Sunday, May 23, 2010

Time for an IT apprenticeship

A recent New York Times (NYT) article, Plan B: Skip College, examines whether a vocational alternative, like apprenticeships, needs to be offered to students for whom college is not a good fit. In it, author Jacques Steinberg says
A small but influential group of economists and educators is pushing another pathway: for some students, no college at all. It’s time, they say, to develop credible alternatives for students unlikely to be successful pursuing a higher degree, or who may not be ready to do so.

Regular readers of this blog know that I favor having many different paths to the skills, knowledge and competencies required of IT professionals (see 2+2+2 = Bachelor of Applied Science), so I won't bore you with my understanding of the article.  You can read it for yourself, along with some interesting commentary here.

Instead, I want to get a sense from local IT managers if there is a place for something like an apprenticeship for IT staff and if there are openings available to those with less than a bachelors degree.  Specifically, I am focusing on corporate/government IT, not high-tech companies of the Microsoft variety.  These are positions like help desk, email administrator and programmer at banks, retailers and insurance companies.  I ask, because I know a lot of the jobs out there seem to carry educational requirements that leave many capable people out of the running. There's not much value in an apprenticeship if you won't hire the participants after they complete the program.

So I have a few question for all you IT leaders out there:
  1.  Do you have or would you be willing to add an entry level IT position in your organization whose educational requirements would be fulfilled by vocational education at the high school or community college level?  What types of position would that be (help desk, email administration, business analyst)?
  2. Are there any IT certifications in particular that you would consider as replacing education requirements in your hiring consideration?
  3. Would you be willing to be part of an apprenticeship program, some sort of public/private partnership to ensure training and work opportunities?

@advisorybored: Advisory Bored on Twitter

Well I finally did it, I officially launched the Advisory Bored Twitter feed, @advisorybored.  I've been using Twitter myself for a couple of years now and really enjoy the interaction that takes place there (your mileage may vary).  When I started the Advisory Bored blog I also snapped up an email account and Twitter account under the same - it's a branding thing. I haven't been ready to leap into the extra maintenance, but with continued enhancement to my Twitter application of choice, TweetDeck, I feel like I can branch out now.

So, if you are a Twitter user yourself, please feel free to follow @advisorybored for links and updates on blog posts.  If you're not a user, then you will find a list of my 5 most recent tweets here at the blog in the right-hand column. 

Sunday, May 2, 2010

EvCC adds more 4-year degrees

Did you catch the story about a new 4-year degree in nursing to be offered at the University Center at Everett Community College (EvCC)?  The Herald reports that the Governor signed the law that allocates $158,000 to enroll 25 students to earn a bachelor of science in nursing.  The program is offered in conjunction with the  University of Washington Bothell (UWB), which has a similar program at their campus.

This is the second new B.S. degree in as many months.  In March, Saint Martin's University announced a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering to be offered at the University Center.  That gives the University Center over 20 undergraduate and post-graduate degree programs.

Given the current budget situation in is hard to image that just two years ago we were debating the location for a proposed 4-year university campus here in Snaohomish County.  I was blogging against the idea at NoSnoU, characterizing the effort as a grab for construction dollars with little consideration for education.  In the end, neither of the two competing sites would give up and we ended with nothing - which suits me fine.  These additions to the University Center prove that we can expand the education opportunities in the county without lots of physical infrastructure.