Nurturing future IT professionals and leaders

My blog has been nominated for an award within the CIO/IT Director category, recommend my blog for the shortlisted candidates at:

http://www.computerweekly.com/nominate.Voting for shortlisted entries will open on 27th October

(This is a sister article to – The future graduate and the IT and Computing skills shortage)

“The price of greatness is responsibility”- Sir Winston Churchill

So, there we have it. Churchill, grasped the essence of my topic, quite aptly. Today’s CIOs, local government, schools, colleges and universities owe it to future generations to support and nurture our future IT professionals and Leaders. It just isn’t good enough for us (everyone involved within the IT industry) to pass the buck anymore. We can all either sit on the fence and do nothing and continue to whinge over the future, or, hey, let’s just be positive and do whatever we can as individuals to inspire youngsters to join our beloved profession. So, what can we do? Actually, quite a lot. It’s like JFK said;

Think not what your country can do for you, think what you can do for your country,”

or if you are a Hoff fan, like me;

You were spared to lead the great fight. Don’t turn away in fear. One man can make a difference and you are going to be that man”.

Let’s be those men/women. Here is a starter for 10, to get you going.

1. Join Computing’s, tomorrow’s IT Leaders initiative and their associated LinkedIn group.

Now, don’t just join this initiative but become active participants. Your thoughts and interaction will push this initiative to a successful conclusion. What do you think should happen to encourage youngsters? How can we engage and involve local CIOs, local government, schools, colleges and universities? All these types of questions need to be asked.

2. Why can’t we have a standard degree and masters across the UK/accredit the e-skills Information Technology Management for Business (ITMB) degree nationally? (Taught at 13 universities already)

There are too many versions of IT degrees nationally. As such, employers are never certain of the skills that a new IT graduate will bring with them. Is the answer to have an IT degree/masters standard?

3. For IT leadership (CIOs), City University, London is launching a new masters course. Again, why can’t we have such a course at a national level?

4. Work placements and open days, organised by CIOs.

Almost, every UK town and city has organisations that have CIOs. Every CIO should be advertising at least two work placements every year. In addition, open days should be held by IT departments for school delegations of up to 30, twice each year. The format should include representatives from every department, showcasing how these departments utilise IT and the benefits, cost savings etc enjoyed by that department with the IT department explaining why that solution was chosen and the process, for example, invitation to tender (ITT) and project management methodologies used. This would give school children a unique overview of IT within an actual organisation while showcasing the commercial, business and IT elements by those departments.

CIOs also need to consult with local councils etc to organise open career days within schools where CIOs explain the merits of a career within IT while explaining popular career paths etc.

The e-skills council is currently organising many similar activities but I feel that the e-skills council need to include the above and e-skills also need to market all their activities with a renewed vigour as the message that they want to deliver is still not getting through.

To finish the article, the other good news is that the current GCSE ICT syllabus is being replaced for a new GCSE ICT syllabus in September 2010. There was always concern within the IT fraternity that the current GCSE ICT syllabus did not provide the foundation required to enter the profession and was ill equipped to handle recent developments within ICT. The new syllabus is much better and has taken into account the maturity of IT within organisations and as such provides a much better foundation for aspiring ICT youngsters.

The finishing quote for this article, had to be from my favourite builder, Bob the builder;

“Can we fix IT?” “Yes, we can!”

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About mubbisherahmed
I am passionate about IT and its ability to deliver cost effective, value for money solutions that can enhance performance and in many cases provide competitive advantage by using a range of solutions and approaches in innovative ways.

9 Responses to Nurturing future IT professionals and leaders

  1. Ed says:

    enjoyed the article
    some of my favorite quotes are;
    Failure is always an option
    You should consider yourself a warning to others.
    Its always darkest just before it goes completely pitch black
    That which does not kill me only postpones the inevitable
    and one of my favories
    For every winner there are dozens of losers, chances are you’re one of them.

    Keep up the good work
    Ed

    • mubbisherahmed says:

      I appreciate your comments and am always encouraged by comments such as yours to keep posting my viewpoints and knowledge to anyone out there who could benefit from them. Do you by any chance know who made these quotes, as I may use of some/all of them. Thanks.

  2. mubbisherahmed says:

    A fellow group member on one of my social media sites, Matt Miller Business Systems Consultant, PRINCE2 Practitioner and ITIL Acolyte said:

    Well done, Mubbisher!!! I agree with the first point especially. I’d actually extend that to saying – you’ve got to be “in it to win it” where blogs, discussion forums and other forms of social media are concerned in getting you your next job

    I replied:

    Its always great to get fellow IT professionals appreciating my blog, so thanks, it always means a lot to me. I started blogging and thought I may not enjoy it but six months in, I am thoroughly enjoying blogging and presenting/departing my points of view and knowledge. Its just a great feeling!

