back to article Australian Gartner chap slams gov-funded IT education boost

Government spending to develop folks with the IT skills business wants is a waste of time and money, according to Gartner analyst Rolf Jester. Australia-based Jester popped out a blog post carrying that opinion today, in response to the release of Australia's annual federal Budget. The release of that document is always a cue …

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Silver badge
Meh

In the UK the thinking is also that the IT sector is the most important industry in the country, the industry as a whole gets quite a number of benefits.

The Australians have hit the nail on the head, the industry is no more important than any other.

While IT is complimentary to many things, in itself it is useless unless applied to other uses....

It has a symbiotic relationship with the world, if it crashed and died overnight the world will still survive, mostly.

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Meh

Taxes

Good point well made. I think many more taxpayers will have doubts about supporting an IT industry that has so many promoinent leaders that seem to have issues contributing taxes back into the very society that fueled their growth. We already see a cynacism towards anyone in "banking" that seems to extend to the lowliest branch worker upwards based on the strategies of a few of those at the top of that industry.

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Coat

Jester.

Not joking.

I'll get my Drizza. It's looking like rain.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Jester.

The moniker may be (possibly unintentionally) appropriate, since one role of a traditional court jester was to be able to tell the ruler when they or their policies were asinine without risking being given the chop (literally).

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Anonymous Coward

TL;DR

Disclaimer MBA (Computing), MTech (Internet and Web) so I might be biased.

First, for Gartner ppl to understand something, it must be presented in a quadrant. If it is not, they do not get it. I am pretty sure I cannot present this in quadrants, will try though, but if some Gartner analyst manages to make it into a quadrant, they will get promoted into main quadrantian.

1. Education is second major export industry, behind minerals and it is worth about $15 billion. Minerals already are getting ridiculous amount of handouts, so investing in IT education is investing in second biggest Australian export industry. I am a bit worried that Gartner Analyst is unaware of that.

2. That aside, Australia must find way to diversify. Currently top exporting industry, minerals, covers about $130 billion, second and third together cover only $26 billion. Australia must find way to remove such dependency on mineral sector from its future. It must invest in education and knowledge economy. It must invest in the future, that is the government's job. Claiming that IT is about as important as HR is sort of, well let's call it... wrong. First because IT is mostly value adding, while HR is cost. Business rules are "invest in value adding, reduce cost". So, investing the same amount of money in value adding branch as well as in cost branch is, well let's call it... wrong. I am a bit worried that Gartner Analyst is unaware of that as well.

3. Third thing, IT offers potential that other industries, except bioengineering do not. Entry barriers for IT are quite low. For bioengineering is a bit higher, but compared to entry barrier for mining it is still peanuts. Disruption is quite possible in both. Last 30 years, almost all disruptions came from those two industries. Small number came from finances and even smaller from all the other industries put together. Jester is telling us this because of the internet, blog, and the rest of disruptions that happened in IT. I do not see that many disruptions in HR, to be honest.

4. Fourth. I have no idea what to put here, I just needed one more, for Gartner ppl to understand what I was saying :)

If anyone could be so kind to format this in quadrant and pass it to Jester, he might get it.

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Flame

Quality of IT Teachers

There is no point throwing money at trying to improve IT education, when the vast majority of IT teachers are no where near up to date with technology. Most are in there 40-50s and struggle with relevant issues like social media.

I have worked at a leading public school, and have many friends that work at schools throughout Australia. Time and time again I hear stories about students outsmarting their IT teachers, because they are still trying to teach them the basics of Excel, such as how to type into a cell. Kids these days are born with a computer in their hands, they do not need some former IT professional, who was unable to stay relevant in his industry, teaching them the basics of Office 2003.

I know a number of IT professionals who would love to become a teacher, but see no point because of the entire IT teacher community being so out of touch. For a young person like myself who is fairly new in the IT industry, I see the issue of wages as a problem, when I am able to get good money in IT why would I go and get less money and deal with out of touch "leading" teachers, who think VB6 is a relevant programming language.

From a Principals perspective though, they have almost no choice but to hire these former IT professional dropouts, due to the lack of available competent new teachers. I have heard Principals complain that they receive only 1 or 2 CV's when posting a new IT teacher position, compared to hundreds they receive for English teaching.

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Megaphone

While I agree enough to upvote your comment...

"still trying to teach them the basics of Excel, such as how to type into a cell." At university level I have to say "if only they would'. Kids coming in are 'computer confident' but beyond using social media they are completely IT-clueless for the most part. Don't even understand concepts as basic as what a filesystem is, or or basic awareness of codecs (in a media-production major).

And that is just the students - last week I was tasked to create a PowerPoint (gak!) slideshow in a hurry for a lecturer (definitely not my job) because the trainee office admin person didn't know how to operate the most basic functions of such software.

Of course the chances of the government money going into teaching real useful information skills is pretty slim anyway, no matter what they budget.

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