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Software and IT degree has close job market ‘fit’

New Software and IT degree has close job market ‘fit’

The importance of maintaining a close fit between tertiary qualifications, the job market needs of graduates and the expectations of employers underpinned Lincoln University’s decision to redevelop its applied computing degree.

From next year Lincoln University’s basic undergraduate computing degree will be the Bachelor of Software and Information Technology, (BS&IT). There will also be a Graduate Diploma with the same name.

The decision to change the degree came from a review of the Bachelor of Applied Computing and it has received the endorsement of the University’s Computing Industry Liaison Group, an informal industry sounding board that meets a couple of times a year.

Computing has been an area of study at Lincoln University for over 30 years and for about a third of that time the Industry Liaison Group has been in existence as a useful means of maintaining relevance and keeping in touch with market needs.

“A clearly named and defined qualification is regarded as very important by graduates seeking employment in today’s vast and diffuse job market,” says Dr Keith Unsworth, leader of Lincoln University’s Applied Computing Group.

“Information technology touches all areas of modern society and the need has never been greater for skilled people who can work with this technology whether designing a system, developing its software, managing its operation or providing training and support to its users.”

Australian research has shown that tertiary qualifications have the most influence when it comes to hiring IT candidates. Three-quarters of respondents in a survey rated a university degree as having a high to very high influence on their hiring decisions, with a bachelor’s degree in IT or a combined IT and business degree as the preferred qualifications.

“This is highly relevant to the New Zealand situation too,” says Dr Unsworth.

Topics included in Lincoln University’s new Bachelor of Software and Information Technology degree are - Software Engineering; Web Development; End User Computing; Information Systems; Computer Networks and Operating Systems.

Kevin Callaghan, Head of Development at Jade Corporation, a business with a long record of employing Lincoln graduates, says the name of the new degree clearly identifies what the course is about and businesses would certainly understand what it means.

The new degree provides an increased focus on software engineering and web technology. It also enables students to gain more usable skills by combining Software and Information technology with other areas of study including commerce, environmental management, science, maths and statistics, conservation and ecology and tourism.

An Information Technology/marketing mix is one that could appeal to employers in today’s world as the demand increases for graduates with more than one usable skill, says Dr Unsworth.

All of Lincoln University’s Software and IT programmes are endorsed by industry. Lincoln University’s Bachelor of Commerce and Marketing, with a major in Computing is an alternative for students who wish to graduate in commerce with a significant IT component. The E-Commerce major is another pathway worth considering.


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