  3. mubbisherahmed says:

    A fellow group member on one of my social media sites, Anandasubramanian Codangudi Banking Solution Architect specializing in IT solutions for BASEL-II Operational Risk Reduction said:

    As Tom DeMarco once said: “The only duty of a team lead is to deliver a well-knit team to his successor.”
    Ever since i read that quote, i have been trying to follow it diligently.
    So far i have mentored two teams of 7 each.
    They work as well-knit close teams.
    Sometimes its good, sometimes bad.
    Together as a team they work wonders,
    Together they take a lot of time to welcome any newcomers to enter this team.

    I replied:

    Absolutely, so, here we have a real world example of Dr Deming’s deadly diseases management suffer from. So, I am glad that you have mentioned your expriences.
    Please view –
    Can IT Management failure be caused by a deadly disease? Part II
    http://preview.tinyurl.com/edemming2

  4. mubbisherahmed says:

    Another few members have made the following comments on social media sites.

    Scott Griffin, MBA Enthusiastic MBA-level professional said:

    Nurturing future IT professionals and leaders would be dependant upon the organization/company that you are with. If they have no plan – they have no plan. For those type it is far easier to buy the skills from contractors than it is to nurture the required skills from inside.

    Also there is the fear-factor … If someone shows inititive by upgrading their skills and/or education he/she then becomes a threat to the management in power (with lower skills/education).

    Jeri Hird Dutcher Certified Career Coach and Resume Writer for IT, IS, and Web professionals and executives replied:

    If you’re with a clueless company like you describe, figure out how you can influence a positive change in the culture, or start your exit plan. By the time it is economically feasible, you’ll be ready to go. However, beware. Nearly 50% of employed people in the country say they’re ready to do the same thing when the recession eases.

    I replied and said:

    Yes, this is a challenge. Firstly, we need to see IT professionals making their way through apprenticeships/universities and then we need to ensure that we can build the talent that we already have, through skills development such as SFIA – http://www.sfia.org.uk/ (Within the UK and expanding globally now as well).

    If you do end up in a company with no plan, then as Jeri said, an exit plan needs to be put in place as such organisations are akin to having their head in the sand and at some point in the future will regret their future/succession planning etc.

  5. mubbisherahmed says:

    David Wood Director at Merlin International Projects NZ Ltd, a fellow member of a social media site said:

    Hi Mubbisher, In the modern IT industry, the older (wiser?) people are often seen as a barrier to progress and are excluded by employers. Personally, I have always attempted to encourage, train, advise and mentor younger colleagues, often it was unwelcome or seen as a threat. Modern society does not appear to respect or value the efforts that those of us have put in over the years, in my case almost 40 years. If we are banished from the industry, how can we help pass on the experiences that we have learned? New technology implementations still face some of the traditional challenges that we have already overcome. I am interested in the opinion of younger professionals.

    I replied:

    Yes, I totally agree with you, David. When I wrote my article applying Dr Deming’s five deadly diseases to aspects that cause IT management failure – Can IT Management failure be caused by a deadly disease? Part II
    http://preview.tinyurl.com/edemming2
    it was very much about what you just said. Again, Dr Deming had already experienced these problems and had overcome them but we now find ourselves in an age where people that have experience are shunned and that experience is not allowed to filter through to younger professionals. I would request you to keep up your good work and to find people who are interested in learning from you and to impart that knowledge to people who appreciate your acumulated knowledge. Do not give up, their are plenty of people out there, prepared to learn.

  6. mubbisherahmed says:

    Mark Kobayashi-Hillary, Globalisation author & blogger, tech commentator and advisor made the folowing comment on a social media site that I am a member of:

    Don’t you think that the GCSE changes will make an enormous difference? Kids are lost to IT because the GCSE has been so useless, so why would they go on to A level or degree?

    I replied:

    Absolutely, Mark. It is definitely a step in the right direction and I am glad that e-skills/CIOs had the opportunity to advise the government on how to go about correcting the flaw with the old GCSE’s.

    As always we have no control of the past but we can change the future with through positive and constructive feedback.

    The new GCSE’s should inspire young people to go and complete degrees. We have a great IT industry within the UK and we need new talent!

  7. BradArral says:

    Hello, nice forum here.

    • mubbisherahmed says:

      Hi Collins Brad,

      Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by to read it and leaving such an encouraging comment.

      Mubbisher

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