IT programs exist to produce graduates who possess the right combination of knowledge and practical, hands-on expertise to take care of both an organization’s information technology infrastructure and the people who use it. IT specialists assume responsibility for selecting hardware and software products appropriate for an organization, integrating those products with organizational needs and infrastructure, and installing, customizing, and maintaining those applications for the organization’s computer users. Examples of these responsibilities include the installation of networks; network administration and security; the design of web pages; the development of multimedia resources; the installation of communication components; the oversight of email systems; and the planning and management of the technology lifecycle by which an organization’s technology is maintained, upgraded, and replaced (Computing Curricula 2005, p. 14-15).
An information technology concentration will include organizational and social context, along with technical content and theory. This is a field in which there are external expectations; our guiding authorities for this document are Information Technology 2008 and Computing Curricula 2005. These joint efforts by The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), The Association for Information Systems (AIS), and The IEEE Computer Society (IEEE-CS) include the latest updates of curricular recommendations from the leading professional organizations in the computing fields.
Students should read Computing Curricula 2005 to understand how the various computing disciplines are related. Information technology, as a concentration, probably would not be the optimal choice for someone primarily interested in information and the use of information technology as an instrument for generating, processing and distributing information. For such individuals, a concentration in information systems would be more appropriate. On the other hand, students who are interested primarily in the abstract, theoretical concepts of computing would be better served by a concentration in computer science.
To be successful in the workplace, students must understand the role(s) of IT in organizations as well as develop good communication and interpersonal skills. In addition, quantitative skills are foundational for study in IT.
Students should show, through their degree program and their rationale, that they have both foundational knowledge and knowledge beyond the foundation in this area. Typically, at least some content in the information technology area will be at the advanced level.
professional, legal, and ethical context: Students must understand their social and professional responsibilities as computer professionals as well as the role(s) of IT in the organization. This might include a combination of social context of computing, professional and ethical responsibility, methods and tools of analysis of issues, risks and liabilities of computer-based systems, information security, intellectual property, privacy and civil liberties and history of computing.
Students must include theory, development, and the management of systems in their degree plans. This includes analysis and design, human computer interaction, information assurance, web systems and project management.
Information technologies and the environment in which they exist are always changing. Degree programs must demonstrate currency in the field and show understanding of emerging and evolving technologies and environment relevant to their individual context.
Currency can be viewed in two ways: on the one hand, currency refers to current technologies; on the other hand, currency can be seen as not-obsolete. If students want to use earlier learning in their programs they should consider several issues. These relate to how old, how specialized and how extensive is the earlier learning.
When earlier learning is judged to provide a useful foundation within the program, students should be sure to incorporate opportunities to bridge to newer platforms or applications within their degree programs.
Students should explicitly discuss in their rationale essay how each of the above topics is incorporated in their degree program, how the program is designed to meet their goals and how the program meets the currency criteria discussed above. It is not necessary that the specific terms used above appear in individual study titles.
Computing Curricula 2005: The Overview Report
Information Technology 2008: Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Degree Programs in Information Technology
Effective July 1, 2011