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10 Academic Solutions for IT Talent Shortage

The solution to the chronic lack of IT talent in systems specific applications, big data, soft skills, and business analysis is to farm it from academia. In an article for TechRepublic, Mary Shacklett discusses the effectiveness of home-growing your workforce when chasing it just isn’t working.

Tips from the Skills Farm

  1. Project Sourcing
  2. Curriculum Development
  3. Placement Services
  4. Internships and Field Work
  5. Job Market Needs
  6. Technology Donations
  7. Board and Committee Placement
  8. Collaborative Projects
  9. Guest Lectures / Workshops
  10. Continuing Education

Old McIT had a farm, C-I-C-I-O, and on his farm he had some project sourcing. A great way to give college attendees their first real IT experience is to, well, give them an IT project. This enhances your businesses relationship with students and the university. One sign of a good university partner is their willingness to hire former industry professionals to specific teaching positions. There are plenty of courses that necessitate a strong theoretical underpinning. However, in terms of farming talent, students will need practical learning that aligns with the latest industry trends.

If collaboration is strong between a university and the business, that business gets first pick of outgoing talent through student placement services. The same logic applies to internships and fieldwork, often offered through course credit in the final semesters of a student’s program. In truth, universities are eager to partner with businesses, as this gives them insight into what curricula to offer, and makes their placement numbers look good.

Moving beyond collaboration to donation, any equipment offered to universities allows students to “train up” before the hiring process. Getting further into the relationship, it’s also advantageous to place your finest collaborators into the ranks of the university board and committee. And, while you’re at it, remember that guest lecturers are hard sought after and much appreciated. Fill a large auditorium and you’ll be leaving a real impression for future graduates.

In the end, this relationship is about giving as much as it is about taking. Do you know any employees or coworkers who need to “brush up” on a particular skill, who could benefit from some night classes or seminars? Send ‘em to the farm!

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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