Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Canada, Youth and Computer Science - its not sexy, its our future

There is something about this article ( that just doesn’t sit well with me.
Lets talk about what works in the article:
  1. The Prime Minister is joining the co-founders of Canada Learning Code and Code.Org to mark the launch of Computer Science Education Week. I do not believe enough emphasis is phased on what the next evolution of technology will be and providing as many opportunities for youth to be aware of and perhaps learn if they so choose should be available to them. In addition, adults of all ages should be given the opportunity to learn how to code should they want to do so.
  2. I appreciate that the Canadian economy is evolving enough into new economy jobs that will bring forward opportunities for retraining those who need it to get in on the job market, but also build opportunities to keep our talent here, perhaps even attract talent to our shores. I like the fact that we are building the framework for new jobs in this field.
  3. I also appreciate that there is a need to get us all comfortable with technology while evolving our comfort levels to greater and greater forms of technology that surrounds us as it continues its growth in consumer based devices, interfaces, touch points, etc. I also find bringing groups that are not currently partaking in the industry or are underrepresented be provided with opportunities to join in as well is a valuable notion.
Where I can’t seem to connect is:
  1. Start computer science education in kindergarten. Now I know, the computer science education that is being talked about is not about learning how to code in a specific programming language at that age, but shouldn’t kindergarten be left alone to explore the intricacies of our world first? Shouldn’t we be exploring the beauty and expanse of the stars by looking through telescopes, learning basic fundamentals of language, poetry, art, history and culture than computer science? Is kindergarten the right place to start? Shouldn’t computer science be an option not a mandatory part of learning?
  2. Offering tax credits to small businesses to hire IT people - Why? As a small business that is in retail, the food industry or business services or fashion or whatever, why would they need to hire IT people? Wouldn’t their needs be best served by a one-time vendor that helps them craft an online marketplace or give them a POS (these days simplified by applications like Square) or setup their first laptop or computer (which has also been incrementally simplified) or have one of them telecom providers setup their internet? Why provide an incentive when its impractical from a small business mindset to spend anything more than you really need to? Small businesses are toughing it out and making the wheels turn of our economy and they do so by working hard and round the clock. Providing an incentive to add IT talent in their crew when that is not their focus industry makes little sense. IT should be seen as a corollary or a vehicle or a supplementary to do business like Accounting, Human Resources, etc. that you bring in or have in moderate amounts.
If you really want to provide incentives than do so by providing them to any business that expends monies on bringing in technology infrastructure or person power from anywhere (i.e. even if they have a company come help them out as those companies also hire IT talent).
If you really want to teach kids computer science, teach them about how you interact with technology and use it to learn and explore the world around them. Then, when they are mature enough provide them the option to learn how to code.
We need well rounded generational talent pools in our economy, not singularly minded or trained generations to meet one need. We need artists. We need scientists. We need historians. We need linguists. We need carers from our health sciences professions. We need mathematicians. We need a lot of professions and we need to provide a holistic approach to education not a singular focus based on a singular trend that creates professionals qualified only in a singular trade, as opposed to those that can carry their learnings across trades, professions, industries and sectors.
First published on my LinkedIN Profile on December 07, 2016 -