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The People part in Going Digital

3 min read

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Wednesday, 1st of March, the month of ‘being digitally fit’ kicked off here in the Netherlands. A great initiative that looks to bridge the gap between those of us that can’t get enough of the latest and greatest on AI and those who have to cope with the recurring frustration of ‘the darn computer not doing what I told it to do’. 

This digital gap between them is real, omnipresent, and far wider than businesses would expect.

Let me confess, I can be guilty of forgetting that digital skills are not as commonplace as we would think. From my generation, I was lucky to have a computer at home early on. Although I did not start with the Commodore or the Atari, I did start early on in MS-DOS (remember the time before the mouse?), playing around with the boot options to start the computer with just those memory resources that would allow certain games to run. Nowadays, our view of the world is skewed by the multitude of smartphone apps, Instagram, TikTok, etc. This gives the impression that everybody is already digitally native, an assumption that is very far from the truth.

Although I do not pretend to know the full extent of the problem we are facing, I recognize the problem. This issue ties into a key challenge we are facing in the IT industry: the tech shortage. We often talk about the gap between business and IT from a pure workplace-specific point of view. Most companies and government agencies have great difficulty finding the right people with the right qualifications. And I am not only talking about hard-core programmers but also, those other critical IT roles who don’t work on the code.

Over the last 10 years of working at SIG, my main focus has been on the product and process side of the puzzles in IT. With the acquisition of EXIN by SIG, we have been able to ‘square the circle’ by incorporating the human element; the people who build, understand and manage IT. EXIN is highly skilled in evaluating and certifying people’s digital skills – this is only the start.

We have just launched Astride®, a digital skills assessment platform, organizations are using our free online assessments to evaluate their employee’s digital capabilities and identify critical knowledge gaps. Leadership is often surprised to discover the variety of skills they have in-house and where they fall short. Using Astride, organizations can grow their teams’ capabilities, reduce churn, and lower operational risk.

With the looming threat of the tech shortage, we cannot wait for new people to enter the job market with the necessary skills that we are waiting for. We need to flip the current market dynamics on its head by increasing the job mobility of those already working for us. As a community, let’s make it easier for people to ‘step into’ our industry and help people get digitally fit.

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