The final conference highlights the successes of the DevOps Competences for Smart Cities project

The final conference highlights the successes of the DevOps Competences for Smart Cities project

The DevOps competences for Smart Cities (Smart DevOps) project consortium held a final project’s online conference titled Smart Employees for Smart Cities on 25 November 2021.

Smart DevOps project partners presented the results of a 3-year Erasmus+ Sector Skills Alliance to the audience of more than 120 participants representing Smart City sector professionals and employers, VET providers and representatives of local, national and European institutions.

The Smart DevOps project contributes to closing the gap between today’s and future skills demands in the Smart Cities ecosystem by developing educational programmes for Smart City professionals. The conference was an opportunity to present the final project and pilot results of running the vocational training courses with over 1000 participants. The event was organised by ALL DIGITAL and the University of Thessaly with support from other project partners. Find all presentations and resources presented at the conference as well as a recording of the event at the bottom of the page.

The conference was opened with the welcome and introduction of Peter Palvoglyi, CEO of ALL DIGITAL who emphasized the role of cities and municipalities in the green and digital transition and commended the project partners for project results delivered in the last 3 years.

Conference continued with a keynote address by Prof. Dr Judith Hilde Semeijn from Open University the Netherlands titled “Career challenges in smart cities – How does the digital transformation of cities affect careers and what has to be done towards a sustainable career ecosystem in smart cities?”. In the keynote, she outlined the importance of being able to work in a healthy, happy, and productive way. One of the main challenges identified is how the city fit is unbalanced, which creates disadvantages among less educated people. Prof. Dr Semeijn suggested some solutions, such as the centralisation of skills and talents, with a lifelong development, the creation of career community and a network-centric organisation.

After the keynote address project partners took the stage to present specific Smart DevOps outputs:

Prof. Dr Hans Rüdiger Kaufmann from the University of Applied Management was the first one to take the floor and talk about the emerging smart city job roles and skills. The key objective of these activities was to identify innovative typologies of competences and synthesize them which was essential for the development of Smart DevOps training courses that followed. The analysis of the literature review and conducted interview showed that the most requested competences for Smart Cities professionals are general technical transversal skills, especially the skills that enable individuals to switch from operational to strategic tasks, geospatial competences, and ICT skills.

The third speaker was Dr Theodor Panagiotakopoulos from Hellenic Open University who presented the development of Smart DevOps Curricula. Based on the identified compentences and emerging job roles, the Smart DevOps team identified three new job roles for the Smart City sector (Smart City Planner, Smart City IT Head, and Smart City IT Officer) together with 42 matching skills. The competences are divided into four groups: Soft/transversal skills, digital skills, Smart City specific skills and DevOps skills. Using the Addie model, the consortium mapped the competences to job roles and developed Curricula for MOOC and specialisation courses. The Curricula define learning outcomes, learning objectives, assessment objectives, structure and timetable of the four training activities. Dr Panagiotakopoulos emphasized that the future smart city employees will require a variety of new skills and that Smart DevOps training activities represent the first programme that can provide them.

After a short coffee break, Prof. Angelika Kokkinaki from the University of Nicosia presented the pilot delivery of the Smart DevOps Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). Out of almost 1000 trainees from more than 50 countries, a bit less than one third finished the MOOC which is well above the reported completion of MOOC (5-10%). She explained the structure of the MOOC, support activities for the trainees and tutors and the timeline of the course. The MOOC has 15 modules and is 80 hours long.

Vasilis Kyriatzis from the University of Thessaly presented the pilot delivery of the Smart DevOps Specialization courses and Work-based learning. The specialisation courses were designed for each of the new job profiles created in the project. They are organised online self-paced study with regular contact sessions with trainers. Almost 40% of people that completed the MOOC course continued with the specialisation course. Course materials were provided in local languages (English, Greek, German, Italian and French), and to assure quality, they also asked tutors to give a feedback report. The specialisation courses blended learning runs for 250-274 hours (depending on the course) through a period of 6 months. The work-based learning was organised in partnership with municipalities and private businesses for 10 weeks.

Lastly, Prof. Dr Panos Fitsilis, Smart DevOps project coordinator from the University of Thessaly, and Prof. Angelika Kokkinaki presented the Smart City Body of Knowledge Book. Prof Fitsilis emphasized that the Smart DevOps project focused on promoting new technologies for smart cities development, new software development methodologies, training new smart cities employees and developing a network of key stakeholders. One of the tools that accommodate that is the Smart City Body of Knowledge edited by Prof Fitsilis and Prof Kokkinaki. The book aims to continuously (through updates) provides knowledge and updates on skills and competencies inventory for Smart City professionals of the future. Both emphasized that in a “software-enabled society” we must invest in people and win the war of talent with different actions, such as monitoring smart cities labour market needs, promoting smart cities body of knowledge and occupational profiles.

The conference programme also featured two fireside chats. In the first fireside chat conference moderator, Borut Cink from ALL DIGITAL, hosted Stelina Chatzichristou, from the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP). CEDEFOP is an EU agency, that supports the European Commission in promoting vocational and educational training. One of the many fields that CEDEFOP focuses on is the impact of digitalization and green transition. Ms Chatzichristou announced that the skills foresight on Smart and Green Cities will be available in June 2022. Additionally, she provided an insight into the CEDEFOP’s work and explained how different stakeholders can exploit their resources.

In the second fireside chat, the moderator hosted two participants from Smart DevOps training activities. Giovanni Manco from Italy shared his experiences as a participant in the Smart DevOps MOOC. Konstantinos Asikis shared his experience from the specialization course.

Finally, Prof. Dr Fitsilis closed the conference highlighting that smart cities have to be resilient, sustainable, green, citizen-centric, secure, innovative. Smart DevOps project contributed to that by identifying new job profiles based on required skills and developed a VET Curricula and training activities to equip the people with competences needed to. We should prepare our staff, inspire our students, and don’t forget to invest in people.

Presentations from speakers:


04:23 Welcome and introduction, Peter Palvoglyi (ALL DIGITAL)
13:09 Keynote speech: “Career challenges in smart cities – How does the digital transformation of cities affect careers and what has to be done towards a sustainable career ecosystem in smart cities?”, Prof Dr Judith Hilde Semeijn (Open University of the Netherlands and Maastricht University)
32:44 Emerging smart city job roles and skills – The DevOps findings, Prof Dr Hans Rüdiger Kaufmann (The University of Applied Management Studies Manheim)
58:06 Design and delivery of the Smart DevOps Curricula, Dr Theodor Panagiotakopoulos (Hellenic Open University) 01:14:34 Fireside chat: Discussion with Stelina Chatzichristou, Department for Skills and Labour Market, European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP)
01:52:57 Pilot delivery of the Smart DevOps Curricula – Smart DevOps Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), Prof Angelika Kokkinaki (University of Nicosia)
02:18:03 Pilot delivery of the Smart DevOps Curricula – Specialization courses and Work-based learning, Vasileios I. Kyriatzis (University of Thessaly)
02:34:30 Fireside chat: Discussion with Smart DevOps MOOC and specialisation courses participants, Giovanni Manco and Konstantinos Asikis
02:51:41 Smart Cities Body of Knowledge, Prof Dr Panos Fitsilis (University of Thessaly) and Prof Angelika Kokkinaki (University of Nicosia)
03:12:16 Q&A about project results
03:22:58 Closing of the conference, Prof Dr Panos Fitsilis (University of Thessaly)

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