The Human Side of Technology

Technology training needs to be married with training on how to consume the technology

The world continues to innovate and technology continues to evolve. Technical courses are now taught on topics that never existed before, and the courses taught now will be obsolete by the time my sons’ go to university if not sooner. When I was in school, I learned about clouds in a meteorological course. These days Cloud (a different type of cloud) means something altogether different and is an essential part of IT and learning courses. Big Data used to be what you could fit on floppy disk (1.2 MB) - now we are commonly looking at systems that need to process and analyze gigabytes and terabytes of data per month. I remember only a few years ago when I was shocked that my TV could connect to the Internet. Now my refrigerator, my home thermostat and lights are all connected, and I even saw an IoT toaster for sale recently.

The challenge I am seeing is that the focus is all about the technology and not about the human side of it. Maybe there is a reason to have an IoT toaster, but I do not know what it is or what value it could bring to my life. In universities, courses teaching technology typically make it all about the technology, and not enough, if anything, about the human side of it and how to actually consume it, use it, and get value from it. Take data for example. If you search for courses related to data, you will find courses on predictive software like R or Python or on many business intelligence and analytics tools to support the analysis of data. Very rarely, if ever, do you see courses on how to properly consume data and get value from it.

Our resident Head of Data Literacy, Jordan Morrow, recently presented on ‘The Rise of Data Literacy’ at the INFORMS conference. There were many professors who were intrigued by Data Literacy. They understand the skills gap that we face in the market today and wanted to further the skills of their students, making them job-ready. According to Jordan, “We need more focus on teaching ‘Digitally Literate’ individuals how to consume data. Helping them to succeed and compete in the coming economy.”

At Qlik, we understand the importance of not only focusing on technology literacy, but also marrying that with Data Literacy. The Qlik Academic Program provides qualified university professors, students, and researchers with free software and training that includes not only training on the technology, like Big Data, Data Visualizations, and Data Modeling, but also on how students should consume it, use it, and get insights and value from these technologies. This is a critical piece of the puzzle to solving the Data Literacy gap and we are addressing this at the source with our students. To learn more about the Qlik Academic Program, click here

Technology is great. But are we spending too much time learning a technology and not enough on how to consume and properly get value from it?


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