Back to school is one of the most important sales periods in the IT channel, but this year it feels more significant than usual, says PCR editor Dominic Sacco in this opinion piece.
The revised curriculum introduced two years ago brought coding to the classroom, giving resellers new types of products to focus on, from robotics to mini-computers.
At the same time, teachers and pupils continued to adopt more portable computers, from tablets to convertibles. This trend has developed, with fresh demand for smaller form factor PCs, all-in-ones and even higher-powered systems for more creative work.
System builder Zoostorm has reported a rise in sales of those systems to schools – you can read more about that in our education analysis on page six in our latest issue (dated July 2016), as well as details of additional credit from Tech Data and Dell’s push into Currys/PC World in time for the school break.
Aside from these developments, the IT skills gap is still a real issue. A friend of mine is a specialist software developer, who, after posting an update online saying he was looking for a new job, was inundated with offers from different companies. They were throwing themselves at him and offering all kinds of incentives, simply because there aren’t enough people with specific IT skills available.
The children in school today that are working online, coding and growing up among the digital generation – who will hopefully fill that skills gap in years to come – can really prosper with the right IT infrastructure and setup at their school.
On that note, IT resellers have the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than just another back to school period – they can help provide for and inspire the next generation of IT experts that will shape our channel for decades to come. As well as this, should schools be teaching kids how to actually build and repair PCs? We explore that issue on page 20.
Speaking of talented youngsters, we’ve put together our annual 30 Under 30 list of rising stars in the UK IT channel, over on page 32. This will be uploaded online soon.
Finally, don’t forget to check out our education opinion pieces on page 14, a more in-depth feature on page 18 and the latest back to school products to stock on page 44.
We'll be producing a host of back to school and IT in education articles throughout July. Stay up to date with those using the link below.