The future of digital in Scotland

Can Scotland keep up with the digital revolution? PR & Social Media Consultant, Ishbel Macleod, thinks we're up to the challenge.

Can I tell you a secret? Despite working for Scotland’s biggest digital agency, I don’t know how to code.

Don’t get me wrong – I had a KILLER Myspace profile background I made myself…but somehow our dev team don’t seem that impressed when I suggest a sparky rainbow unicorn background as the basis for a website.

But I digress.

The reason I’m telling you my secret is because I recently attended a Talking Trends event hosted by the Herald, looking at the future of digital in Scotland…and it seems the future has a lot of coding.

We are, as Gareth Biggerstaff, managing director at Be-IT Resourcing said, in the fourth industrial revolution - the digital revolution.

And with so many digital businesses already in Glasgow and Edinburgh – Scotland could be at the forefront of this. It could even be, one of the speakers suggested, the new oil and gas industry.

The problem is that the world of digital is moving fast, but the outside world isn’t moving at a pace fast enough to keep up (like my woefully poor coding skills that begin and end at making things bold, adding a link and embedding a YouTube video).

Biggerstaff (seriously, an excellent name for a guy who works in recruitment) noted that 15 million jobs in the UK could be lost due to advances in digital. So, clearly, the future will need a lot of training and retraining.

Dr Anna Morgan-Thomas, senior lecturer in marketing at the University of Glasgow, echoed this point, stating that digital entrepreneurship is the future.

Also, in the wise, wise words of Whitney Houston, children are the future. Mainly in the training them up to learn coding sense: with so many children knowing how to use smartphones, tablets and video games, it will be no surprise if we raise a generation to whom ‘Java’ instantly means ‘Script’ as opposed to being a weird way to say coffee.

CodeClan Scotland pointed out that it is not just kids we should be thinking about when it comes to training. Even the older generation like me, who have spent many more years on a GameBoy than on an iPhone, need to make sure they keep up with the industry.

So, what does this mean overall? Digital is growing, with mobile coming to the forefront. Scotland needs to work hard in order to make a foothold for itself in the digital revolution, but given the atmosphere both inside Equator and at the Herald Talking Trends event, it is clear to me that the country is up to the challenge.

By Ishbel Macleod, PR & Social Media Consultant