Kids Who Code: Building a digital workforce in childood

Kids Who Code: Building a digital workforce in childood

Are you looking for someone to code your new app idea? Are you wanting some tips for building a robot? You might get the help you need in your local school - the future of the digital workforce

All over Australia, kids are learning to code in the classroom. They're programming lego models to move, coming up with education apps and building toy cars equipped with computer chips. According to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, coding is as "fundamental as reading and writing", and, as of next year, coding will become an official part of the national curriculum. 

The robots are coming - is your job safe? 

A quick look at workforce trajectories explains why schools are taking the teaching of coding so seriously. 44% of current Australian jobs are likely to be taken over by robots within the next 20 years, according to a paper titled Tomorrow's Digitally Enabled Workforce, written by The CSIRO and the Australian Computer Society, and published in February 2016.

At present, jobs most at risk are those that involve mundane, repetitive tasks, rather than creativity. So, if you're an administrator, a butcher or a bank teller, you should look out. As anyone who's been to the supermarket lately might have noticed, cashiers are quickly being replaced by DIY machines. 

Engineers, mathematicians and scientists, you're in luck

Robots are getting more and more intelligent, but that doesn't mean they can look after themselves - quite yet. So, people interested in job security should consider studying engineering, mathematics, science or IT. It's predicted that, by 2035, Australia will need: 

  • 11.7% more engineering professionals
  • 9.5% more business and systems analysts, and programmers
  • 9% more ICT network and support professionals
  • 8.2% more database and systems administrators
  • 8% more science professionals
  • 7.1% more ICT and telecommunications professionals 
  • 6.8% more ICT managers
  • 6.2% more architects, designers, planners and surveyors
  • 5.1% more building and engineering technicians and
  • 4.1% more construction, distribution and productions managers

All in all, Australia will need more than 100,000 new ICT professionals within the next four years. At the moment, just 20% of all people working in ICT in the nation are women.

Australia's ICT research and development spending is falling behind

Despite the pressing need to develop and improve the digital economy, Australia is spending very little on research and development in ICT, particularly when compared to other countries. When considered as a proportion of a nation's total spending on research and development, Korea is the world's biggest investor in ICT, spending 54%. The US is second, spending 32%, and Singapore is third, spending 30%. Australia, which spends just 10%, ranks 12th.

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