Del Grad Launches Canada's First Tech Education Hub
Feeling your way through academia, to the end of it, these days, is too often like feeling your way through a dark thick jungle undergrowth. When you finally emerge, where are you? Do you find yourself where the jobs are? Have you arranged an accurate match between your schoolingand your employment hopes? Complicating the issue, as we all know, is the very rapid evolution of innovation in technology. Nothing stands still. New techniques in every field imaginable are themselves added to by more new techniques. Therefore, adjustments are necessary in schools, colleges and universities to try to keep up with this tsunami of change, of expanding frontiers.
Naturally, considering the large numbers of people involved, the institutions and the speed of change, the attempt at a rational co-ordination of schooling with the job market will be somewhat bumpy and asymmetrical. A new graduate may find that the coveted degree has some gaps in it that must be filled with extra courses to match the requirements of a career that just came into existence.
Consider the following:
- In the 1960's the half-life of knowledge—the time it takes for half of one's expertise to become obsolete—used to be a decade for an engineer. Today that number has shrunk to less than 3 years for a software engineer.
- The Canadian labour market forecasts 216,000 digital talent positions will need to be filled by 2021. But sufficient qualified candidates will not be there.
- Technology is so rapidly reshaping the economy that many new job opportunities are still being defined.
- Increased decentralization presents proliferating options: private career colleges, online learning companies, and various courses offering everything from the mundane to the esoteric. Such choices as AI (Artificial Intelligence), driverless car technologies and coding bootcamps do not begin to exhaust the list.
How does one find a straight path to employment through this tangle? One is reminded of the hardy adventurer Cortes memorably hacking his way through the jungles of Mexico to finally emerge on a mountain-top vista of a stunning and very blue Pacific. He was very impressed.
Well, one of our Del grads is a Cortes also, finding paths through the thickets described above. This adventurer is Robert Furtado (2003) who studied Poli-Sci and Philosophy at Queen's, and was an executive at Pilot, a Toronto creative communications agency, where he led a team of digital marketing experts, web developers, designers and media specialists. He consulted for both early-stage startups and Forbes 500 companies. He also taught at the Humber School of Media Studies, leading classes in marketing strategy, social media and corporate communications. Combining the best of both business and digital media, he visualized an ultimate goal, his Pacific, to clarify the space between what schools are teaching today and the skills students need to flourish in Canada's economy tomorrow.
The result is a Toronto startup called Course Compare, Canada's first online marketplace for tech education. It is a search engine for courses and degree programs in high-growth technology fields. Canadians enter information about themselves to get matched with suitable courses at schools across the country. This is a simple way to identify programs and resources to help people reach long-term success. Course Compare expects to directly launch more than 1,000 searchers into new careers in 2018. Robert's site guides those looking to break into a new industry, those who need to learn new skills and those who want to upgrade existing skills.
All these initiatives are hopeful and helpful. They proceed from an inner impulse found in Robert's own quotation remembered from his days at our school: "Del instilled in me a sense of being part of a larger community, and it taught me the value and importance of service to others." Amen. His words are an accurate summary of our purpose here at Del.