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Annual Update of IT Infrastructure Job Skills

This past May, the National Convergence Technology Center (CTC) convened its Business and Industry Leadership Team (BILT) for its annual prioritization of essential entry-level IT job skills students and graduates will need to know in the next 12-36 months. The BILT always looks ahead, answering “what’s next?” rather than “what’s happening now?” because higher education curriculum development can proceed slowly.

Computer screen showing updated KSA list spreadsheet PDF document.While most quarterly BILT meetings run 90 minutes, that May meeting ran closer to four hours. The BILT members worked through the 2021 KSA (knowledge, skills, and abilities – plus also tasks) list line by line, ranking each item on a scale of 1 to 4 – a “1” vote means that item can be discarded from curriculum and a “4” means that item must be included in curriculum. After the vote, BILT members discussed and debated both the voting results as well as the wording of each KSA item.

The KSA list is considered a living document; multiple changes each year are common. By comparing this employer-led skills list to course content, educators ensure curriculum aligns with workforce needs.

Some of the notable revisions to this year’s include:

* Clarifying that an entry-level worker’s knowledge of database theory “relates both to network latency and replication and also to the three states of data (in the data center, in the cloud, and in a co-location).”

* Several skills (practical applications) were moved to knowledge areas (understanding the concept): skill in preparing and deploying a cloud high availability and business continuity solution, skill in implementing auto scaling and load balancing, and skill in assessing and evaluating the technical benefits of implementation of a cloud computing architecture.

* Prioritizations for skills using several additional cloud platforms – IBM Cloud, Oracle Cloud, Cisco Cloud, VirtualBox – all of which (for now) got low scores under a 2.6 average.

* Prioritizations for several additional certifications –AWS Cloud Practitioner Azure Fundamentals – both of which got high votes over a 3.6 average.

This updated list – 22 tasks, 89 knowledge areas, 65 skills, 25 abilities, and 9 certifications – is available now for free at the CTC’s website as a PDF or Excel file. You can also download a Word document with specific directions on how to create a free online survey tool for this list to more efficiently collect and tally employer votes.

The hope is that this KSA list serves as a starting point for educators working with their own local BILT this year and make sure curriculum aligns with workforce needs.

Learn more about the BILT model and the KSA vote by referencing these resources:
VIDEO: “Your Annual Job Skills Validation Vote” (10 minutes)
VIDEO: “Understanding the KSA Worksheet” (7 minutes)
VIDEO: “Seven Essentials of the BILT model” (4 minutes)
DOCUMENT: “Implementing the BILT Model of Business Engagement” (16-page PDF)
VIDEO: “Using Google Tools to Conduct Your KSA Vote – Working from an Existing Form” (8 minutes)

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