IBM's answer to IT skills crunch: Woo students

Reaches out to universities with Web tools for honing IT skills

As part of an expanded outreach to university IT students, IBM is releasing a set of Web-based tools and resources to help them hone marketable skills in the fastest-growing IT job opportunities.

IBM is adding a section to the Web site of its long-standing Academic Initiative program, which until now has focused mainly on working with faculties who teach IT and IT-related courses. The new section is designed for students, with tutorials, games, skills assessments and online forums that can supplement, and be incorporated with, regular college and university courses.

"Our key concern is the 'skills pipeline,'" says Kevin Faughnan, an IBM veteran who's been director of the company's Academic Initiative since 2004. The mega-trends of globalization and services-oriented economies are made possible by information technology, creating a growing US and global demand for IT skills, he says. "The information system -- the hardware and software and networking 'complex' -- is what's driving the services-oriented businesses," he says. "They need young workers who have the skills to continue innovating."

And these companies can no longer afford the lengthy and costly internal training programs that have been standard features of the business landscape, according to Faughnan. Young workers need to be productive sooner, with skills that are ready to be used.


Wanted: 10 IT skills employers need today

College and university faculty understand this, Faughnan says. And the expanded Web resources are part of IBM's commitment to facilitate this skills development in colleges and universities, in conjunction with the company's existing collaboration with faculties.

But the nature of these skills and the role they play in the developing global economy mean that IT skills are no longer limited to IT professionals, but become an important, even essential, part of other business disciplines such as marketing, accounting, security and business process re-engineering. So IBM's outreach extends beyond computer science departments to include areas such as business.

Brandeis International Business School, part of Brandeis University in the US, is using IBM's 3-D video game, Innov8, unveiled last November, as a complementary tool for teaching business process management. In the game, a student becomes an outside consultant working with a company to re-engineer a business process in its call center, says Preeta Banerjee, assistant professor of strategy at the school.

It takes one to two hours to go through the scenario, and students write up and then talk over their impressions and reactions. As members of the Academic Initiative program, Banerjee and other faculty have taken students to IBM's Lexington campus to meet with employees whose job is re-designing business processes. IBM says about 100 institutions of all types and sizes are now using Innov8.

IBM has keyed many of the new student resources to emerging skills that are in high demand. Many of these are in Web services and Web application development, database, and open source programming.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Cox

Network World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?