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The roadmap from classroom to boardroom for IT professionals

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I must take my square cap off (the correct name for a mortar board) to The Open University, for the way that they have addressed the oft heard complaint of employers in the IT industry that Computing Science and IT graduates leave university without the skills employers need.

Some years ago the problem became so accute that the sector skills council for IT (eSkills UK) worked with employers and academia to develop a hybrid IT Business Management Degree, now offered by a significant number of UK universities. However laudable that initiative was, it didn't fully address the need to align academia far more closely with the needs of UK Plc.

The Open University made a bold move an decided to map all of their undergraduate IT and Computing Science modules (the OU's approach to education delivery is modular by nature), with the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA). The SFIA model is used by many large and medium sized employers in public and private sector around the globe as the roadmap for skills development from graduate hire all the way to Chief Information Officer level.

By mapping each IT / Computing Science undergraduate level module to SFIA, the OU gives graduates a distinct advantage in that their qualifications have immediate relevance and understanding to employers, increasing the chance that the prospective employee will be competent in their job role as an IT professional.

Other universities have followed suit, but The OU deserve credit for forging ahead with SFIA and tackling the complaints of the IT industry head on.

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