Tag Archives: career choices

Decode digital career opps on cool new website

DLR-Hand-ArmIt’s as natural as breathing to most teenagers, but how do they make a career out of it?

I’m talking, of course, about social media and digital technology in general.

More than 84,000 Scots currently work in digital tech roles and more than 1,000 companies are active in software development and services, digital agencies work, games development and telecommunications.

But how do you find your way to one of these fascinating and frequently lucrative roles?

A former colleague of mine who is ICT and Digital Sector Technologies Sector Manager at Skills Development Scotland has the answer.

Claire Gillespie says, “The tech industry is one of the most exciting and rapidly evolving sectors in Scotland and there’s a whole range of industries, from fashion to music, that rely on digital and technology professionals to underpin what they do.

“Our digital technology sector has great potential to grow even further in years to come, so I’m delighted with the advent of a new website www.digitalworld.net, which shines a light on the many opportunities on offer.”

The Scottish Technology Industry Survey 2016 reveals the digital tech sector experienced strong growth in 2015, but that this success is creating a skills shortage.

There are numerous college and university courses out there to help young people step into the fold, but, as Yoda once said, ‘choose wisely young padawan’!”

The new website is packed with all manner of advice and intelligence including several excellent case studies on young people and the various paths they’ve taken to successful careers in digital tech.

Indeed, so keen are employers to recruit talented young people to the cause that the site also provides details of coder clubs in locations such as Glasgow, Stirling, Perth and Peebles to help children as young as nine develop their skills.

There are two coder club networks in Scotland, Coderdojo Scotland and Code Club, with further details at www.coderdojoscotland.com and www.codeclub.org.uk, respectively.

Claire continues, “The areas where we are likely to be seeing growth in jobs are around things like cyber security, ethical hacking, big data and data analytics, so if there are any budding young sleuths out there with an interest in computing employers would love to hear from them.

“Equally, artificial intelligence and robotics are no longer the stuff of sci-fi. Scotland needs another David Gow – inventor of the pioneering Edinburgh Modular Arm System – now!”

Start your voyage of discovery at www.digitalworld.net




Higher education isn’t for everyone

It was with a sense of déjà vu that I attended Woodfarm High School’s careers evening last Thursday. With one notable exception – there were far more choices for pupils in the array of stands from colleges and universities to Construction Skills and Morgan Stanley, than when Lyle started out on this process four years ago.

I put this down to two things; the enormous effort that is being made to develop Scotland’s young workforce and the fact that the economy is a lot stronger than it was in 2011. It was lovely to see companies like Morgan Stanley and Scottish Enterprise actively courting young people for careers in financial services and economic development.

The longest economic downturn in UK history at last seems to be easing at least in terms of the way employers view young people. During the recession companies simply couldn’t afford to bring on newbies, preferring instead to take their pick from the many thousands of experienced people looking for jobs.

Faced with such a variety, 15 year-old Ethan gravitated to the universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, St. Andrews and Stirling. His starting point being they all have great sports facilities, as he’s a talented athlete. In preparation for the evening, however, he’d been asked which subjects he was interested in to which he replied psychology, chemical engineering and marine biology. Wow! How do you narrow it down from there?

At one point in the evening, though, he drifted over to Skills Development Scotland’s stand and though I didn’t hear what was said know – from working there – that the advisers will be encouraging young people to look beyond higher education for a successful and fulfilling career.

East Renfrewshire schools have one of the highest participation rates in HE of any local authority in Scotland (67% of pupils went to university in 2014), but it’s a lesser-known fact that East Ren pupils also have a high drop out rate at uni.

East Renfrewshire is predominantly middle-class with parents who are very interested and active in their children’s education. The authority also employs techniques to “hot-house” kids to exam success such as Easter and Saturday school. (No complaints from this parent. Ethan studies far better in a group.)

However, intensive support at school combined with over anxious parents seems to be resulting in a perfect storm – young people who slavishly follow the road to university (often to study subjects their parents look upon as “safe”) and when they get there discover a) the subject they chose is not for them or b) independent study is a huge culture shock.

That’s why I admire the moves afoot to persuade young people that there are other routes to career success such as Modern Apprenticeships, college (which can be a springboard to uni) and progressing straight from school to jobs, which thankfully are much easier to find than four years ago.

I’ve been listening joyously of late to a friend describe the progress of her son who started studying graphic design at college last month. Loving the independence and the fact that he can spend all his time doing what he loves, Jack has turned a corner.