Our education system must reflect the increasing importance of IT

Organisations need skilled and agile IT professionals as their strategic technology partners to implement digital changes. With the increase in cyberattacks since 2020, demand is up for roles in cybersecurity and other specialist IT roles.

Funding gap in third-level computer science

Despite the increasingly important role of computer science graduates across all sectors, there is a troubling gap in statutory investment in third-level computer science courses compared to engineering and other lab-based disciplines.

Professor Tiziana Margaria, ICS council member and fellow, and professor of computer science at the University of Limerick, explains: “There is an unjustified funding gap between the software engineering and computer science education and the computer engineering disciplines. Computer science is an experimental science that takes place primarily in projects in labs, similar to computer engineering.

“Third-level institutions are training students in computer sciences and software engineering — essential to the progression of our society. The systematic underfunding of computer science — one the most prominent tech professions in the country — is not reflective of where the discipline is today.”

Culture of IT professionalism

IT and digital professionals help society tackle its shared goals and challenges, so we must build an Irish IT profession that is recognised and trusted by other stakeholders. Professionalism is a key concern for IT professionals globally. Standards of competence, knowledge and ethics are now demanded as evidence of the high levels of quality assurance and competence of those working in IT.

IT Professionalism Europe (ITPE) is a network of leading stakeholders committed to the implementation of those standards, developed by CEN/TC428, and the advancement of IT professionalism in Europe. The Irish Computer Society (ICS) has high-level involvement in both ITPE and CEN/TC428. The European Commission’s Digital Decade ambition of having 20 million IT professionals in Europe by 2030 will be enhanced by the work and advocacy of ITPE and the ICS.

Digital skills are essential for all

Third-level and advanced digital skills are the bedrock of IT professionalism — critical to the success of the European economy and society. Everyone should have the opportunity and access to develop strong digital skills. A digitally competent workforce means a larger pool of talent for future IT professionals. Not every student will go on to become an IT professional, but having the chance to build key ICT skills and competencies can open the door to more opportunities and flexibility.

Back to top