (snorting like Tim Taylor in Home Improvement).
Thats right. The hard stuff.
So we need to change the curriculum. Number 1, and we need it soon. How will teachers cope though? Maybe IT practitioners should teach some of those classes, an hour or 2 a week, with some prep time? Why not? we can only productively work about 5-6 hours a day anyhow, it probably wouldn’t kill us. Industry needs to step up here.
We also need a change in perception of computing from geekdom to unlimited possibility, lots of money, travel, excitement employment and company starting. Another place where industry needs to help out.
And we need to get more girls involved. Every girl who takes calc or stats should be taking CS and thinking seriously about it as a profession. Why isnt this happening?
Love your thoughts.