CEPIS and the Future of IT Talent: An Interview with Luis Fernandez-Sanz at the Stay in Tech conference in Berlin

“At CEPIS our role is to promote a common understanding and foundational literacy, fostering collaboration with educational institutions.”

In a recent conversation with Luis Fernandez-Sanz, President of the Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS), we delved into the motivations behind CEPIS’s involvement in the EIT Deep Tech Talent Initiative and the broader landscape of IT professionalism in Europe. Luis’s insights highlighted the critical role that training and education plays in shaping the future of the IT industry.

CEPIS is deeply committed to advancing IT professionalism across Europe. “We are a European organisation that serves as an umbrella for 29 national IT societies representing more than 200,000 IT professionals,” he said. “Our mission is to promote the development of IT professionals, enhancing their career prospects and interest in new technologies.” And this mission aligns perfectly with the EIT Deep Tech Talent Initiative, which seeks to bridge the skills gap in the industry by providing additional training for both existing IT professionals and new entrants.

“Industry needs to access a diverse pool of talent ready to meet contemporary technological challenges.”

Discussing the recent “Stay in Tech” conference, Luis highlighted its significance as a collaborative effort to support female talent in IT. “The conference, held in Berlin in collaboration with the German Informatics Society (GI), the Fraunhofer ICT Group, and #SheTransformsIT, provides a platform to showcase organizational support for female IT professionals and to discuss strategies for eliminating barriers that women face in the tech industry.”

As a university professor in Spain, Luis sees first-hand how formal education can provide a solid foundation, but he also acknowledges the importance of alternative pathways such as vocational training, upskilling, and reskilling programs.

“These programs are essential to meet the industry’s needs and ensure that we have a workforce capable of addressing various societal challenges through technology.”

Considering rapid technological advancements, particularly in AI and deep tech, Luis recognises that the educational system must adjust, saying: “Introducing basic concepts of AI and deep tech at primary, secondary, and vocational levels can help demystify these technologies. Understanding the fundamentals before diving into formal qualifications is key.” His involvement with the European Commission on high-quality informatics education aims to integrate these essential concepts into early education.

Additionally, the growth of AI tools, such as ChatGPT, have made digital technology more accessible, allowing students to interact with systems in natural language. However, Luis emphasised that while these tools enhance productivity, they are nowhere close to really replacing many human professionals. “It’s important to integrate these tools into education thoughtfully to maximise their benefits, but it’s equally important to critically assess their output and impact.”

Looking forward, Luis believes that computational thinking and foundational knowledge in digital technology will be critical skill sets for future IT professionals, stating that while skills in specific technologies may change, the ability to adapt and understand underlying principles remains critical. Further adding that this approach will ensure individuals can transition easily between technologies and roles as needed, a skill that is highly valued by employers.

As the job market is continuously evolving, he acknowledged the need for diverse skill sets, including those from non-traditional backgrounds, stating: “The job market must evolve to appreciate the value of specialized skills in areas like AI or cloud computing. Initially, industries may prefer traditional profiles, but as they see the benefits of diverse qualifications, they’ll likely become more open to have workforce assisting and complementing the traditional highly qualified profiles at different levels“.

A further critical issue is bridging the gap between training opportunities and market demands. Luis said: “We need better information and standardisation. Even one decade ago, we already had a catalogue of IT certifications that comprised over 2300 different certifications from 160 different providers, and this list was not exhaustive. Now they are more and the list is continuously evolving. For a recruiter during the hiring process, it’s impossible to grasp what all these different IT certifications mean. Therefore, it is crucial to create a consistent terminology and categories in Europe, to address challenges in recruiting IT talents and their mobility.”

Continuing: “Promoting standardised frameworks like the e-CF, the European e-Competence Framework, and its connection with ESCO, the official EU labour classification, can help create a common language between education providers and employers, ensuring that training aligns with market needs of ICT professionals.”


CEPIS aspires to promote best practice for IT professionals and users throughout Europe by

  • Promoting high standards to further mature and promote IT professionalism and assisting the IT professionals in their career development
  • Building gender balance in IT industry and inspire more young people to pursue IT-related education and careers;
  • Advocating for a digitally competent and skilled general workforce in support of employability and higher productivity;
  • Advocating for the socially responsible adoption, secure, ethical, inclusive and environmentally friendly application of IT in Europe.

For more information about CEPIS, please visit their website here: https://cepis.org/ as well as the website of their IT professionalism brand ITPE, available at: https://itprofessionalism.org/