Monday, 29 October 2012

EU project identifies Green IT skills requirements

In the light of Europe’s carbon reduction commitment, the European Commission (EC) has funded a series of projects aimed at addressing the shortage of skilled professionals in the Green IT field. One of those is the GRIN‐CH project, co-funded by the Leonardo da Vinci programme of the Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP) of the EC.

The project will analyse the market needs for skills, assess the existing training and define professional profiles in relation to European Qualifications Frameworks (EQF and eCF). It will also develop guidelines for further vocational training measures for Green IT jobs.

One of the key GRINCH project's goal is to identify five key Green IT job profiles that will best contribute to reducing IT’s environmental footprint and achieve cost saving. The consortium has now outlined the following five profiles:

1) Green IT software engineers who design and build energy efficient software. His/Her major responsibilities are related to:

- Contributing to the optimisation of the environmental footprint of software development projects.

- Building software that helps users to reduce their environmental impact through optimisation of code, end-user functionalities or usability.

- Promoting standardisation and actively contributing to make or buy decisions.

2) Green IT auditors to provide independent assurance on the effectiveness of the Green IT Strategy and/or its implementation. Major responsibilities include:

- Assisting an organisation in evaluating and improving their Green IT strategy

- Identifying risks and assessing the effectiveness of the internal controls, including compliance with Green IT standards and regulatory requirements.

3) Green IT Consultants who advise organisations on their Green IT strategy and implementation in the most effective and efficient manner.

4) Green IT infrastructure and operations experts to operate energy efficient IT environments. His/Her major responsibilities relate to:

- Contributing to the design, purchase, build and operation of low carbon footprint technologies.

- Minimising the impact of an organisation’s  processes on the environment by applying efficient technologies.

5) Green IT ambassadors who actively promote Green initiatives within the organisation, ensuring effective communication on Green IT and that the various stakeholders are actively involved in the deployment of the Green IT strategy. These experts will also provide feedback and monitor the implementation plan.

The profiles will be available in their final versions on the Green Corner:


Review:  Well, looking at green IT skills requirements and trying to fill gaps has got to be beneficial to the industry overall. The more these skills become mainstream and embedded in the organisation the better.

The list of roles seems to cover pretty much everything. A consultant to help with strategy, hardware and software expertise, an ambassador to drive it through and an auditor to assess the effectiveness. These skills will most likely be integrated into existing roles and they may not all be separate.

There is a danger, though, that this is all IT-focussed, rather than IT as part of a broader low-carbon business strategy. The ability of IT to reduce carbon emissions in other departments seems to be relegated to part of the responsibilities of the Green IT infrastructure and operations experts (‘minimising the impact of an organisation’s processes on the environment by applying efficient technologies’). It might be more effective to have some greater responsibility for using IT to reduce emissions across the organisation, possibly in the form of a company-wide Green ambassador linking IT with other business processes and procedures. But it would still need some training.

© The Green IT Review

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