Cyrus D'Cruz from Hudson IT&T presented on the "Who is the Future ICT Professional?" in the ACS's Education Across the Nation series in Canberra on Tuesday. He will also be presenting it in Adelaide 19 March, Perth 20 March, Melbourne 21 March, and Hobart 21 March.
I have to confess being relived that the talk was well attended and well presented. This is the fist of the series ACS is running for professional development in 2007, and the first under my term as in the ACS's Professional Development Board Director.
Cyrus brought a refreshing skepticism to issues such as dealing with the demands of "Generation Y" in the workplace. He argues that any group of younger employees are going to be demanding and organizations who need their skills must provide innovative incentives, which need not be monetary.
He identified the problem that the proportion of women is increasing in the professions, except in ICT. This makes worse the problem of young people not being attracted to ICT courses at university and thus making a skills shortage worse. Avoiding being overly prescriptive, Cyrus argues that the particular ICT technical skills in demand will change from time to time, but management skills will remain in demand. He also touched on the aging workforce and the need to have flexible work arrangements for all employees.
The ACS has several initiatives to address the issues raised. Professor Shirley Gregor AO was in the audience for the Canberra talk. She heads the ACS Professional Standards Board, which accredits university ICT courses in Australia. The courses have to include professional issues, as well as purely technical skills.
As well as short seminars for members, the ACS provides formal online postgraduate training in management skills in its ACS Computer Professional Education Program.
To encourage greater diversity of people into ICT the ACS Foundation provides scholarships.