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Basic Introduction, but will it help with employers (for IT positions)?. Maybe eventually!
The European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL)
Member Name: phypher
The European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL)
Date: 11/07/01, updated on 16/07/01 (492 review reads)
Advantages: Good for non-IT people , Can help provide document proof of some computer-literacy
Disadvantages: Only a starting point as a route into IT (Experience required), Does nothing for the IT Skills shortage, other than start people on the ladder
As a member of the IT industry for too many years than I care to remember, I am always interested in new ideas to bridge the skills shortage.
This is NOT it. It is a useful tool for people who use a computer as part of their job, but not as an entry into IT as a whole. It is too basic, too Jack-of-many-trades, and sounds too damn easy to pass. (I admit to having not done it, and am scared to death that I would fail it if I did, just like the real driving test). Having not done the test, I am writing an opinion on the ECDL, and its merits as a route into IT, as opposed to a review of it.
To paraphrase "A journey starts with a single step" or something similar. After a discussion and a think about the article, I have decided I may have been a tad unfair on the ECDL. Any entry point that will allow you to begin the "journey" is worthwhile. While I do not change my position that this will not help you to gain a position instantly in IT, for anybody returning to work, changing careers, or have never touched a computer before, then I have been harsh on ECDL. it should be seen as a basic start, and the means to an end. That end should not be a position straight away, but using the skills gained in the short time, use it to , as I say in the article prior to this update, gain entry to an HNC course. It does not change my rating of ECDL though.
Hope the update makes what I was trying to say clearer.
***End of update ****
The basic modules (Database/Word Processing/Spreadsheets/Presentation/Information i.e. Internet/IT Concepts/how to use a computer type thing) will give you a basic grounding in how to work a computer, but that is it. A I think ScotGirl pointed out in her opinion, it seems very PC oriented, so maybe it should have been more correctly titled European PC Driving License.
When I first went to college, my HNC consisted of most of the above except the Internet mo
dule(which I saw for the first time when I started my degree, and there wasn't any pictures), and each of the subjects lasted for 40 hours. This was still only a basic grounding, and I had to spend many years learning more.
Even with an HNC, it was difficult finding that first IT job, so I cannot see it being any easier with the ECDL.
If it is a route into IT that you want, and not just to make yourself feel less computer-illiterate, you need to look elsewhere. If you wish to feel less computer-illiterate, and be able to show people (i.e. employers) then an ECDL will be right for you.
If you are trying to get a route into IT, experience is the key. All the qualifications in the world do not guarantee entry. Most companies with a skills shortage require somebody who can slot straight into their system and do the work. If you have an interest in joining us in IT (You must be crazy), then by all means do your ECDL, but follow it up with something more concrete. HNC Night classes are a good start, or if you can afford it, go the whole hog, and do a product specific "boot-camp" such as MCSE. I gained my HND while working at a newsagents from 5am to 8am, and then night classes after college. I was lucky and had a wife to support that, I will admit.
Most employers will still want to see experience as well as the "bit of paper", so do computer work for voluntary organisations, and record all that you do. Six months helping a voluntary organisation create a database will look a heck of a lot better on your CV than a simple ECDL.
Cost wise, I agree with ScotGirl, that one of your highest priorities should be to get yourself an ILA (Individual Learning Account) as the number of places for the free £150 towards your course is limited to the first million people. A lot of course providers are aiming their courses now at the £175 price, because they can advertise them as costing only £25 (which they
are if you get the £150 from the government. I am lucky in that my company will pay another £150 on top of the governments into my ILA)
In Summary (and in my opinion), the ECDL is for extreme beginners, who wish to record the fact that they can work with a computer without being scared of it. It can give you an entry into an interview because I am sure most employers who are looking for non-IT staff that use computers will pre-select somebody who has a qualification such as this. Advanced entry into IT requires more than this.
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