This article features CIS Professor Wendy Lucas and is republished from the Bentley Grad School of Business website.
4 IT Trends You Need To Know
Written by Meg Murphy.
The big trends in information technology (IT) influence cultures and careers. If you’re preparing to enter the IT industry, you have to keep up.
And you need an IT program that will make sure you do.
“We know that keeping curriculum on track is a continual process,” says Wendy Lucas, professor of Computer Information Systems at Bentley University and director of the Master of Information Technology (MSIT) degree program.
Bentley’s MSIT faculty periodically invite executives, including alumni and other hiring managers, to share what they look for in an IT program and its graduates, says Professor Lucas. Their recent perspective was key in guiding a one-year review process of the program, during which the curriculum was measured against trends in the industry.
What was the takeaway?
The MSIT program is successfully producing “true IT professionals” who have the requisite knowledge and skills for meeting the challenges of a continually evolving digital economy. The program integrates information systems knowledge with a strong understanding of the global business environment. To maintain its relevancy, the program is frequently updated in light of the ever-changing IT landscape.
If you want to succeed as an IT professional, you need to keep up as well! Here are four IT trends to keep in mind:
Trade Tech Talk for Real Communication
“One of the major takeaways from the recent focus group was the importance of developing strong communication skills in our students,” shared Professor Lucas. “We heard this time and again. The industry is looking for people who can translate technical content into something the target audience, including people from all levels within the organization, can understand.”
IT professionals must be able to explain what they are doing and why it matters. Being persuasive counts. Critical to your success will be the ability to explain complex concepts to people with non-technical backgrounds. You need to make them understand how you will be able to address their business problems with IT solutions.
How the MSIT Program Is Responding: Many of our core and elective courses now have group projects. Students learn how to work in teams by taking on different roles (leader, team player, etc.). They must “sell” their solutions in presentations to the faculty and other students.
Emphasize Security at Every Turn
Security is huge. It must be a core concept in the study of technology, infrastructure and information systems.
How the MSIT Program Is Responding: “We’re emphasizing security across the curriculum,” shared Professor Lucas. We’ve introduced an experimental elective called Network and Systems Security that provides a technical focus on information, computer and network security. We’ve also enhanced the technical and managerial security components in courses on enterprise architecture, cloud computing infrastructure, business intelligence, mobile and web app development, etc.
Master the Latest Forms of Project Management
Everyone wants to do agile project management, but few are doing it well. Companies need people who understand how to work in and lead agile project teams.
This popular practice focuses on aligning a project and team vision, delivering results in increments, and working in small and integrated teams that reflect, learn and adapt to change.
How the MSIT Program Is Responding: Our IT project management and systems analysis and design courses, both part of our core curriculum, teach the agile approach. Students in these courses and in an upper-level development elective work in agile teams (or scrums) and learn how to effectively manage agile development.
Gain Hands-On Experience with Leading Tools and Technologies
The IT industry needs managers who “get it.” Businesses want solution-providers who understand what goes into the development process.
“To truly gain that deep understanding, you need hands-on experience with current tools and technologies,” said Professor Lucas. “Our alumni agree that this enhances their credibility in the field and makes them better managers.”
How the MSIT Program Is Responding: This degree offers a continued commitment to combining the knowledge of IT with a clear understanding of current business needs.
“We’re not a computer science program,” shared Professor Lucas. “We’re a bridge between the pure technologist/computer science side and the management side. We ensure that our students understand the demands of the business and the technologies that are available for addressing them.”
All students get hands-on experience with application development in Java and data management using SQL with Oracle. Both the IT project management and the systems analysis and design courses have implementation and integration components. Elective course offerings include hands-on experience with mobile and web app development, cloud computing, and business intelligence methods and technologies.
“When you graduate from the MSIT program,” said Professor Lucas, “you will be prepared to contribute to your employer from day one. Our goal is to produce graduates who can walk into any organization and tackle its business problems with IT solutions. We teach students how to discover what the issues are and provide them with the knowledge and skills needed for addressing them with IT.”