Ask for IT’s Input When Selecting Software and Hardware
Rather than listening to lectures and then demonstrating knowledge by passing an exam, students need to actively participate in the learning process through hands-on labs and projects. This not only encourages problem-solving, critical thinking and reasoning skills but also prepares students to teach themselves, which is critical in a constantly changing industry.
Gwynedd Mercy University students begin working on their resumes as soon as they are accepted into the program. Through industry certifications, a portfolio of hands-on projects, research, volunteer work and internships, our students enter the job market with the skills and experience necessary to be competitive. It is not uncommon for employers to reach out to us when they are hiring. Our program’s goal is for students to secure employment before graduation day.
Our CIS program works closely with the university’s IT department, allowing us to collaborate on hardware, software and connectivity. Because there are so many open-source tools available, our program has been investing in faster connectivity and computational power rather than software.
Open-source hardware such as Arduino boards, and Raspberry Pi devices and robotic kits are used as instructional aids. One of the best ways to keep up with new and emerging developments is to closely follow academic and government research, industry trends and reports.
Faculty and Staff Can Help Students Earn Certifications
Students majoring in CIS should consider earning industry certifications, which demonstrate proficiency in the field. CIS is constantly changing as new devices and technologies emerge.
The demand for evolving technologies creates an environment in which it’s difficult for employers to find employees with adequate skill sets. A look at the current descriptions on job sites reveals that industry certifications are becoming the norm today as organizations seek quantifiable ways to measure a prospective employee’s skills.
At GMercyU, we run an elective called CIS Boot Camp. Students enrolled in the class spend the semester earning certifications.
Along with certifications, students should also take advantage of research opportunities. Conducting research enables students to explore topics of interest in depth while they prepare for graduate school or the workplace. Research reinforces technical, writing and presentation skills.
Furthermore, research provides students with an opportunity to demonstrate a deeper understanding of the industry and showcase self-discipline and collaboration skills. Several GMercyU graduates have reported that they were offered a job because the interviewer was impressed with their research.
CIS is now an integral part of all fields of study; curriculum must remain flexible and be updated in step with the industry. With the exception of learning objectives, educators should expect to modify course content frequently. Instructors could involve students in this process by providing opportunities to select new technologies to be covered in class.
This approach fosters an adult learning environment and aids students in understanding how fast technologies evolve. Graduates with degrees in computing will work in an industry that is continuously changing, so it is essential they and their universities learn to adapt. Universities that fail to do so run the risk of lower enrollment.