Preparing Undergraduate Students for IT Certification

Akram Al-Rawi, Faouzi Bouslama, Azzedine Lansari
InSITE 2006  •  Volume 6  •  2006
Current demand for Information System (IS) graduates requires that they master specific technical skills needed by industry and government institutions. Revising the IS curriculum to keep it up to date while meeting demands of the Information Technology (IT) labor market continues to be a challenging task. In order to graduate students that are competitive, post-secondary educational institutions must adopt a new methodology where IT certification is an integral part of the IS curriculum. The IEEE and ACM recognize the importance of IT certification and provide its members with over 800 online courses that lead to various IT certificates. The selection of the appropriate IT certificate for integration into the IS curriculum is a complex task as it entails a thorough knowledge of the curriculum and the certificate objectives. The goal of this paper is to propose a selection of IT certificates which can be readily integrated into the IS curriculum. Three potential certification tracks for the purpose of this study are identified: Networking, Programming, and IT hardware and software. A list of vendors and non-vendors IT certificates and their exam requirements is developed, and the IS courses which can lead to the listed IT certificates are identified. This identification is based on matching specific course objectives with the IT certificate and the timeline needed for the certificate completion. The selection of the IT certificates for each track is optimized to facilitate both student learning and the completion of the certificate. Integrating IT certification in computing curricula makes IS programs more attractive to students. Moreover, the acquisition of IT certification is a valued asset for graduates seeking employment or advancement in the computing field.
Information Systems, IT certifications, Curriculum design, IS courses.
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