How do you keep your IT curriculum current with the evolving needs of the industry?
The “IT Skill Standards 2020 and Beyond” (ITSS) project, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, works with IT employers and subject matter experts (SMEs) across the country to update skill standards for the most in-demand job clusters. Last year, close to a hundred IT “thought leaders” – mostly CIOs and high-level executives – collectively identified seven IT “job clusters” most in need of qualified workers:
- Data Analytics and Predictive Modeling
- Data Management and Engineering
- Infrastructure Connectivity, Management, and Engineering
- Software Development
- Technical Project Management
- Technical Support
The “thought leaders” will gather again this fall to discuss the possibility of identifying additional clusters, such as AI or machine learning.
Multiple meetings have been convened – both in person and online – for each of the seven clusters. At those meetings, SMEs provide specific feedback on the cluster’s essential knowledge, skills, abilities, and tasks. What should students be learning? What do entry-level employees need to know? Additional work with the SMEs has also helped identify both key performance indicators (KPIs) and employability skills for each cluster. It’s a huge, complex undertaking that is only possible through the generous participation of so many IT SMEs across the country. Some of these employers are lending their expertise across multiple clusters.
The ultimate goal is to provide educators a detailed, up-to-date, and user-friendly list of IT skills that can help inform program curriculum. Too many similar lists are either out-of-date or unusable, either because they’re too broad and too overwhelming in their granular detail. Plans are underway to keep these lists updated long after the cluster meetings end via online commenting tools.
You can learn more about the ITSS project here .
Content is already available now for the first two job clusters:
Content for “Infrastructure Connectivity, Management, and Engineering” and “Technical Project Management” is scheduled to be released soon.