ALISE 2017 Works in Progress Poster Abstract & References

Title:  The (mis)alignment of IT education and IT workforce needs:  Challenges and opportunities in the North Florida region. 

Jonathan M. Hollister, PhD
Information Institute
Florida State University

Laura I. Spears, PhD
George A. Smathers Libraries
University of Florida

Marcia A. Mardis, EdD
School of Information
Florida State University

Charles R. McClure, PhD
Information Institute
Florida State University

Jisue Lee, PhD
School of Information
Florida State University

Abstract (250 words): 

Information Technology (IT) is one of the fastest growing industries and, as such, many colleges and universities, including many library and information studies (LIS) programs and iSchools, are now offering undergraduate and graduate level IT degrees to meet the need for skilled IT professionals.   Given the fast pace of change in the IT landscape as well as differences in regional needs, identifying the types of skills needed by IT graduates and new IT professionals, and those requested by employers, and incorporating them into IT curricula is beneficial to all parties involved.  This works in progress poster reports preliminary findings from an NSF Advanced Technological Education grant-funded project that explores the (mis)alignment of the IT skills needed by new professionals, requested by IT employers, and those taught in two-year IT degree programs in the Northwest Florida region.  Through a holistic, mixed methods approach, data was collected through interviews with new IT professionals and regional IT employers, classroom observations of IT courses, as well as data-mining of regional IT job postings and the syllabi and related curricular materials of two regional two-year IT degree programs.  Preliminary findings highlight the importance of soft skills, such as communication, problem-solving, learning, and self-management, in addition to knowledge of technical skills and identify experiential learning opportunities, such as internships, as highly valuable for the development of well-rounded and skilled IT professionals.  This study examines challenges and opportunities for IT industry, information professionals, and LIS educators and provides recommendations for IT curricula that serves these diverse stakeholders.  

Keywords:  IT Skills, IT Education, Curricula Assessment

Poster:  The .pdf file for the poster can be found here.


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