Who takes the credit for britain’s booming tech sector?

By Simon Moss, Associate Director & Head of Business Development

The UK tech sector is booming – of that there’s no doubt.

But who should be credited for this success? Is it the Government, for creating an economy in which the tech sector can thrive? Or is it simply down to the good old entrepreneurial spirit of the Brits?

One entity that shouldn’t be singled out for praise, it seems is the UK’s education system – at least according to Guardian journalist and developer Benji Lanyado.

This week, Lanyado claimed developers – those writing the code that keep tech companies afloat – are the true heroes. And they didn’t learn their skills in a classroom.

So, is the teaching of ICT woefully inadequate in Britain? While that may be the case, it doesn’t tell the whole picture.

Last year, Whiteoaks carried out an incredibly interesting piece of research with Teradata, a global leader in Big Data and analytics, as to what skills make a truly great data scientist.

The answer, in a nutshell, was creative skills. Being a data scientist is not about pure mathematics, or being adept with graphs and tables, but the ability to think laterally and ask the right questions. These skills could just as easily come from English Literature.

This isn’t to say that Big Data is the be all and end all for ICT learning, but it is a pretty useful example. It also poses some interesting questions.

Is technology becoming so important that it deserves greater recognition in our schools? If you can’t work a tablet, do you risk being left behind in 10 years’ time?

When I was at secondary school, IT lessons involved learning to touch-type. Nowadays, those skills probably aren’t necessary. One look around a train carriage or airport departure lounge and you’ll see any number of children happily tapping away on a smart device.

Shakespeare, though, needs to be taught. I haven’t yet seen a seven year old opening up a battered copy of The Tempest on the 9.28 to Waterloo.

The point I am trying to make is, to truly empower the next generation of employees in the tech sector, should ICT be integrated into other courses?