Make room for programming in primary school education and create a learning culture in your company. This is Sweden's path to a strengthened nation, says tech profile Tuva Palm.
There is one thing that irritates Tuva Palm, and that makes her "immensely tired". She finds that it is more difficult to make her voice heard on technical issues with business people than with other engineers. This is also partly the reason why she started SHE Invest Sweden - which is an actively managed equity fund that invests in equal companies on the Stockholm Stock Exchange.
– It turns out that the equal companies perform significantly better than those with an uneven gender distribution in management and the board. I hope it will make a difference faster, as they show the real business benefits of having a climate where you listen to what is said, not who says it, and let skills and perspectives work together instead of becoming a conflict.
Tuva Palm is often described as one of Sweden's most powerful tech women. Over the years, she has digitized and expanded companies such as Klarna and Nordnet. According to her, both technical and digital competence is needed in the management groups, and in the boards, but at a more strategic level.
– It is important to be able to see new technology and digital solutions both among competitors and in other markets, what tools and services are trending and how it affects expectations and the landscape for its own offering, she says.
Let developers experiment and share
One way to think new on how to meet the need for developers and tech skills in general is to implement programming in primary school education.
– Then we would have an excellent starting point as a nation. It is not that difficult to program, all children can easily learn the basics. We already have very good universities, but there are still too few who apply there.
Paradoxically, Tuva Palm emphasizes, it is a competence problem in itself that there are not teachers with sufficient competence to teach.
– But fortunately, several companies come up with digital solutions so that the teacher can teach without being a programming expert. Companies need to review their internal expertise and future needs, and review the gaps they have. Then you simply set up a plan to cover the holes for future skills. It's never too late and does not have to cost huge sums. The most effective is usually to let some developers test technology in an experimental project and then share their knowledge.
Another untapped resource is to further educate the elderly who have already worked for a few years in working life but feel like changing careers.
– One of my development managers was a shoe and bag designer from the beginning, but retrained as a developer at the age of 40 and then became a very popular development manager. It is clear that you can do advanced difficult things if you work with programming, as they do at Nasa or CERN. But creating a regular app is not rocket science, but very creative, inspiring and fun! It is a much more creative profession than people think, says Tuva Palm.
Create a learning culture
She points out that it is a good idea to further develop the skills you have within the company. Partly because they can be a great asset for the company, partly because the individual develops and has the opportunity to flourish.
– Customer service staff can become fantastic developers. But even senior developers who have an education and many years of experience may need further education in some form. As a company, it is important to create a learning culture, where employees are encouraged to try and learn new things, and share what they have learned and how they solved certain problems to make more people grow and be inspired.