The Malta IT Professionalism Conference 2019

In the modern world, technology is developing so fast that at times it is not clear whether we are moving in the right direction.  We see the world for the IT professional as an exciting one, however, we are sure that apart from this it's also very challenging to keep up with. These challenges bring about a certain apprehension as to whether the transversal and underlying foundations on professional and industry practices are being given enough importance.  To ensure a net positive effect on our ICT Profession, and in order to help our organisations to grow and thrive in a sustainable manner, we need to embrace this Digital Transformation. 

Resisting or shelving it will render ICT professionals less effective, not to mention that they will be working against the strong wave of the corporate culture of development and change. SMEs and bigger corporates will need to go through a transformation to be able to take full advantage of technological advancements, including but not limited to skills mapping, compete​nces, and further development of professional frameworks.  Today’s ICT Professionals need to be well informed and this conference contributed well towards that.
The eSkills Malta Foundation, as it had done in previous years, organised an IT Professionalism Conference on the 24th October 2019.  The Foundation invited a number of professional and expert speakers who presented a number of topical subjects about competences and skills development that are so essential in the IT Industry.
In the morning session, Mr Andre Richier from the European Commission informed the audience with the Commission’s views, projects and path to IT Professionalism.  The commission gives a lot of importance to this subject, moreover now that specific digitally-transforming technologies are emerging and converging.  Niels Van der Linden from Capgemini continued further on the similar lines, highlighting a European roadmap for supporting SME’s on skills and competences, drawn from an EU project. Following this, Mary Cleary representing the Irish Computer Society (ICS) and as Chair of the CEN Technical Committee 428A presented an interesting comparison between Ireland and Malta about the digital economy and its much-needed professionals.  Ireland and Malta, except for the size, are both islands with similar history and a similar ICT ecosystem. Our local champion in Blockchain Technology, Dr Joshua Ellul from the Centre for Distributed Ledger Technologies at the University of Malta and as Chair of the Malta Digital Innovation Authority presented what Malta and the University of Malta were implementing on the subject of Distributed Ledger Technology.
An interesting panel discussion then ensued, moderated by Johan Zammit.  Johan is a major contributor to digital innovation and change in Malta and pronged the panel with a number of questions on topical subject areas.
The afternoon sessions included an insightful presentation from Dr Luis Fernandez from the University of Alcala, Spain, about a project on non-technical skills matching in IT occupations. He was followed by Jutta Breyer from Publico International Consulting, who presented in detail the e-Competence Framework (e-CF), a European standard about skills and competences. Jutta’s presentation included the upcoming 2019 version and included the other parallel projects, being carried out by CEN as part of the Framework for IT professionalism, regarding the Body of Knowledge (BOK) and the IT Professional Ethics. Austeja Trinkunaite, Secretary-General of CEPIS, took the stage to talk about IT Professionalism Europe (ITPE), an initiative for bringing IT professionals from all over Europe to discuss various subjects including the e-CF, ethics, BOK amongst others. Feedback from these discussions was then communicated to the CEN/TC428 technical committee for their consideration. Apart from eSkills Malta Foundation, some other local companies are members of ITPE. Prof. Pascal Ravesteijn was next to talk.  Pascal comes from HU University of Applied Sciences in Utrecht and presented an essential subject about Digital Leadership which is so much needed in the digital transformation of organisations. After Pascal, Wayne Grixti, Chairman of Malta.AI, talked about the path Malta is taking on Artificial Intelligence to become a leading country in the subject matter implementation.  Malta has already put a stamp on its intention when they launched Malta Strategy about the subject, Ethical standards, and the optional certification of AI products. The afternoon session came to an end with Rodrigo Marcos presenting a reality check on cybersecurity ethical hacking and the respective skills needed. The subject of cybersecurity is one of the most important topics due to the ever-increasing risks in technology and therefore the skills, knowledge, competences and attitude of the cybersecurity professional become crucial preventing security threats.
Following all speakers presentations, various questions, asked by the attendants, were discussed with all speakers in the conference.  Answers were in the form of discussions where a number of speakers could actually offer their view.  Eventually, after an interesting and insightful day at the conference, Carm Cachia, Chief Administrator of the eSkills Malta Foundation who had moderated the whole conference, gave his closing comments and thanked all the attendants, speakers, and anyone who contributed to the conference.  

Carm Cachia
Carm Cachia - eSkills Malta Foundation

Andre Richier
Andre Richier - European Commission

Niels van der Linden​
Niels van der Linden​ - Capgemini Consulting

Mary Cleary
Mary Cleary - Irish Computer Society

Dr Joshua Ellul
Dr Joshua Ellul - Malta Digital Innovation Authority & Centre of Distributed Technologies

Dr Luis Fernandez
Dr Luis Fernandez-Sanz - University of Alcalá​

Jutta Breyer
Jutta Breyer - Breyer Publico International Consulting

Austeja Trinkunaite
Austeja Trinkunaite - Council of Europe Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS)

Dr Pascal Ravesteijn
Dr Pascal Ravesteijn - Hogeschool Utrecht

Wayne Grixti
Wayne Grixti - Malta Digital Innovation Authority & Malta.AI Taskforce

Rodrigo Marcos
Rodrigo Marcos - Principal Consultant, SECFORCE

List of Presentations:
​1. Skills for Industry by Andre Richier​
​2. A European Roadmap for Supporting Skills Development in SMES by Niels van der Linden​
​3. Ireland and Malta Two Island Nations Cut-off or Cutting Edge? by Mary Cleary
​4. DLT Education: A Maltese Perspective by Dr Joshua Ellul
​5. Skills Match - How EU open data provides insight into soft skills for IT occupations by Dr Luis Fernandez-Sanz​
​6. A Common European Framework for ICT Professionals in all sectors by Jutta Breyer​
​7. IT Professionalism Compact and Careful by Austeja Trinkunaite​
​8. Effect of e-Leadership in Organisations by Prof. Dr Pascal Ravesteijn​
​9. Malta The Ultimate AI Launchpad by Wayne Grixti​
​10. Becoming a Cybersecurity Ethical Hacker by Rodrigo Marcos​​