Demand for jobs
As society continues to digitise, the demand for tech professionals already exceeds supply. It’s estimated that in the coming years the Amsterdam Area will need an additional 50,000 computer programmers to help cement its place as a world leader in the sector.
To help provide the talent of the future, the Amsterdam Economic Board organised TechConnect Week, a new initiative to boost interest and diversity in the tech world. Taking place from 30 October to 3 November, it attracted more than 500 participants who took part in 21 different events, ranging from workshops and open days to company visits and expert sessions.
Demand for diversity
“TechConnect is about tech jobs. And we don’t define tech as one sector but as a field that cuts across all sectors and education levels,” says Nina Tellegen, Amsterdam Economic Board’s director. “Hospitals and banks also have tech teams. Hotel chains hire their own data analysts and programmers. Retailers are also in search of growth hackers and AI experts.”
One of the week’s goals was to address what is perceived as the industry’s chief weakness: lack of diversity. Hence, an effort was made to particularly reach out to and inspire girls and young women, professionals with digital skills, school dropouts who deserve a fresh start and unemployed people for whom retraining could boost their career prospects.
Opening doors to the future
TechConnect offered its attendees a diverse and rich programme. Tech players, such as speaker producer Bose and game designers Squla, invited secondary students for a behind-the-scenes look at their offices. At Cognizant, a program covering the company’s work in facial recognition, 3D printing and voice recognition dazzled university students.
Meanwhile, free sample lessons were given on programming (in HTML, CSS and Ruby), UX&UI design, data science and growth hacking by educators such as Le Wagon, Codaisseur, Ironhack, IFDN and Growth Tribe. Codam, a disruptive player in the tech education field, also opened their doors. At Codam, students can be trained to become a programmer, AI expert or UX&UI designer in less than four years. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, has no teachers, is completely free and has no education pre-requirements.
The next TechConnect Week is scheduled for June 2019, during the WeMakeThe.City festival.