Skip to comments.The perfect IT Education? (IT/Nerd Alert)
Posted on 07/27/2003 9:24:31 AM PDT by BushCountry
Below is a typical Associate Level Degree program in Information Systems. Quite frankly, I think programs like these programs are a disservice to communities they serve. I also firmly believe that improper education and training of America's IT personal has hurt the economy and has made a major contribution to the decline in IT jobs. Yes, I know the bubble burst, but companies are not pushing forward aggressively when it comes to IT. So many companies got burnt by poorly trained IT personal and their empty promises that they are running scared. I value and respect the input of the people on this site, so I ask, "If you could develop/design a perfect Information System AA degree program what would it contain?"
My thoughts are presented in italics. Please feel free to rename courses, add/subtract ideas, and give me your two cents worth.
Introduction to computers and computing. This course should be designed with a few thoughts in mind; How to keep my computers/network secure. How to maintain/optimize the units where the operator is the bottleneck. Company-wide hardware purchasing decisions and cost benefit analysis of upgrades. Basically, I am saying that these programs should skip 90% of what they teach about the internal operation of the computer (no text book is up-to-date and the information for the most part is laughable).
Computer programming and problem solving. This course should be based on html, html help, java script, and SQL.
Basic spreadsheet design and development. Every spreadsheet should be designed and developed toward decisions that an IT personal makes daily. For instance how to calculate company-wide hardware/software purchases, IT labor costs and benefits, and cost benefit analysis of upgrades.
An introduction to graphic design software. Is this really necessary? If necessary, this course should use software that produces flowcharts, network cabling diagrams, and how to optimize graphics for the web/databases.
Operating systems concepts; database concepts and applications. Every computer should be a multi-boot operating system machine with connectivity issues discussed. The connectivity issues; Security, Internet, LAN, WAN, and Terminal Services. Database concepts and applications should relate to the current technologies for data warehousing, access times and bandwidth requirements, and backup procedures.
Database programming; installation and maintenance of computer hardware. The database design projects should include a fictional company employee database (should allow the employee to change information as required, e.g. address info, health insurance, and dependents), computer / software / network inventory, knowledge base of common networking troubleshooting and connectivity issues relating to this fictional company, and company policy/handbook.
Computer training and support techniques. Cost benefit analysts can not be stressed enough. Network and computer security, privacy and computer use policy issues, and remote administration/repair of PCs.
Systems analysis and design. Internal structured cabling, network communications technologies, supporting remote users, firewalls, routers, gateways, and designing a secure system.
Design and implementation of a systems project. One design project of a new 500 workforce fictional company. The layout of the three building complex, server software scheme and department level breakdown should be completed by the instructor. Students should be required to make the purchasing decisions for the purchase of Network Servers, Switches/Routers, Structure Cabling and Racks, Personal Computers, and networking/pc software.
Electives (Degree - 2 courses) - Students are required to take a 3-credit-hour humanities/fine arts course and a 3-credit-hour social/behavioral science course. For once, I am at a loss for words. These courses are suppose to make the IT professional a well-rounded individual. I would like to find a more practical use for these 6 credit hours. Any suggestions?
English (Degree - 2 courses) - These courses emphasize the writing process and professional communication skills. First course should be technical writing, practical proposals and grants. Second course should be creating effective web documents, e.g. HTML Help and Employee Computer Use Handbooks.
Math (Degree - 1 course) - Survey of topics including sets, logic, probability, statistics, matrices, mathematical systems, geometry, topology, mathematics of finance, and modeling. Math course topics should relate to Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and cost benefit analysts of everything from increase network bandwidth to speeding up PC by adding memory. In other words, practical math for the network and system administrators.
These are the type of courses that just make life miserable, and discourage potentially great engineers from going through the non-sense. Why not say the truth " these courses will NOT make you a better person, they are extortion to help fund educators/courses that have no viable purpose at an institution of higher education"
Forcing a person to take course on morals and ethics does not make a moral or ethical person. It simply is a extortion of money from a trapped student, directly into the coffers of the department in which the student must donate. The college exists to sell it's product (education) to the customer (student). The student buys the skills he/she needs to pursue the career of choice. To force a student to take unrelated courses makes as much sense as forcing a person to buy a car and a Balsa wood entertainment center (Balsa entertainment centers just aren't selling like the Liberals would like to see them sold; so they will be a conditional requirement for purchasing a car).
You are 100% correct on that recommendation. Otherwise, they ought to read the entire line of O'rielly books and a promising career is within reach.
Writing skills! Amen to that. The other oft-ignored skill is public speaking. Lots of IT people at all levels will end up needing to speak to groups. Training sessions, demos, that sort of thing.
No. A course such as that should avoid language-specific instruction. In all reality, what language you use would depend on what you seek to accomplish. A course such as this should introduce would-be, or existing, programmers to programming methodologies that work, rather than teaching a specific langauge... just my opinion, of course...
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