Infrastructure Masons: Defining the Future
At the February Technology Convergence Conference in San Jose we took some time to ask iMasons 2 questions: “1. What subjects in school did you take that are important to your job today? And 2. Which subjects, in hindsight, do you wish you’d had?” The results were interesting from the standpoint of the breadth of subjects, reflecting the complexity and opportunity of Infrastructure Masonry, and also surprising from the standpoint of the importance shown for emerging topics, like sustainability.
The chart below presents the survey responses in a color-coded matrix. Green rectangles represent a subject area the respondent did take, and which is important to their iMasons career. A red rectangle represents a subject area the respondent did not take, but which they wish they had taken.
A column full of green rectangles, like BizOps (short for Business Operations) indicates a subject area that many respondents took and felt is important to their career, an indication of good curriculum choices by educators and students. A column with mostly red rectangles, like Sustainability, indicates a subject area many respondents felt they should have taken, but did not, indicating a possible gap in curriculum to be addressed.
The survey which had, essentially, two objectives: i) to understanding the overall picture of “subject importance” and ii) to identify “current gaps” in education scope. The results from the fifty participants, above, show strong emphasis on several subjects. Looking in detail we can also recognize some show relatively more misses than others. (It also turns out that interesting patterns within the data can be uncovered using artificial intelligence techniques. These will be covered in a subsequent blog).
“Subject Importance” ranking represents the fraction of respondents who ranking a given subject as “important.”
This graph is remarkable on several fronts:
- The top ranked subjects (Business Operations, Project and Change Management, Electrical Systems. Sustainability, and Compute Technology, and Total Cost of Ownership) don’t fall neatly into any single “major.” Rather they span a wide range of business and engineering practices.
- Even within, say, engineering, the topics like Sustainability (Environmental Engineering), Electrical Systems (Electrical Engineering), and Compute (Computer Science) fall within a wide range of disciplines.
- The subject importance follows an approximately exponential pattern, with an extremely slow decay rate. About 50% of the “importance” is captured only within the top ten subjects, indicating the breadth of skills necessary to achieve Infrastructure Masonry Mastery and Fellowship.
All of this speaks to why it is so important for us, as infrastructure Masons, working closely with major education institutions and post-graduate professional training organizations, to provide feedback and ideas to help shape the formation of future Infrastructure Masons.
So where are the gaps? We can refine the analysis by counting missed and taken subjects separately. By plotting the data in decreasing order sorted on the biggest gaps we can see we have some work to do closing gaps for some important subjects have. In fact, many of the top subjects, such as Business Ops and TCO, also are identified as having large gaps.
The top gap identified by Infrastructure Masons was Sustainability; roughly 30%, according to this sample, rated the subject as an important part of their job, but lacked adequate training in their formal education. This is really remarkable from a number of standpoints. It certainly points to the need for robust continuing education. From another perspective, though, what other professional society, representing a large-scale high growth global industry, can claim Sustainability as a top business priority, job requirement, and training priority?
Part of our Infrastructure Masons goals are to empower business and personal use of the infrastructure to better the economy, the environment, and society. We take these goals seriously, and that we’re taking steps to ensure our values are part of the training and formation of future Infrastructure Masons. Infrastructure Masons are, in a real sense, defining the future.
We’ll be hosting an Education Team meetup in Silicon Valley in mid May. Stay tuned for further details. And if you’re interested in contributing to the Education Team, please contact email@example.com.