As has become custom, a recent conference call meeting with the National Convergence Technology Center’s (CTC) Business and Industry Leadership Team (BILT) kicked off with a lengthy discussion of current and future trends in IT. The goal is to let faculty members also on the call know about the real-world state of the industry. Where is it now and where is it going? This can shape not only how faculty teach today’s classes, but also inform future decisions on courses and programs. Here are a few highlights:
- You’ve heard of the LAN (local area network) an the WAN (wide area network). Next up will be the PAN (personal area network), which will be likely connected to wearable devices. This points again to the growing need for network security. If everything is connected, including personal items through a PAN, then everything is vulnerable to security breaches. Security needs to be a part of networking process from the very beginning.
- A major hospital system in Texas is attempting to integrate 57 different institutions so that doctors, researchers, and medical students can all seamlessly access patient information. But all of those institutions and departments and campuses have different security and firewalls and data systems. Now add onto that complex network the privacy requirements mandated by HIPPA and disaster recovery plans that any business needs. It’s a monumental networking project and exactly the sort of thing that may well become commonplace for our IT students.
- For job interviews, IT graduates would be well advised to “spend hours” researching the industry into which they’re attempting to enter. They need to understand the environment. It’s not enough to know the foundational basics. Graduates must set themselves apart with their knowledge about how what they did in school connects with the job they’re seeking. One possible strategy: encourage students to get active in local IT professional organizations, which will give them an extra edge in the interview process.
- The IT industry continues to consider Bachelor’s degrees as the basic degree for any entry-level job. It’s important for community colleges to continue working with their local business and industry to prove otherwise. Graduates with associate’s degrees can do these jobs.
- Block chain technology, also known as a distributed database, maintains a continuously growing list of data records that’s hardened against revision and tampering. It drives Bitcoins, but it’s not just for the banking world. Block chain is finding a place in real estate and in security. As it becomes more and more widespread, block chain is something IT educators need to keep an eye on.