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Business Feedback on the Future of IT

Regular readers of this blog know that the National Convergence Technology Center (CTC) believes strongly that annual job skills validation meetings with business experts are an essential element in making sure IT curriculum aligns with workforce needs. At these meetings, industry business councils – called “BILTs” (Business and Industry Leadership Teams) by the CTC – provide specific feedback on the job skills entry-level workers need to get hired. That feedback, which can be gathered in an Excel document, helps faculty members make sure the required job skills are covered by the curriculum. As expected in an industry that changes as much as IT, the National CTC’s job skills list undergoes significant revision and rewriting by the BILT every summer.

Last month, the National CTC’s BILT gathered (19 attended either in person or on the phone) both to discuss broad workforce needs and to vote on a list of specific entry-level knowledge, skills, and abilities. Below are a few highlights from that meeting.

  • Any single-skilled network administrator is in trouble. Successful IT workers must be willing to learn new skills and remain relevant. Because careers are often made “filling in the gap,” students should be encouraged to take note of emerging technologies and strive to become an expert. As one BILT member said, “Your resume is your responsibility.” This is especially true as cloud computing continues to transform the IT workplace.
  • Knowing the OSI framework is essential. Curriculum shouldn’t shirk on this topic. The BILT vociferously agreed that the OSI model forms the basis for all IT troubleshooting and expressed concern that new hires aren’t as familiar with OSI as they may have once been.
  • IT jobs are shifting from operational to strategic. That is, rather than focus just on “keeping the lights on” and maintaining IT infrastructures and systems, more and more IT workers are being asked to get involved in business strategy and assume more strategic responsibilities. One BILT member called this a “repurposing” of current IT workers.   Automation is changing the paradigm. Before, 50 to 100 servers might be managed by a single administrator. Soon, that number will be 1000. The “rack em, stack em” data center jobs are disappearing.
  • Security touches every single area of IT. One BILT member described it as “an inch deep and a mile wide.” Security is everyone’s problem, not just those who specialize in cybersecurity. Security must be threaded through every course of any successful IT program.
  • “Hybrid cloud” will continue as a business trend with companies keeping some IT on-premise, but integrating it with the cloud for other IT services and needs. One BILT member believes that businesses will continue to “jump in and out of the cloud as needed.” So for as much talk as there is about cloud computing, several BILT members believe that on-premise IT isn’t going to disappear completely.

Learn more by downloading this guide about using the National CTC’s BILT model to maximize your own business group.

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