New masters course seeks to fill IT training gap


New masters course seeks to fill IT training gap

Rebecca Thomson

A new MA, developed in conjunction with employers, and which organisers hope will fill the training gap left by years of IT outsourcing, will be launched in September.

The IT sector skills council E-skills argues there is a gap to fill in the IT career ladder because so many lower-level jobs have been outsourced to countries such as India and China. E-skills hopes the MA will provide the skills these jobs used to.

Chief executive, Karen Price, said, "We have lost the first two rungs of the career ladder. This MA is a collective effort by employers to address that initial development of people.

"Outsourcing means the focus in the UK is at the higher end. But the difficulty is if the core programming is all in India, how do you get the core development skills?"

A number of IT and telecoms employers have been involved in developing the degree, which will start running in September but has not yet been named. It will consist of 12 modules, taking around two years to complete on a part-time basis, and some training already being undertaken by employers may be accredited to count towards a module if the right skills are being covered. The price of six modules will be around £7,000.

BT is one company planning to place students on the course. Director of education, Pat Hughes, said he expects the course to be beneficial for new employees.

"It is adding the wider business skills, the kind of thing undergraduates tend not to get in their undergraduate programme. It is a way of accelerating people through to a higher level of professional competence."

Price said she hopes the new degree will both meet a need for better organised lower-level training, and stimulate interest among undergraduates in an IT career.

"I am hoping it will improve the attractiveness of an IT career. Young people look towards some of the more structured professions, and I am hoping this will establish more structure."

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