Would-be IT professionals develop their own computer literacy, and the education system needs to support their intellectual develoment, according to shadow secretary of state for the Department of Universities, Innovation and Skills, David Willetts.
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Speaking at a Conservative Party conference fringe meeting on Tuesday, he said many "IT skills are incredibly important for the 21st century, but most kids now do develop high level computer literacy through their own personal experience. We can help by doing more on maths, and developing their intellectual framework so they are not cut out as software developers. We cannot pin anything on one system.
He said that subjects such as maths would help underpin IT workers' ability to cope with fast-paced change.
"IT skills are important for the economy, but the evidence is that it is maths that is really valuable, and where education can help in particular. It provides an intellectual framework on which these specific skills are then based. So as computer language changes and developes they are then equipped to cope with them," he said.