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Higher Education must keep track with latest IT trends

July 8, 2014 • Opinion

Technology

Natasha Madhav, Head of Programme: Information Technology at the Independent Institute of Education (IIE).

Information Technology has always been one of the fastest growing industries, and it is important that public and private higher education institutions – despite certain constraints – keep students up to date with the latest developments as a matter of course.

“New trends and innovations in technology, and emerging disciplines and applications, become part of the technical landscape almost daily. These must be considered when preparing graduates for the workplace,” says Natasha Madhav, Head of Programme: Information Technology at the Independent Institute of Education (IIE).

“Some of these relatively new developments, like Cloud Computing, Big Data, and mobile apps, have become pervasive in a very short period of time. Besides being part of our daily vocabulary, they were quickly integrated into the way we do business and interact socially.

“Given these ongoing new developments, it is important to expose students and create an awareness of these technologies, and integrate them into their education so that they have current and relevant knowledge and experience when applying for jobs.”

Madhav says that prospective students and their parents should consider what the job market will require in 5 years’ time, and ensure that when selecting a qualification, the content of that qualification is verified so the graduate will be prepared for their chosen career.

“It is important that students are nurtured to become creative thinkers and problem solvers, who have the skills necessary to function effectively in the workplace.

“It is crucial that higher education providers understand the importance of integrating these emerging sectors into curricula and that faculties regularly review their IT qualifications and IT curriculum offering for non-tech students as well.”

Madhav says these new fields are not only relevant to IT students, but to students in general.

“Technology no longer exists in a silo, where only IT managers need to understand what’s going on. Students from almost all disciplines will do well to have a well-rounded awareness and understanding of the challenges and opportunities technology offer within their discipline,” she says.

“For instance, Cloud computing is the new way for a business to secure and store their data so it is widely accessible from any location in the world. Big Data will become the basis of competition, productivity growth and innovation. Leaders in every sector will have to grapple with the implications of Big Data. The increasing volume and detail of information captured by enterprises, the rise of multimedia, social media, and the Internet of Things will fuel exponential growth in data for the foreseeable future.

“Although it sounds like a mouthful, all of that terminology relates back to how we interact and how we do business, which is mostly over the internet with technology interacting in a reliable, secure and rapid way,” says Madhav.

“An IT curriculum cannot stay static over even two years – new trends and technologies must be integrated into existing and new modules, through class discussions, business partnering, digital engagement and demonstrations.”

Natasha Madhav, Head of Programme: Information Technology at the Independent Institute of Education (IIE).

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