A lack of digital know how is setting the UK economy back for £63BN a year, according to a new Parliamentary Science and Technology Report.
It's a report that focuses in particular on the ability to code and develop, key skills for any new generation set to bring about a digital revolution.
However this approach would mean the sector will mostly be producing 'engineers'. Who will be qualified to research and design the products they'll be building? It seems unlikely to be the government, as funding for design, arts, and other related principles is sadly being cut.
It all feels a bit like saying children should all learn accounting to get better at setting up businesses - while it's certainly a valuable skill, it's only one part of a much bigger picture.
Calls for more coding education come from a good place, but reflect a lack of understanding of the wider processes involved in researching and designing products that deliver a strong user experience. Not giving children this wider context could be damaging in the long-term, as they will eventually become a work force that churns out products that may not be able to contribute to the UK economy as effectively (something that will likely only become more prevalent as we move away from the infancy of digital transformation and change).
At Webcredible we don't teach children (yet!), but we do work with universities to train their students to foster an understanding of applied UX, and the importance of embedding a user-centred design culture in organisations. This is invaluable for businesses, stopping wasteful spending and providing a direction for them to create effective digital products that meet user expectations and requirements.
We are waiting on the Government's Digital strategy but if it doesn't follow its own advice on design principles, then the UK may be risking a further set back in the long-run. While simple answers like teaching more coding may seem compelling, it's worth looking at this as a more complex issue.