Oct 31 2016

Carnegie Mellon Prepares Future-Ready IT Professionals with New Course on Cloud

The Pennsylvania research university offers a class aimed at giving students hands-on experience with cloud.

In college, students are supposed to learn skills that will aid them once they enter the job market. With a survey estimating businesses will spend 17 percent of their budgets on cloud projects in 2017, a “Cloud Computing for Business” course could not have come at a better time.

Offered at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College School of Information Systems and Management, the course was designed to serve a mix of business and technology students. Currently, only information systems students are in the class, but the course is now open to business students with experience in Java programming.

“We saw an opportunity in our curriculum for a course that would teach the impact of cloud computing on a business when they move their data centers or IT to the cloud, as well as if they change their revenue models based on selling cloud-enabled products as a service,” says Andrew Wasser, the school’s associate dean.

Wasser says the course, which is taught by tech industry experts, was developed to bring the latest challenges and practices in technology into the classroom.

Through hands-on labs using Pivotal Cloud Foundry and Apache Hadoop (Java and Git for programming), students will learn how to deploy a cloud migration and develop a strategy for rapid scaling and agile business processes, Wasser says.

“Students will have an appreciation of how the revenue model of a company will be impacted if migrating from a traditional business to a cloud business,” Wasser says.

Preparing for a Future in the Cloud

Though new in the last decade, cloud is now somewhat of a household term. Last year, Time magazine called cloud the “most important new technology in decades.”

The education sector has embraced cloud computing to assist with everything from disaster recovery to expanding collaboration. But are universities training future experts in the cloud?

Forbes reported that in the U.S. alone there are an estimated 3.9 million jobs requiring cloud computing skills — with just under 400,000 in IT.

In a study from IT staffing firm TEKsystems, managers named a lack of technical skills as the number one reason for their inability to find a qualified job candidate.

“Whether you’re looking to fill critical positions at your organization or searching for the next big opportunity to propel your career, the hiring and job search processes can be overwhelming. This is especially true in IT, as rapid changes in technology lead to constant demand — and constant opportunity,” reports the study.

Though cloud computing is just one part of the latest technology in the IT skills gap, courses like Carnegie Mellon’s “Cloud Computing for Business,” are being created to shrink that gap.

Over the last few years, cloud computing has been making its way into traditional computer science education. For example, at Robert Morris University Illinois, students who get a bachelor of applied science degree in networking — which offers an emphasis in cloud — are working to home in on the real-world IT skills needed. In addition, San Jose State University and the University of Notre Dame offer a software engineering degree with an emphasis on cloud technology and virtualization.

As more and more industries and institutions move to the cloud, it’s likely that cloud education programs will become the norm.


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