Y. Atif, K. Shuaib, H. Harmain, Z. Trabelsi

United Arab Emirates University (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES)
The World has witnessed a significant growth in the acquisition and implementation of information technology systems and infrastructure. This particularly applies to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which increasing focus on IT is witnessed by special office parks of major IT companies such as Internet City in Dubai. The UAE is a regional center for many major high-tech firms, including Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco and Hewlett Packard. Recently, the UAE’s investment in AMD (Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.) and Global Foundries is giving a further boost to the country’s positioning in the IT industry. This major investment also increases UAE’s worldwide options in provisioning information technology. As a result, there is an increasing need for IT specialists equipped with a big-picture of IT in terms of managerial perspective, as well as those with significant competencies in specific sub-disciplines of IT. These specialists are needed to contribute to, lead, and manage an emerging IT industry and major infrastructure projects across evolving IT domains. The Faculty of Information Technology (FIT) at UAE University developed a set of Master programs that directly address these needs. An initial study revealed five areas of relevant IT specialization threads, which are connected by a common core of IT knowledge.

The programs are designed to impart knowledge and develop the skills needed to meet current and future information technology needs of government and corporate organizations, as well as preparing students for Ph.D. degree programs in IT and related areas. Advanced software, computer technology and telecommunications make possible real-time global communications, inter-networking, the Internet and the World Wide Web. The availability of these technologies enables many pervasive applications in areas ranging from e-business to e-government to social networking. The information technology industry professional must be able to improve business value through effective utilization of information technology infrastructure and solutions. This requires the information technology manager to possess managerial skills and the information technology core knowledge to lead advanced IT professionals in specialized IT domains.

In this paper, we present a postgraduate curriculum model experience in the vibrant and dynamic IT field to respond to local industry and government demands. While undergraduate Information Technology curriculum has been standardized globally, postgraduate programs are based on the demand for specific professionals in the area where the degree is offered. Within the UAE, we have designed the curriculum to respond to the following goals: (1) Identify and correctly use techniques and tools necessary for problems or projects in a specialized area of information technology practice; (2) Apply project management skills and leadership theories to enterprise IT architectures; (3) Manage and effectively lead an IT environment formed by information or technology teams and characterized by demands for novel IT solutions; (4) Comply with international IT standards and local regulatory policies; (5) Communicate IT issues at a high level with clients and managing partners as well as in-depth IT issues with business operational counterparts.