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Author Ozdemir, Zafer D. ♦ Benamati, John H. ♦ Smith, H. Jeff
Source ACM Digital Library
Content type Text
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
File Format PDF
Language English
Abstract Introduction A paradox is becoming obvious to both information systems (IS) academics and executives: U.S. demand for IS graduates is increasing, but graduation numbers from university IS programs are flat or in decline. As a result, many CIOs are devoting increasing proportions of their organizations' resources to recruiting IS graduates, through outreach programs to both students and faculty. In spite of these efforts, however, many CIOs report continuing frustrations in attracting enough newly-minted IS talent. Complicating the picture is a temporal shift in the nature of entry-level IS jobs. Based on a 2006 study that interviewed 104 senior IS managers, skills associated with business domain knowledge, project management, and client-facing tasks (for example, systems analysis and design) are becoming quite important at the entry level. A second study identified a lack of leadership skills and indicated that team work, collaboration, and communication skills need to be enhanced in IS undergraduates. Industry also prefers that academic programs impart this higher level business and leadership knowledge using more experiential learning models. While some level of technical knowledge -- particularly in the areas of programming, architecture/ standards and security -- is still desired, firms are attempting to hire entry-level IS personnel who have been trained in areas that go well beyond the technical. Jobs previously viewed as entry-level---largely technical and programming-related---are now more likely to be outsourced overseas. An earlier model, in which new hires were expected to spend some time programming while learning the firm's business processes and applications portfolio, is quickly becoming outmoded. Early on, new hires are expected to perform at a higher level of complexity, quickly understanding the business domain and driving projects to completion. Programming and other technical work may well be done in another country. As the number and nature of IS jobs evolve, the demand and supply curves change. On the demand side, it is expected that the number of IS jobs in non-IS organizations will start growing rapidly due to retirement of the babyboom generation. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor predicts that growth in occupations such as database administrators, computer software engineers, and systems administrators will be much faster than most other jobs between 2004 and 2014. As IS enrollments have declined over the last five years at most universities, a "looming shortage" of IS professionals is on the horizon (See Figure 1). Unfortunately, many students and parents seem to harbor misperceptions -- sometimes referred to believing in "myths" - about the IS discipline, and this may be impacting enrollments. One misperception is related to the state of "off shoring"; perhaps relying on media reports, many students and parents have apparently overestimated the impact on U.S.-based IS jobs and salaries. Another misperception appears to be that the IS profession is not an exciting one, and many students and parents seem to equate IS jobs with "coding." Of course, few MIS graduates are actually assigned programming duties, with most focusing instead on tasks such as design and project management. The supply-demand gap, troubling on its face, may be even more problematic if the IS graduates do not possess the skills that are being demanded by industry. Simply attracting more students will not adequately address all of the looming workforce issues. Thus, IS programs must simultaneously increase their throughput and ensure that they are inculcating a skills set that is of value to employers. To that end, we have attempted to answer these two questions: • How are IS programs evolving to address the changing nature of IS entry level positions? • What are IS programs doing to attract more students into the discipline? To address these two questions, we studied the IS curricula of undergraduate business programs ranked in the Top 50 by the U.S. News and World Report in 2006 or 2007. 57 schools appeared in that ranking in either 2006 or 2007; of those 57, 47 offer an undergraduate degree in IS. We contacted all 47 schools with IS programs. At least one senior faculty member or administrator at 32 of these schools participated in a 30 minute, telephone-based structured interview. Interview questions addressed curricular changes within the past five years, curricular changes currently in process, involvement of an advisory board, and marketing. We now turn to a discussion of the findings from our study.
Description Affiliation: Miami University, Oxford, OH (Benamati, John H.; Ozdemir, Zafer D.; Smith, H. Jeff)
Age Range 18 to 22 years ♦ above 22 year
Educational Use Research
Education Level UG and PG
Learning Resource Type Article
Publisher Date 2005-08-01
Publisher Place New York
Journal Communications of the ACM (CACM)
Volume Number 53
Issue Number 3
Page Count 5
Starting Page 152
Ending Page 156

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Source: ACM Digital Library