KEY COMPETENCES EXPECTED OF FUTURE IT LEADERS IN A MULTICULTURAL AND DIGITAL EUROPE

L. Brunie1, S. Cimato2, O. Cramariuc3

1INSA Lyon (FRANCE)
2Università degli studi di Milano (ITALY)
3Centrul IT pentru Stiinta si Tehnologie (ROMANIA)
The digitalization of society offers an unlimited field for innovation, and, with the support of information technologies (IT), we are transitioning towards a rapidly evolving context of novel, unexpected technological, societal, and industrial challenges. Through the disruptive changes it induces, it also raises unprecedented challenges that address both ethics, business, industry, innovation, social relationships. One of the challenges focuses on the employability of IT graduates and the way to better match their competencies with the fast-evolving market needs and to help the industry to better understand young graduates’ expectations.

The FIT-Europe project stands for “Future IT leaders for a multicultural, digital Europe” and is part of the Strategic Partnerships for higher education action of the ERASMUS+ program. FIT-Europe is gathering a consortium composed of four leading universities and four corporate partners from France, Germany, Italy and Romania, which provide diversity in type of organization, European cultures and disciplines. Relaying on this impressive task force and supported by local authorities, the project aims at gathering companies’ needs and priorities as a basis for developing and implementing relevant evolutionary process of four seminars, far beyond a classical student’s exchange framework or a new IT module. The four international seminars will help master level students prepare for tomorrow's IT challenges and learn more about ethical, business and societal issues raised in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data and robotics.

In this work we start by presenting a review of the academic literature regarding relevant skills and competences with emphasis on the “Recommendations on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning” which were adopted by the European Council on 22 May 2018. We complement this review by analysing national professional initiatives such as the “Portrait de l’ingénieur 2030” which depicts at French level the role of engineers and their expected skills in 2030, published by Institute Mines-Telecom. Lastly, we conclude by presenting the feedback gathered from the four FIT-Europe industrial partners of the project, which presents an overview list of skills they jointly identified as strategic for future high-level IT engineers.

Based on all inputs acquired by the FIT-Europe project, we concluded that future engineers should have a very strong scientific, methodological, and technical background. The four technologies addressed by FIT-Europe, i.e. AI, IoT, Big Data analytics and robotics, are all based on strong and robust theoretical and formal foundations that must be understood in order for these technologies to be used to the best of their potential and in the limits of their characteristics. Furthermore, in an everyday more interconnected world, future IT leaders should demonstrate their ability of dealing with the complexity of modern IT systems. There will indeed be “no single tool” able to address all requirements and application objectives. The future of IT will be hybrid: complex systems require complex multi-technological architecture.