Raspberry Pi: What's in it for business?

The £29 micro-computing marvel has finally shipped, and we investigate the potential business benefits that it could deliver in the UK.

By providing a low-cost device with a sound software platform for programming and development, the Foundation hopes to move schoolchildren away from learning to use Microsoft Office and toward true computing. This Upton explains, is what will have the biggest impact on businesses in the UK and further afield.

Those who grew up during the microcomputer boom of the 80s are the technical staff of today, but that boom has long since passed. Graduates with true computing knowledge are thin on the ground, and that translates into a serious dearth of qualified candidates for developmental, research and other roles in the IT industry.

By providing schools with an educational tool, less than the cost of most textbooks - and pupils with a cheap way to equip themselves with the same technology, Upton and his colleagues at the Foundation are hoping to bring back the days of true home computing'.

Education

The Raspberry Pi can capture the imagination of students

Introducing more children to the joys of programming at a young age, Upton argues, means that computing degrees will find themselves with a larger intake.

This could trigger a much need chain reaction; a larger intake of students for computing and related degrees means a larger quantity of knowledgeable, capable and skilled graduates in the employment pool.

With many companies often struggling to find talent to fill technical posts, especially in the fields of programming and electronics, that's little short of a promise to give the UK technology industry the shot in the arm it needs to put itself back on top.

It's not just IT-related industry which stands to benefit from a shift to teaching true computing in schools as a replacement for the administrative skills-heavy ICT curriculum of today. The Foundation argues that programmatic thinking,' which can be trained at a young age through the use of educational programming languages like Logo and Scratch, is a skill which would benefit any role in a business.

The Pi promises much, but only time will tell whether it can satisfy the IT industry's hunger for highly skilled workers.

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