As organisations transform to meet changing customer expectations and COVID-19’s shifting challenges, Martin Cooper MBCS shares ten skills-based webinars that will help you and your career keep pace.

AI, big data, the internet of things, cloud and security - technology is fast-moving industry and these are the places where innovation is running at it's hottest.

COVID-19 has imposed huge changes on organisations and workers alike. Suddenly working from home and being part of a widely distributed team is the norm - not just the stuff of Silicon Valley start-ups.

Against this backdrop, unsurprisingly, IT skills are changing - IT itself has, after all, adapted to all of the above and more. And it will continue to evolve. 

In this selection of webinars from the recent BCS Virtual Festival of Digital Skills, we explore what digital skills means for Government, leaders, organisations and practising IT professionals. 

1. Emerging skills that will make you stand out

Eileen Jennings-Brown MBCS explores future-proofing your career through continuous professional development and the SFIA framework.

As The Head of Technology at the Wellcome Trust, Jennings-Brown explains how she used the skills framework to move from engineer to management. She also reveals the potentially disruptive technologies that are on and just over the horizon.

2. Skills and professionalism in the digital economy

For the digital economy to flourish, BCS President Rebecca George OBE, says: ‘It's very important that people who take accredited computer science degrees are recognised as IT professionals. You wouldn't want to hire a doctor or a lawyer that wasn't qualified.’

Learn how professionalism and standards can power careers and our county towards a tech-driven recovery. Our panellists also explore how career-minded professionals can - and should - develop themselves.

3. Levelling up the UK's skills economy

Bill Mitchell, BCS Director of Policy at BCS, says tackling underlying economic issues will take long-term, sustained and multi-parliament remedies.

Key points include:

  • In terms of levelling up across the economy, yes, we have lots of initiatives from the government, but we collectively have to make it work.
  • We need to make sure that the pipeline going into the computing profession is diverse, inclusive and full of talented people from all sorts of backgrounds. It sure as heck isn't at the moment.

4: Skills in computing and data science


Matt Forshaw, Senior Lecturer in Data Science at Newcastle University and National Skills Leader at the Alan Turning Institute, shares his insights on the present challenges in the data skills space.

These include:

  • A lack of consistent terminology
  • Misalignment in industry need and skills offerings
  • The visibility of, and access to, the routes into training.

He emphasises the interdisciplinary nature of skills in data science and AI. He also signals a warning against building ‘unicorns’ - the unrealistic expectation that any one individual will possess all the skills in the field.

5. Gillian Keegan MP - Navigating the road ahead


Gillian Keegan, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Apprenticeships and Skills gives high-level context and background to the Government’s skills and training agenda.

Key quotes include:

  • ‘The pandemic has accelerated our need for our technical education system to create a pipeline of skilled, productive workers who can support the future needs of our economy.’
  • ‘Technical education is the rocket fuel we need to propel our economy forward and to build back better.’
  • ‘We need to build up, celebrate and champion technical education. There is as much value in studying computer science as there is in studying classics.’

6. What does good CPD look like?

Kevin Streater, Chair of the BCS Learning & Development Specialist Group, explains the many benefits of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) including maintaining professional standards and qualifications to promoting greater work satisfaction and commitment in jobs.

Streater also explores a variety of CPD models available.

7. Digital skills and data innovation


Steve Caughey, Director of the National Innovation Centre for Data gives a presentation on data innovation and digital skills.

Caughey addresses two key topics:

  • Why digital and data skills are so important for the National Innovation Centre
  • What the National Innovation Centre for Data is and how it can help organisations find and unlock those skills.

8. AI and Robotics skills - what does AI mean for IT professionals?


What is AI? What is intelligence? And what are we learning from data? Our panel discusses:

9. Agile skills in a digital world

Lyn and Simon Girvan discuss Agile skills in a digital world and answer crowdsource’s questions on the topic.

Key Q&A topics include:

10. The value of professional standards in a competitive talent market


Adam Thilthorpe, BCS Director of External Affairs, discusses the ‘Value of professional standards in a competitive talent market’, with Mike Cavaye, Deputy CIO, Surrey & Borders NHS Foundation Trust.

COVID-19 has spurred the NHS to launch and deliver many digital transformation projects - often at a previously unimaginable speed. 

Thilthorpe and Cavaye explore:

Bonus: More digital skills webinars

For more webinars that will help you plan, focus and improve your digital skills, visit BCS’ Digital Skills Conference video collection.