Thousands of new IT specialists needed, education and training lagging behind (7)

Only about half of IT students complete their degree. (Martin Bureau/AFP/Scanpix)
8/16/2016 11:42 AM
Category: Business

The Estonian IT business sector suffers from a lack of qualified personnel, yet the number of applications for IT courses in higher education has remained more or less the same. To make matters worse, only half of those taking up IT studies complete their degree.

The Tallinn University of Technology even changed its conditions of application to more carefully select students actually able to finish. Where a year ago all those were admitted who met minimum requirements, the conditions are now a lot stricter, ETV’s “Aktuaalne Kaamera” newscast reported.

Gert Jervan, dean of the university’s IT sciences department, confirmed that they were trying to get students that showed more interest in the particular field as well as had the capabilities needed to actually finish.

According to the recently conducted OSKA labor force and skills study, the Estonian IT sector needs 1,580 new IT specialists every year, with a total need of 37,000 by 2020. The experts who took part in the survey stressed that instead of only paying attention to the number of admissions, what really counted was the number of IT graduates.

In addition to the typical IT subject areas, specialists in a variety of other fields were increasingly needed by the business sector. OSKA’s development director, Tiia Randma, said that studies that brought IT together with other subjects were still rare in Estonia, but would become increasingly needed.

Dean Jervan added that another problem of IT in higher education was the fact that with hundreds of students taking up studies in the field every year, it was difficult to find partners in everyday business able to accommodate such masses and work with the schools, for example preparing projects. This meant that it was difficult to increase the share of practical work on various courses.

Randma also pointed out that it wasn’t up to the universities alone to solve the problem, but that businesses in the sector should spend more time on continuing education and further training.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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