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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION PLANNING - INDEPENDENT INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION (SOUTH AFRICA)

C. Hull, M. van der Walt, E. Steinhobel

The Independent Institute of Education (SOUTH AFRICA)
This article maps each top Information Technology (IT) trend in 2013 as well as the most popular certifications, to determine the relevant knowledge domain needs for IT education. This process ensures that tertiary level educational entities do not limit the IT students’ future career by offering outdated or irrelevant IT courses.

Given that IT is the fastest changing education domain, how are relevant curriculum requirements determined? While one may refer to the top IT trends, these do not easily map to IT education domains.

For example, an important IT trend according to Gartner is “Strategic Big Data”. Does that mean we should include Data Warehousing, which represents this Big Data, in our curricula? A more complete answer emerges by examining the top IT certifications which include Microsoft SQL Server 2012. Database certification in Data Warehousing, includes Data Mining, Parallel Processing and Database Partitioning. These topics demonstrate the relevant knowledge domains for “Strategic Big Data”. They may fit best in the last year of IT database curriculum, after the student has mastered Transaction Structured Query Language (T-SQL) and Database Administration in the first two years, or an Advanced .Diploma in Data Warehousing at the post-graduate level.

The top IT trends as identified by Gartner include: Mobile Device Battles, Mobile Applications & HTML 5, Personal Cloud, Internet of Things, Hybrid IT and Cloud Computing, Strategic Big Data, Actionable Analytics, Extreme low-energy Servers, Mainstream In-memory Computing, Integrated Ecosystems, Enterprise App Stores.

The top IT certifications as identified by Tech Republic include: MCSA (Microsoft Certification Solution Associate), including MCSA certifications for Windows 2012 Server, SQL Server 2012, Windows 8 and SharePoint 2013; MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) Private Cloud; PMP (Project Management Professional); VCP (VMware Certified Professional); CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional).

This paper expands on these top IT Trends and explores the method of mapping the trend to the relevant content areas for IT curricula at the tertiary level, using top IT certifications to validate the proposed IT education domains. Sample course curricula will also be provided.