Inspiring students to consider careers in STEM

CA Technologies renews pledge to address STEM skills gap and gender imbalance at EU Digital Skills & Jobs Coalition Event.

One hundred and fifty thousand. That is the forecast shortfall in IT experts every year in Europe. Indeed, the demand for new ICT sector jobs could lead to an estimated shortage of more than 700,000 skilled ICT workers throughout the continent by 2020.

We need to take action. As technology becomes more integrated across our lives, it’s clear that the workforce will have to evolve, and that the jobs of the future will require significantly more Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM) skills. Make no mistake: this systematic issue of inadequate STEM educational access must be addressed urgently: all the way from early childhood, through post-secondary levels.

So it gave me great pleasure to renew CA Technologies pledge to address this STEM skills gap and gender imbalance during the European Union (EU) launch of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition in Brussels. The European Commission is launching the Coalition to develop a large digital talent pool and ensure that individuals and the labour force in Europe are equipped with adequate digital skills.

Our pledge is straightforward: to inspire secondary school students to consider future careers in STEM through programmes that show the connections between studies and career opportunities. CA Technologies will also further develop relationships with schools to encourage innovative STEM teaching that reflects the role of technology in building and strengthening today’s digital world. Our ultimate aim is to reach 2,000 secondary students and 150 secondary school teachers between January 2017 and January 2018.

Over the last two years, CA Technologies has nurtured its Create Tomorrow programme, a Europe-wide STEM programme that encourages secondary school children to consider STEM studies and careers. The Company has already reached more than 6,000 under-18 secondary school pupils and university students, and more than 2,000 of these students were females.

Bringing students into the heart of tech

Another Create Tomorrow initiative that I am immensely proud of took place this week at the CA Prague office. It brought coding and digital literacy to local school students in a fun and engaging way. A group of 10 secondary school students aged between 16 and 19 from Gymnázium Jana Keplera School in the Czech Republic spent a week with CA Technologies developers at the CA Prague office to develop their understanding of how technology works, and nurture the skills and capabilities needed in the application economy.

This is the third year we have run the programme, and the students were guided by volunteers from the Company. Besides learning more about coding, the students discovered what it’s like to work in a ‘scrum’ team—the most widely-used Agile software development methodology.

The students were also taught new technical skills, like JavaScript, HTML, CSS, MySQL and GitHub for source management. And they found out that there’s much more to development than just coding: requirements gathering, design, code, test, document, presentation, and support are all essential components of a successful release.

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Students in Prague.

Why do we do this?  Understanding simple concepts used in the tech industry opens doors for students to the skills and expertise they need in the future. It can help them when applying for universities or in their future careers, or to have on their CVs as proof that their interest in software engineering beyond just turning up at lessons.

Moreover, it should give them an advantage with employers, that they have even a little real-world experience and are able to intelligently discuss software engineering and methodologies like Agile and Scrum.

The next chapter of Create Tomorrow starts in January 2017, when we begin a partnership with the STEM Alliance as a founder member. Governed by European Schoolnet and CSR Europe, STEM Alliance works to strengthen industry and STEM education collaboration to increase students’ interest in STEM subjects at school and in higher education; and supports innovation in approaches to STEM teaching. A part of our partnership, CA Technologies will work with STEM Alliance on various initiatives to help achieve these goals.

The programmes that CA Technologies is participating in clearly show the connections between studies and career opportunities. Our ambition is to further develop relationships with schools to contribute towards, and encourage, innovative STEM teaching that reflects the role of technology in building and strengthening today’s digital world.

 

 


Marco joined CA Technologies in 2011 as President of Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA)…

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