A CT Skills Grid Development Approach

I've been giving some thought on how to proceed from a variety of angles. Thus far much of the discussion has been "top-down", broad, and abstract. The question is whether the education will map to the requirements of industry which historically has not been perceived to be the case.

As we approach CT from various angles to identify and prioritize the CT skills below (list may not be all inclusive) to assist our collective imaginations in creative problem solving, it may be useful for us to work through various methodologies and approaches for the identification of those skills, a mapping of the skills to domains, re-ordering of CT skills for industries, and potential jobs of the future.

  • Abstraction
  • Algorithm
  • Data
  • Decomposition
  • Iterations
  • Query
  • Sense & Feedback
  • Systems
As Bernard has mentioned, we are training students today for jobs that do not yet exist, and as pointed out in his 5 minute video presentation, innovation and technological developments are accelerating. Therefore, this will have to be an ongoing, iterative exercise.

One approach (hopefully among many) would be to extrapolate a bit and explore potential future professions, once identified, decompose the types of CT skills that may be required, and classify that skill.

Admittedly, it's a less abstract approach than a top down methodology, though it might serve us well to have a "bottoms-up" gathering of information.

What dimensions of CT are "timeless"? That is, can we describe not the work (data) itself, but the future job skills (metadata) within "domains", and map to the appropriate CT skills.

Some dimensions of work include integration, scope, time, cost, quality, HR, communications, risk management and procurement.

That is, whether the organizational offerings are products, solutions or services, many if not all of those activities will have to take place. The offering will have to be scoped to be developed, it'll have to be developed within a time frame, cost will be a limitation, components will have to be procured, teams will have to communicate, cross functional personnel will have to be managed (HR) and so on. This will be the case across industries.

For the business sector we may consider strategy, sales, marketing, management, engineering, legal, finance and accounting.

Other industries may have a different list ie. healthcare, government, non-profits, etc.

Naturally, a sub-approach to identify, evaluate, test, etc. of the CT skills may help us focus on key skills.

For example, lets take a look at these top 60 jobs of the future or 10 attributes of next generation IT manager and look at one dimension, time. Deadlines will still exist. What CT skills can we engender within the CT educational curriculum that will lead students to recognize time management / manipulation skills to accelerate completion of the work ie. fast-tracking (parallelism), round-robin, using time zones, crashing (adding resource), etc.

Then we map the CT skill to the dimensions, industry, roles and domains, producing a modular grid of skills we can prioritize within each grid to produce a specific outcome for the corresponding industry and role.

Once complete we can apply to the corresponding coursework in the curriculum for that particular outcome at the college level.

Additionally, the grid should provide insight into a narrower set of "core" CT skills that will be in high demand. Which can then be used as the basis of the K-12 education with an overlay as to the appropriate developmental stage to teach the "core" CT skill.

Your thoughts, comments, suggestions are welcome.

Warmest Regards,


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  1. Phil Tierney Says:

    If I get your drift, we'd select an "application area," likely based on a partner/colleague/instructor's acquiesence or willingness to experiment, then look for existing instances of the skills in the curriculum or for opportunities to insert the skills in some curricular context? One of those metaphysical questions I kind of beat around the bush with in my previous post, Marketing the CT Cafe: Need Delicious Entrees on this Menu, is this: do we always need to name it (a specific CT Skill) in order to encourage it, model it or broadcast it?

  2. Dan Ross Says:

    0) The reference to the accelerating pace of change is interesting, but slightly irrelevant to our task. I do not agree with the basic assumption here, that the pace has only recently surpassed our ability as humans to keep up. On the contrary, it has been thus for centuries. It is faster now, yes, but it was too fast before us as well.

    1) I think that "leveraging the computer" is a key idea for this CPATH project. CT skills, I think, should revolve around this. I am talking geometric productivity improvements, not arithmetic. Not how can CT skills make me do my job x-times better, but how can CT skills help me use a computer do my job raised-to-the-x better.

    2) It is very hard to predict what jobs are going to be popular in the future.

  3. Ray DePena Says:

    I certainly wasn't trying to predict the jobs of the future, but rather, by looking at what those jobs may be, what core skills would be required.

    We have a shared, albeit different perspective.
    My view is that we should 1. ID the skills and the type of thinking that goes along with those skills,

    2. Extract the CT thinking commonly found in CS/EE disciplines, learn to use the concepts and apply them absent the computer, and

    3. Ultimately, potentially reintroduce the computer as a tool to leverage those skills.

    We already have a computer curriculum that leverages the use of the computer - CS.