What technology education needs to do

With student interest in IT on the decline and business needs for savvy technologists rising, the onus is on higher education to transform computer science education.

The IT industry will create one million new jobs by 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Given that scenario, are we doing enough to make a computer science degree relevant to future IT professionals, asks M. Brian Blake in today's CNET News perspective.

The number of students enrolling in the computer science field continues to decline. The drop has been attributed to "...the misconceptions about offshoring and outsourcing, not to mention the well-publicized dot-com days. Some may even point to the stereotypical computer science nerd with taped glasses and a pocket protector as a reason to avoid a technology career," said Blake.

It seems that computer science suffers from some bad public relations. According to Blake, the opportunities for an IT professional who understands how to merge business needs with technology should be limitless.

"For example, consider the requirements of a company that is competing in a global economy and aims to expand operations overseas. A company of this ilk demands a technology system that is designed to support the import and export of goods around the world. This system must take into account border regulations, currency conversions and language variances among myriad other business requirements.

Blake suggests that computer science curricula go beyond the traditional engineering courses and into business training. Classrooms should focus on real-world business and technology issues instead of just memorizing programming languages. This means that professors have to stay current on an industry that is in constant flux.

"To ensure the next generation's success, professors, students, and IT and business executives must work in concert to expand the education of today's students by teaching critical business skills that will complement traditional computer science training."

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