ENTRANTS TO IRELAND'S third level information technology courses continue running at an unsustainably low level. I see this unfortunate trend first-hand at my desk in a publicly-funded ICT department. Teenaged Irish students do not find IT, computer science or mathematics curricula exciting or cool. This trend will result in a dearth of qualified chief information officers before the end of the next decade. Fast forward to 2019 and you will find all CIO positions filled in Ireland. Look behind their CVs and you'll discover the people running the information strategies for many Irish companies and State agencies will not be as qualified as most are today. Tha'ts because a CIO needs substantial business acumen, smooth interpersonal skills and time-tested leadership abilities. You develop these traits over time.
The clock starts back at third level when you immerse in a degree programme and learn high-end skills required to compete in a knowledge economy. Today, Ireland hosts hundreds of foreign nationals who connect the dots for Irish companies because the Ireland has not produced enough qualified IT talent. Some companies have outsourced jobs to India, Russia and eastern Europe. That's fine for some processes, but not for the CIO.
CIOs need to analyse IT processes. You cannot develop an IT process for an organisation without working with the people on the intranet. You need to listen to the way things work inside a company or a local authority by chatting with people between meetings and by listening to feedback from customers.You need to understand how reception staff, administrative specialists and part-time workers input data and pull down information. Understand these processes and you will earn approval for running a superb information technology unit.
Irish companies, big and small, need well-rounded IT experts. This need will not decline during the next 20 years. The IT sector offers a huge opportunity for young people and it must deliver results if Ireland hopes to continue ticking over with its robust economy.
Goeff Colvin -- "Turning our backs on tech" in Fortune, 23 July 2007