Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Make Sure College Prepares You for Your Career

Graduates, did your college education prepare you for the first job you started after graduation? Did the focus of your coursework match the focus of the field you work in? Were your homework assignments meant to be exercises in critical thought, or preparation for the real work you would do after graduating?

Maybe it was one way, the other, or a mixture of both. While I am a lover of learning in general and appreciate education of many kinds, I also feel excitement when I read about colleges that are making efforts to really align the education they offer with the practical work students will do when they graduate and enter the workforce.

In a field like IT, it’s crucial that colleges prepare their students to work with cutting-edge technologies—the technologies they will work with in their very near future. That means more work for the colleges who teach IT and regular training for the IT faculty to know what those cutting-edge technologies are and learning how to use them. Howard Rubin, professor emeritus of the City University of New York and president of Rubin Systems, Inc., was recently quoted in Computerworld. Rubin suggested “ ‘proactive refresh institutions’ that develop, adapt, and augment technology capabilities more quickly and frequently—and more in line with up-to-the-minute business needs—than what is offered through a traditional four-year approach.”

If colleges had a way to be so proactive as Rubin suggests, it would allow them to prepare their graduates to hit the ground running. One obvious way is through certification training. Industry organizations like CompTIA and (ISC)2 do the work of keeping their certifications up to date with the latest, most in-demand technologies and IT skills; training for those certifications allows students to learn those technologies and develop those skills.

How does your college or university keep up to date with the technologies it teaches so that students are prepared for the workforce when they graduate? Does your college train for certifications in IT?

Emily Howard, TestOut

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