Friday Mar 27, 2009

How can we build the knowledge economy workforce?

The issue of how we adequately prepare the IT workforce of tomorrow is an important one for students and teachers of computer science around the world. Students may wonder whether they are gaining the necessary skills through their courses to compete effectively for jobs. And academics understand the complexities involved in readying students for employment. But how can industry and educational institutions work together to build the knowledge economy workforce?

I took part in a panel that discussed this very question. You can watch the session below. We explored how companies such as Sun and SAP work with universities to deliver industry skills to students, and looked at why communities - such as the Sun OSUM groups on campus - are important elements of that strategy. But are students cynical about companies like Sun that offer things for free? Does the IT industry suffer from an image problem? And how can we inspire more people to develop their ICT skills? Find out below.

The panel:

  • Gary Serda - Strategic Education Marketing Manager (Sun)
  • Dr Helmut Krcmar - Academic Director of SAP Competence Centre (University of Munich)
  • Andrew McFarlane - Sun Campus Ambassador at Edinburgh University (UK)


Wednesday Mar 25, 2009

What is really important for students - the ex-student perspective

In retrospect many things are obvious, or at least more easy to understand. So what I wanted to know from teachers, Sun engineers, sun partners and customers was this: "What do you think is important for a student - what should a student do right now to get prepared for the future?"

I got a bunch of answers and would like to share some perspectives with you:

Current trends indicate that the amount of data which is currently produced will continue to grow exponentially. That introduces new challenges in managing and archiving this data, as well as working with it. So jobs which currently seem currently unattractive, like infrastructure for network and data centers, might become cruicial and very well paid.

Handling the vast amounts of data, for example at the large hadron collider at CERN, leads to new approaches to distributed and parallel processing. Hardware, the tools (software) as well as the underlying algorithms need adoption and synergetic development to utilize new possibilities in each field. For example, the Nvidia CUDA technology is very promising, but currently hard to handle for computer programmers. Let alone physiciscs who eventually should make use of it..

Community building is important for students, as for companies, too. A social network by any means allows you to share knowledge as well as job opportunities. So get engaged in communities that are relevant to you. Don't be shy, connect to people with a mutual interest.

(By the way - did you know http://osum.sun.com/  ?)

Day 1 Review

ERC 2009 kicked off today in fine style with an afternoon of varied and stimulating talks from Sun experts and education leaders.

The event began shortly after 2pm CET with a warm welcome from Robert Bergkvist, Director of GEH Europe at Sun, who gave an overview of Sun's role in the education and research space.

Building on that theme, Joe Hartley explained why communities are important to Sun's educational strategy, and Peter Tandy gave insight into Sun's Open Storage Strategy. Prof Alexander Reinefeld then poke about the future of storage and data management at the Large Hadron Collider.

Jonathan Schwartz made a guest appearance by video, and Steve Heller rounded things off with a talk on the subject of collaborative environments and tools for distributed work environments.


Find more photos like this on Open Source University Meetup
About

Andy McFarlane

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