The European Commission launches ‘EU Code Week’

The European Commission has warned that Europe is facing a shortage in ICT professionals with approximately 900,000 needed by the year 2020, to help combat the skills shortage it has launched EU Code Week.

It is encouraging students to get coding this summer as it is “the key to the digital revolution” according to European Commission vice president for Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, and commissioner for education, culture, multilingualism and youth, Androulla Vassiliou.

“Programming is everywhere and fundamental to the understanding of a hyper-connected world”, the EC has said, and “more than 90% of professional occupations require some level of competence, but the number of graduates in computer science is not keeping pace with this demand for skills.”

Therefore many open vacancies for ICT practitioners cannot be filled, despite the high levels of unemployment in Europe, warned Kroes and Vassiliou.

“If we do not appropriately address this issue at a European and national level, we may face a skills shortage of up to 900,000 ICT professionals by 2020. The share of women in choosing technical careers is also alarmingly low. Coding is a way to attract girls to choose tech careers,” they said.

Kroes and Vassiliou have sent a joint letter to EU Education Ministers urging them to encourage children to get involved in EU Code weekwhich takes place across Europe from 11th  – 17th October 2014.

Coding is at the heart of technology. Each and every interaction between humans and computers is governed by code.

“Programming skills are fundamental for tasks ranging from creating web apps, enabling online shopping, and optimising GPS software through to sifting through LHC data for the Higgs Boson particle, simulating the formation of stars or simulating the neuronal pathways in the brain”, according to the organisers of EU Code Week.

The Irish Computer Society are backing EU Code Week! We run many programmes which encourage children to learn ICT skills, these include F1 in Schools, Scratch, Cliste and most recently the massively successful Tech Week.

Jim Friars, CEO of The Irish Computer Society said, “It’s time that Ireland caught up with the rest of Europe, we need to encourage young people, both male and female, to understand the benefits of ICT skills and how important they are for the future”