February 2016

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Is Code the New Math?

The initiative for writing this article was to ask the question “Where are the next generation of Building Automation Engineers coming from”?

Manny MandrusiakManny Mandrusiak
Managing Creative Consultant,
4 Bravo Marketing

Contributing Editor

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I watched a news cast a few months ago that focused on Britain and Australia implementing new educational curriculum into their elementary, middle and high schools to cope with what these two counties identified as a huge epidemic. My mind immediately went to some curriculum that improves health, or teaches students to embrace learning multiple languages, but I was wrong.

It was that Britain and Australia identified that both nations are facing a critical shortage of skilled technology workers.  Significant loses in Computer Science Skills in young people moving into the workforce. That means that both nations would not be able to support themselves by advancing technology, and would end up having to bring in technology workers from other countries, or rely on other nations to support their technological infrastructure.

If one looks at the employment sites computer skills like being able to manipulate data in Microsoft Word and Excel are expected.  Not only that, more and more jobs are looking for skills in web development, HTML and CSS, essentially coding languages. Job seekers need to be a lot more computer savvy now than five years ago.  I see more and more people taking technology training than trades training when they are looking at where the bulk of the jobs will be in the next ten years.

If one looks at complex economies like the US or Canada it is pretty clear how reliant we have all become technology and most of our social and purchasing interactions happen online.  To be successful in this new tech driven world a web presence is becoming mandatory, and someone has to create, improve, and maintain these networks.

Computer literacy skills then become not only necessary but essential.  When I was a teenager learning to drive, my Dad took me under the hood of the car to show me how everything worked so that I could make small repairs and be self sufficient.  Same rule applies here.  For our technological driven society to continue to move forward and be self sufficient we need our young people to be able to look under the “digital hood” and solve problems for themselves. 
The natural place to start a life time journey toward computer literacy is in school when young people are learning to read and write already.  I admit that I was a little skeptical when I first but when I watched how the teacher’s in Britain were taking a very hands-on approach to having students solve workflow problems by applying logic.  It was very impressive.

When one thinks about it rationally, technology companies are the largest growing vertical for employment right now. Those companies will naturally locate in cities and countries where they can find the talented people to do the work that is needed.

Three Provinces in Canada (British Columbia, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia) have committed to making the commitment to implementing code in their educational systems. In the US New York and Chicago are on the forefront of implementing similar initiatives.

Control Solutions, Inc The initiative for writing this article was to ask the question “Where are the next generation of Building Automation Engineers coming from”?

As smart buildings become more common and automation systems become increasingly more sophisticated, who will be the people who build the next generation HVAC controllers? Will they be in North America, or will the building automation infrastructure of our future be outsourced to countries who invested in the next generation of engineers and programmers right from kindergarten?

I’m looking forward to being on the forefront of a pivotal point in how education changes to allow tech companies in North America to grow, and remain competitive for the future.


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