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    Tech Education: Building an ICT Talent Base with HCIE

Reading guide: The digital transformation of traditional industries has increased the demand for ICT talent, but demand is greater than supply. To fill that talent gap, Tech Education has teamed up with Huawei to promote the development and evolution of an ICT talent ecosystem, and has now trained more than 4000 Huawei Certified ICT Experts (HCIEs), who are now working in a range of industries.

In 2021, 9.09 million students graduated college in China. With this unprecedented number of graduates, many faced the prospect of unemployment in what was one of the hardest years in history in which to find a job.

Meanwhile, as digital transformation accelerates across industry verticals, there's an increasing demand for digital talent, but demand outweighs supply.

In the past two years, traditional industries have been hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, while the digital economy has been growing quickly. And with the increasing demand for digital talent in the job market, more and more young people are interested in taking digital skills training.

Tech Education (Tech) specializes in training ICT talent. In the past few years, Tech has seized the opportunities brought by the digital transformation of traditional industries as well as Huawei's strengths to evolve from a training institution into an ICT education enabler. Tech began working with Huawei in 2012. Since then, the company has transformed its talent development system, refined its services, and improved the intelligence of its cloud platform. By 2020, Tech had trained more than 4000 HCIEs and more than 250,000 ICT professionals. It has collaborated with more than 1000 universities and colleges to develop talent, and provided talent development, assessment, and certification services for more than 5000 ICT companies.

Talent Is the Foundation of Digital Transformation

With the global digital economy developing rapidly, the pace of digital and intelligent transformation in various industries is accelerating, so people who have industry backgrounds, are familiar with digital technologies, and are proficient at using them are becoming increasingly valuable.

In its 2020 Report on the Development of Online Learning Platforms for New Occupations, the China Employment Training Technical Guidance Center of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of China predicted a surge in demand for talent in new occupations for the following five years: nearly 1.5 million cloud computing engineers and technicians and nearly 5 million Artificial Intelligence (AI) professionals. Meanwhile, the need for industrial robot system operators and Operations and Maintenance (O&M) personnel is forecast to reach 1.25 million, and demand for digital managers could exceed 2 million. Clearly, this outlook suggests that high-end ICT talent could be in short supply in the near future.

In the ICT field, HCIE is a well-respected certification. Technical experts who pass the certification are adept at logical thinking and have outstanding judgment skills, as well as a deep understanding of network technologies. They are able to perform planning, design, and engineering practices in different scenarios, and they can conduct quick and accurate fault locating, diagnosis, and network O&M. Crucially, HCIEs also have extensive project experience and specialist knowledge, and they are well suited to the talent needs of the ICT industry because of their comprehensive range of knowledge.

When Huawei launched HCIE, Tech identified an opportunity to begin working with Huawei on talent development by providing training to people who intended to take HCIE tests.

Tech Education trainees

A Three-Pronged Approach to HCIE Development

While collaborating with Huawei, Tech continued to grow, and its business scope expanded from individual training and certification to schools, enterprises, and governments. Tech has been driving HCIE talent development, focusing on four areas: teaching materials, teachers, processes, and platforms.

Teaching materials are pivotal to talent development, and Tech has helped Huawei produce and publish a series of ICT certification textbooks, covering fields such as datacom, cloud computing, and storage. These books have been listed as key textbooks for China's 13th Five-Year Plan period and are also official Huawei ICT Academy learning materials; many editions of HCNA Network Technology Experiment Guide have been published, while HCIE Routing and Switching Learning Guide is now an important reference book for industry experts. As well as these resources, Tech has also developed a series of courses to train ICT talent.

To provide quality teaching, it's essential to have a large pool of skilled teachers, and more than 100 of Tech's full-time trainers have passed Huawei's instructor certification assessment. Most of the trainers have extensive experience in enterprise project operations, meaning that they can adeptly apply scenario-based technologies and they are skilled in managing the progress of projects and error checking. As digital technologies evolve rapidly, Huawei regularly updates its certification courses, so the skills of trainers need to be improved accordingly. To this end, Tech has adopted a three-pronged approach: continuously improve the technical awareness of internal teams by recruiting external experts, regularly conduct internal practice and exercise through internal technical debates, and apply a tiered salary structure to incentivize internal trainer teams to improve their skills and knowledge.

Professional teaching teams are the 'engine' of talent development, while professional iterative processes make talent development more efficient. Tech assesses new trainees with an assessment that's known internally as the 'Dark Horse Test,' to gauge their professional qualities and analyze their knowledge gaps, then teaches them accordingly. In HCIE talent development, from written exams, experiments to interviews, as well as teaching the fundamentals of a variety of courses, Tech also offers training resources, small classes, and scenario-based teaching methods to comprehensively improve trainees' technical skills, project implementation competencies, and communication skills.

Driven by technological development, online teaching has become more widely used, and its use has shot up because of the school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this context, Tech will upgrade the Huawei Cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) training cloud to the integrated cloud for industry and education. This cloud platform will be able to support features such as synchronous display of teaching materials, recommending Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and knowledge to students, online Q&A, remote desktop sharing, and clipboard data synchronization. More comprehensive solutions can be provided to cater to customer needs and support ICT talent development. For example, during the 2018 Huawei ICT Competition, Tech opened its Huawei-Tech Innovation Practice Cloud to contestants so that they could experience online lab operations on the platform to improve their hands-on skills.

Tech has also cooperated with many colleges and universities in China to research and put into practice reforming teaching content and curriculum systems, teacher training, constructing training bases, piloting a new kind of certificate system (known as '1 + X' certificate system), and creating the Kunpeng Industrial College (a learning program that covers topics such as Huawei Cloud and big data for Huawei's Kunpeng ecosystem). Our goal is to develop the seamless integration of college education and industrial application as we help colleges develop a new educational model that's focused on integrated production, education, research, and application.

From Talent Development to Talent Services

As well as training talent and building talent development platforms, Tech has also stepped up its efforts to provide a wider range of talent services, which was a breakthrough for the company's development.

Tech has been thinking about how to align talent skills with industry needs for maximum benefits for a long time, and in 2021 it started to focus its efforts on talent services.

China produces many top graduates every year, and supporting them to find employment is a key focus of Tech's work. To help college graduates find suitable jobs or even to a start business, Tech has started to offer a wide range of training services. To this end, Tech aims to become an important Authorized Service Partner (ASP).

As part of our talent service program, we are helping Huawei hold talent selection events. In June 2021, the Huawei ICT Talent Alliance Job Fair, which Tech sponsored, was held in Kunming, in southwest China's Yunnan Province, attracting more than 20 leading companies and more than 300 college graduates.

Tech will continue to share its training competencies and train more professionals to meet industry needs. We will also deliver high-quality services to support industry-education integration and enable regional and national development. We will develop in-depth collaboration between universities and industries. The Tech Research Institute has started to get involved in smart agriculture, smart water conservancy, and smart transportation projects. We will help develop more digital talent to enable traditional industries to go digital. By providing comprehensive talent services, we help to develop an ICT talent ecosystem and we expect to see many more of our trainees working to support that ecosystem.