Teaching and testing the database basics

Toni Sekinah, research analyst, DataIQ

CompTIA IT Fundamentals+, an education programme that gives an introduction to basic technology knowledge focusing on four pillars of technology - data, security, software development and infrastructure, was launched this month.

Graham Hunter, vice president for certification EMEA at CompTIA, told DataIQ that understanding data and databases is key to grasping the fundamental elements of IT. He said: “It wouldn’t be right to cover basic fundamentals of IT without looking at those things.”

Hunter went on to explain the constituent topics of the database module. These are the purpose for having a database, what you can do with data, different database structures, why having a database is important, how you might interface with these databases, and the uses of these databases in general.

laptop and tablet on desk with womanThe original IT Fundamentals certification was launched in 2009 as an early career qualifications for people in the Global South and was soon adopted by academic institutions globally. The certification was previously updated in 2014, with Hunter saying that updates occur in line with the “rapid rate” of movement in the IT market. “We are updating it to reflect what is required for a very generic entry level exam which would give you a very broad technical coverage,” he added.

According to a 2016 government report on the digital skills crisis by the Science and Technology Committee, the skills gap is pervasive. Up to 12.6 million British adults lack basic digital skills and an estimated 5.8 million have never used the internet. This is costing the UK £63 billion a year in lost GDP.  Research from the University of Roehampton has found a digital skills gap opening up in schools and colleges as well, with only 12% of students taking computer science as a GSCE subject and 3% taking it at A-level.

Hunter pointed out that the CompTIA IT Fundamentals+ exam is suitable for any age group. He said: “This is for somebody who might want to test the water of the concepts around a career in IT, so we are talking about students. A lot of the concepts here are similar to those with the GCSE curriculum. This might give you an indication of what that career pathway might look like.”

The launch of the new certification exam coincides with the release of two accompanying guides for instructor-led training and self-study. CompTIA is the Computer Technology Industry Association, a non-profit trade association for the IT industry.