Over the weekend, a friend of my daughter was excited about the idea of becoming a spy for a career, and how her careers officer had failed to mention it as part of her career planning. So my daughter decided to help her by finding out how you get a job as a spy.

My father-in-law said it was all about the ‘old boy network’, but he was quickly corrected when we found out that MI5 - the UK security agency equivalent of ASIO - run job ads on their website in the same way as another organisation).

So we went online to look at their job ads. And it turns out if you want to get a job as a spy, these days you need to know how to use business applications like Excel and Access [link]

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And linking back to the blog post I wrote a couple of weeks ago, ‘What skills do your students need to work in the world’s best workplaces’, it seems that’s true for lots of other companies.

Of course, if you want to work at Microsoft, knowing how to use Microsoft software is an absolute must. And the same applies for many other jobs in other companies. A colleague in the US spotted that if you want to work at Google, you’re going to need the same kinds of skills. When he checked last week, there were 88 open jobs on their website that required either Excel or PowerPoint experience [link]

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So as your students start to make choices about the subjects they are studying, remind them that the right choice of the skills and qualifications they can get at school, TAFE and university will be critical when it comes to getting their first, second or even tenth job.

Maybe that’s why we’re seeing lots of education systems around the world taking advantage of the IT Academy programme, where students can get technical and/or proficiency qualifications as they progress through the education system. Students could leave with a high level technical qualification on their resume, such as Microsoft Certified Professionals, Microsoft Technology Associates or Microsoft Office Specialists. (And you’d also give them a great intro to the acronym-tastic modern workplace, with MCP, MTA & MOS as starters!)

Some of the IT Academy participants include North Carolina, KL University, Boston City Campus and Business College, Washington State and Box Hill TAFE in Australia.

Learn MoreLearn more about the Microsoft IT Academy programme