An IT Education

Today I completed my third day at University of Texas at Tyler. I am studying Computer Information Systems and have 2 years of classes to complete the degree requirements. Many IT professionals have opinions about the direction that IT education is going most from the perspective of an employer or IT manager. That's important but there is also the perspective of the student that may need to be considered. Or even the instructors in a computer science department. That's what I am going to try to log. Whereas most students are in their early 20's and are going to get their degrees I am an older student with a perspective that may be a little more practical that looks at workplace opportunities and needs. Instead of looking at the value of having some letters behind my name when I'm looking for a job I wonder how my education is going to help me perform in my field. What am I missing and what am I looking forward to? Similarly what does the university and credentialing organization think I need to know to earn a B.S. and the right to be called an IT professional?

I come to class with a 20+ year background in personal computer experience and study based on need and availability. I know a number of languages lots of applications and much of the basics behind computer building and maintenance. What I would like to learn is everything there is to know about networking and security. I'm not criticizing the value of an IT education at least not yet but I do have questions.

An answer to one of those questions came from an instructor yesterday when he described the experience level of a group of IT professionals. His assurance to us as a class was that we would be learning more than most systems analysts working today or something to that effect. Paraphrasing he also said that most IT professionals don't have 10 years experience but 6 months experience repeated about 20 times. Many pros live and work in a narrow swath of the industry but we would be learning new things every day we study participate and evaluate our abilities.

That prompts another question. So what's more important experience or education? My answer to that must begin with "It depends." A person's professional value must combine education (formal or not) and experience with performance and take into consideration the scope of both education and experience. You can learn from both and it is that applied knowledge that makes an IT professional valuable.

But then what applied knowledge is valuable in this field? That's what I'll be finding out.

No feedback yet
Leave a comment

You must be a member of this blog to comment. Log in now!

If you have no account yet, you can register now...
(It only takes a few seconds!)