Educational offer survey for the smart cities sector in Greece

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Educational offer survey for the smart cities sector in Greece

It was only very recently that educational and training organizations in Greece offer programs that were putting smart cities on the foreground, trying to deliver curricula consisting of courses dealing both with technical aspects, as well as entrepreneurial and smart-city related concepts. Apparently, technology-related courses (e.g. MSc in digital revolution and the internet of things by University of Aegean) are dominant, which is justified by the fact that technological capabilities and advances are a key driver of the digital transformation of cities. On the other hand, this is probably noticed as the institutions offering the identified curricula are mainly technology-oriented.

Concerning transversal skills, most educational programmes focusing on smart cities address just a few of them (e.g. entrepreneurial thinking and social skills), however not through targeted courses but as part of other technology-related courses. General IT management knowledge competences, such as cloud computing, data analytics, internet of things, IT security and system and software architecture, are addressed by the majority of the existing curricula. The acquisition of DevOps skills is supported only by specialized VET programmes, however they are not included in any other kind of educational programmes. Finally, smart cities related competences are offered to a low degree, with smart cities services and urban management being the only widely addressed competences.

An important finding of the Greek survey is that the available learning opportunities on a national level are yet very limited. Curricula lack integration of competences of different categories that will lead to a more comprehensive training to equip learners with valuable versatility to be capitalized in a smart city environment. Curricula offering a high percentage of general IT management competences could be enhanced with transversal, DevOps and smart city ones, or even reconsidered to include a more balanced mix of them. This way learners would obtain the fundamental technological background, but will also have the opportunity to acquire administrative capabilities and a wider understanding of the smart city ecosystem and its interdependencies to build the skillset of respective job roles, such as the Smart City Planner represents.

The above suggest the innovative perspective and added value of the Smart DevOps project that aims to design and develop integrated curricula for re-skilling or up-skilling prospective and existing workers in the smart cities sector. Greek VET providers, municipalities, HEIs and other stakeholders will have the possibility to use the project’s methodology and outcomes to align their training programs with the job market needs and requirements leading to a more capable workforce that will allow more efficient deployment and evolvement of national and local smart cities processes.