Three factors shaping the future of tech education – FE News

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The UK government recently announced plans to move forward with initiatives such as the Lifetime Skills Guarantee designed to make retraining and lifelong learning easier than ever.

At the same time, the past five years have seen enormous growth in technology education and retraining programs. As a result, there has never been so much choice for those looking to develop their technical skills, especially in areas like coding and web development.

As the market for technology education continues to grow rapidly, it can be a bit difficult for prospective students and education practitioners to separate meaning from nonsense, signal from noise.

Basically it comes down to the question of how educators can most effectively develop their skills – and to what extent this retraining will shape the changing tech landscape in the long run.

Ultimately, the essential ingredients for a successful tech course can be found in three separate baskets:

  1. Access
  2. Value, and
  3. Results.

1. Access

Historically, there have been barriers to entry for many people trying to acquire technological skills. One of the key goals for the future of the technology industry is the expansion access to these skills, or in other words – democratize technological education.

A major part of this effort is to ensure that classes are location independent and delivered remotely. This means creating a quality learning experience anywhere, decoupled from the high rental prices of the usual large city centers, removing the pressure on students to relocate. Once this is achieved, the pool of potential multi-skilled software developers, programmers, entrepreneurs and tech leaders increases dramatically. Those who want to learn must have the power, without being uprooted.

Over the past year, many education service providers have been forced to switch from face-to-face to distance education at an unprecedented speed. For those who did not have a solid foundation in distance education, it was a challenge. As a training provider, it is essential to have systems and processes in place, such as custom software, that enable effective remote delivery.

Lessons that cannot be delivered effectively remotely will no doubt be overwhelmed by those that can. This is why “access” is a key driver of technological education that will continue to grow in importance.

2. Value

No surprises here – value is a simple proposition we are all aware of as we seek the best ‘bang for your buck’. But value is not just a matter of financial investment. It is as much a matter of time investment: something that varies enormously depending on the path a student decides to take. More and more sophisticated students and career-changing people are carefully examining this question.

While a traditional degree in a subject such as computer science is arguably the most comprehensive option in terms of content, it is a considerable investment in both time and money. A three-year degree program will cost at least £ 27,000 in tuition fees, not including maintenance fees and other loans. Taking a three-year break from full-time work is simply not an option for most people who want to change careers.

On the other end of the time investment spectrum is the increasingly popular bootcamp model, averaging between nine and twelve weeks with a price tag of around £ 7,000 to £ 10,000. It’s an attractive option for time-conscious people, but it raises the question of how short a course should be if students hope to jump straight into a successful tech career. It is fair to expect results after investing £ 10,000. But is a three month course too short to guarantee this?

With these considerations in mind, this is why a pragmatic six-month course, as offered at academies like Boolean, may seem the most balanced to anyone who is aware of the risk. As additional insurance against the risk of an unrecovered investment on the part of the student, training providers should consider a money-back guarantee for any alumni who fail to settle into a role in technology. It’s a bold commitment, but it aligns the goals of educators with learners and demonstrates confidence in the course.

3. Results

Having a clear idea of ​​the desired results helps to have a clear idea of ​​the goal. For example, a valuable distinction between a degree program and a bootcamp is that the former is theoretically designed to impart knowledge, while the latter should be designed with careers as the last word.

Starting with well-defined outcomes allows education providers to work backwards in building their processes and programs. For software development courses such as those offered by Boolean, it is imperative that the programming languages ​​taught are both sought after in the job market and also have longevity, such as React and Javascript.

Beyond the nuts and bolts of programming, a solid career service is at the heart of the bottom line of any career-focused tech academy. As mentioned above, a job or money back guarantee is a powerful way to stay focused on positive results, instilling confidence in both students and teachers. Combine this with responsive career support for students and proactive outreach with potential employers, to deliver a totally career-obsessed experience for results-conscious students.

A lack of tangible results to aim for does a disservice to students, who know very well what to expect in return for their time and money. As the tech industry continues to become increasingly competitive, a laser focus on results will become a serious differentiator for technology education providers.

Looking for the best

In the increasingly saturated market for tech education, it’s harder for both prospective students to find the right course for them and for educators to stand out from the crowd – yet they have to.

It was screened by TechUK that “Three million more new jobs that will require digital skills will be created in the UK by 2025”. This highlights the importance of technology education providers, be they universities, academies or bootcamps, and the role they play.

The way forward for educators and students is to stick to the principles of Access, Value, and Results. This is what educators should seek to provide; this is what students should seek and demand.

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