Is your college keeping up with the technological revolution that's playing out all around us? As businesses everywhere look to meet skills demands across various fields great opportunities are arising for educators and for-profit schools, but only for those that are able to identify the technology trends that are fuelling all of the growth.
That's a big deal because schools and colleges face quite a bit of competition to recruit the staff required to build out programs to capitalise on those technology trends. After all, qualified teachers normally come from the field they're being hired to focus on, so there's a much smaller talent pool to choose from. To help, here's a look at the technology-focused coursework schools should be interested in creating, and where they may face the greatest difficulty in recruiting the teachers they need to do so.
Technology security holds immense and growing importance: data makes a lucrative and inviting target for cyber-criminals. For that reason, the demand for cyber-security professionals is astronomical, and there's already an estimated 3 million worker shortfall worldwide. It should also come as no surprise that it's exceptionally difficult to recruit qualified teachers in this field since formalised cyber-security training is still a new and growing educational sector. Still, no school should go without a cyber-security program if they wish to remain relevant further into the 21st century.
2. Artificial intelligence
If cyber-security is a must-have field for educators to focus on, then artificial intelligence (AI) is a close second. It's at or near the top of every top technology trends list, and with good reason. AI is now being integrated into businesses, government operations, consumer products, and almost everything imaginable today. Already, 80% of workers are demanding training in AI skills, but are thus far not getting it from their employers. That means there's a massive and ready-made audience just waiting for schools to offer AI training programs. The good news is that finding teachers to support such a program isn't as hard as you think. Most of the necessary skills may be found via mathematics and traditional programming teachers, so it's possible that many schools are already able to start an AI training program.
3. Data science
Over the past few years, there has been an explosion in the amount of data being generated by people around the world every minute of every day. At first, it was enough of a challenge for businesses to comprehend the difference between big data and data science. Now that they know, however, businesses everywhere are clamouring for data scientists to turn all of that raw information into actionable insights. If you're here reading this, you're probably already using the tools born from this data revolution, as it forms a key part of the recruitment software this blog is hosted on. The good news here is that data scientists are very much in demand, but the skills are now widespread enough that recruiting skilled teachers to support a data science program isn't as hard as it was even a year ago. Since this is a trend with obvious staying power, it's one that schools should jump on as soon as possible.
4. Cloud engineering
In the last 5 years here's been a sharp uptick in demand for cloud engineers that can support the massive, multi-provider computing deployments that have become the norm in every industry. For schools and colleges, this is a field that offers more opportunities for growth than can even be listed here. Professional cloud engineers need to learn multiple programming languages, including Java, Python, and Ruby. Then they have to have a thorough understanding of the major public cloud providers like Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google compute engine. All of these are subject areas that schools can expand into, and many (especially eLearning operations) will already have staff with some of the skills necessary to teach the coursework. That doesn't mean it's a breeze to staff up to support a comprehensive cloud engineering program, though, and interested schools will have to rely on a multi-platform recruiting effort to find the diverse professionals they'll need to get going.
Get ahead to stay ahead
Schools and colleges that make a concerted effort to provide coursework that covers these critical technology areas will soon gain a reputation for highly employable leavers who have the skills employers are going to demand for years.
The only real risk is in waiting too long to claim a part of these lucrative education markets because they're hardly a secret and it won't take long for the industry to over-saturate them.
About the author
Andrej is a digital marketing specialist, dedicated writer and digital evangelist, with a keen passion for exploring how technology can help both in classrooms and home learning. He is a contributor to a wide range of technology-focused publications, where he may be found discussing how technology is influencing everything from neural networks and natural language processing.