CompTIA EMEA Member and Partner Conference 2018 Keynotes Examine Current Tech Landscape

IMG_1520As with all CompTIA events, the EMEA Member and Partner Conference, which took place 16, 17 October in London, was packed with insightful keynotes. Read on to stay up to speed with what over 500 attendees took in this week.

Skills Please

With two million unfilled tech jobs globally, how do we encourage more people to enter the IT industry? Todd Thibodeaux, CEO of CompTIA, opened the EMEA Conference second day with a keynote that explored the ways in which we can encourage more people to get into the industry and help bridge the skills deficit. Key to this will be bridging the confidence gap – the perception that many people hold that they wouldn’t be suited to a career in IT because they don’t think they have the ability to do it. The reality is that anyone can acquire the skills to enter the industry; it isn’t a mysterious and magical sector. It’s a fun and exciting career where skills can easily be taught.

Getting more people into tech roles starts with parents, education and industry playing their part in showing what roles are out there and the different pathways into a career in IT. But we also have to shift perceptions that science and maths are essential to technology degrees. Thibodeaux argued that soft skills are by far the most important in today’s technology industry. The ability to be communicative is essential to doing business. Technical skills can be taught later.

Technology is an Evolving Story

Dex Torricke-Barton – former head of communications, SpaceX; executive communications manager at Facebook; and executive at Google – provided fascinating insight on the tech trends of today that can be linked back to science fiction novels of the past. For example, in his 1938 book World Brain, H.G. Wells wrote about a universal common resource of information that would help advance understanding of society and combat the seeds of war. In essence, he described the Internet.

In her 1818 book Frankenstein, Mary Shelley wrote about a monster that learned how to become a productive member of society, but society deemed him to be evil and therefore became evil. This has parallels in the way that people have a kneejerk reaction to a lot of new technology, such as VR headsets and video games. But we need to embrace technology and new ideas and surround them with people who can help commercialise and bring them into mainstream society.

World Class Performance in a Changing Landscape

Monty Halls, broadcaster and adventurer, Seadog Television and Film Productions, delivered an enlightening talk on how teams can be successful in highly stressful, challenging and rapidly changing environments. Drawing on his experiences in the Marines and filming nature documentaries in extreme environments, he brought to life how your beliefs, identity and attitude are key to overcoming the obstacles you face.

He explained that in every expedition, your plans will inevitably go wrong and things will start to fail – things are simply out of your control. But the thing you can control is your attitude and being able to overcome these situations can lead to the greatest successes of all. 

The UK as a World Leader in Tech

Margot James, Government Minister of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), addressed the audience, explaining how the government is tackling the country’s digital skills challenge and transforming the UK into a technology world leader. She pointed to a number of programmes such as the Tech Talent Charter and local digital skills partnerships, to which CompTIA is contributing.

The Technology Industry Is at An Inflection Point

Technology is evolving faster than it ever has before. A whole raft of emerging technologies, from artificial intelligence, VR, AR to blockchain, are causing a wave of disruption. Clare Barlcay, COO at Microsoft, said on day one of the EMEA Conference that the skills gap is one of the biggest inhibitors to technology change, so the time is now to invest in people and make the next generation of technology a reality.

Click here to learn all about the CompTIA EMEA Member and Partner Conference and here to learn about the CompTIA UK Channel Community.

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