“The European IT workforce needs highly skilled, innovative, as well as responsible and accountable professionals, adhering to common standards. Only in this way, can we ensure the efficient and secure growth of European business while making sure that people can trust and use the IT-based products and services.”
By Austeja Trinkunaite – Secretary General, IT Professionalism Europe (ITPE)
The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of digital technologies by industry while exposing the related vulnerabilities including computer failures, cyber-criminality, and ransomware. To meet the challenges of the digital transition, the European Commission announced an ambitious target to have 20 million IT professionals within the European workforce by 2030. This target is very timely because demand for IT professionals in the labour market is growing, along with the development and use of new technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Blockchain.
There are many ideas about how we can strive to reach this goal. These include upskilling and re-qualifying employees from other backgrounds, attracting a more diverse population, and developing high quality education programmes and apprenticeships. We do not need to reinvent the wheel. That is why it is crucial to share best practice and scale up the successful initiatives through platforms like DSJC. However, while increasing the number of IT professionals, the EU governments, social and education systems must not only focus on quantity, but also the quality of the IT workforce.
The European IT workforce needs highly skilled, innovative, as well as responsible and accountable professionals, adhering to common standards. Only in this way, can we ensure the efficient and secure growth of European businesses while making sure that people can trust and use the IT-based products and services.
Competences are sustained by developing and maintaining relevant technical and soft skills. An IT professional should also commit to a code of conduct and adopt a professional attitude – striving for high quality and applying best practice to meet the requirements of employers or clients. Furthermore, participation in a wider professional community will build a joint effort to develop and promote best practices and the uptake of common standards.
Much of the work on developing the IT professional standards is being done by the European Standardisation Committee (CEN). CEN has already released the e-Competence Framework (e-CF), which has benefited numerous companies across Europe in describing IT profiles and upskilling their staff. CEN will soon release the European Professional Ethics Framework.
We, at IT Professionalism Europe (ITPE), work to build a community supporting this work and to exchange best practice for creating a truly professional IT workforce.
Everyone should be involved: employers, social partners, as well as education and training providers. Particularly public authorities should demonstrate leadership by committing to the highest IT Professionalism standards as employers and IT services clients.
You can find out how to get involved in our policy paper on building the best IT workforce to deliver Europe’s digital transition.