[Written with Enza Iannopollo, a Research Associate in Forrester’s London office] 

During last month’s Forrester Forum in Paris, Enza spoke with a client who shared some thoughts about his business. Aware that technology is everyday more critical for business to be successful, his main concern as an enterprise architect was the shortage of skilled IT labor.

Many people can juggle multiple devices or can use various software and applications, but very few know how to write an application or how to publish digital content. For the client, recruiting valuable employees was a major concern. “The origin of the problem lies in the education system, where technology literacy is not present at all or, if it exists, ICT and science teachers are often poorly equipped,” he pointed out.

If it’s true that “company in distress makes sorrow less,” our client will be at least comforted by the idea that a growing number of business people experiences the same difficulty — lack of skilled labor is the No. 1 obstacle to implementing tech solutions. And maybe, he will be relieved to know that tech vendors, new companies, and creative partnerships are looking to fill this gap.

One of those new companies is Decoded*, a startup founded this year in London, offering workshops aimed to teach how to code . . . in one day. The range of their clients is wide, including people coming from every level in organizations of any size. The challenge is the same for each of them: no previous knowledge or experience in IT and a personal, brand-new application to be coded in one day. So far, Decoded has been impressively successful, and the aim is to open up its activity to schools, ensuring every child digital literacy since primary school.

Sharing the same will to spread high-quality IT knowledge, Google has recently announced the creation of a partnership with Charity Teach First to offer training and support to more than 100 ICT teachers to work in schools located in some of the lowest income countries. Moreover, Google is providing each teacher with innovative teaching aides.  The partnership is expected to benefit more than 20,000 students in three years, offering them an adequate level of technology literacy.

One question is really what skill set we will need in the future as IT truly moves to BT.  Maybe it is not the traditional IT worker discussed on the bus. But, at a minimum, we need greater technology literacy. 

We are very interested in tracking these types of initiatives. Please do not hesitate to share them with us.