[FoRK] [dave@farber.net: [IP] IBM, colleges: More top students needed]

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Fri May 20 06:52:17 PDT 2005


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From: David Farber <dave at farber.net>
Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 09:42:20 -0400
To: Ip <ip at v2.listbox.com>
Subject: [IP] IBM, colleges: More top students needed
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IBM, colleges: More top students needed

By Mindy B. Hagen, The Herald-Sun
May 17, 2005   9:03 pm
DURHAM -- With a critical shortage of Information Technology workers  
projected in the coming years, it's crucial that university computer  
science departments do all they can to attract top students to the  
field, a local IBM official said Tuesday.

At IBM University Day in Research Triangle Park on Tuesday, leading  
IBM officials and university professors from across the region  
gathered to discuss new ways of marketing computer careers to up-and- 
coming students.

In addition to hearing about the work being done at individual  
university departments, the event provided a chance for small groups  
of IBM developers and faculty to meet and discuss future research  
projects and allowed graduate students a chance to touch base with a  
potential future employer.

Gina Poole, vice president of IBM's Academic Initiative, told about  
120 university educators that an additional 2.2 million people will  
be needed in information technology-related professions by 2010.

"A lot of today's students will be filling those needs," Poole said.  
"The demand is building up, but the supply isn't building up fast  
enough."

University educators said they are planning numerous changes to their  
computer science departments to help allow a wider group of students  
to take their courses. At N.C State University, the computer science  
and electrical engineering departments are seeing increasing numbers  
of students opting for double majors in both fields. The computer  
science department there hopes to "re-package" its existing degrees  
while developing new courses and working with IBM to mold a  
curriculum that strongly emphasizes "services solutions."

Duke professor Owen Astrachan said his department wants to pay  
attention to "untapped" interdisciplinary alliances. Duke economic  
students, or business students, could benefit from taking computer  
science courses, Astrachan said.

"The slope shows an unbelievable decline in computer science majors,"  
Astrachan said. "There are smart people no longer even signing up to  
take our introductory courses. We need to fix it, or there's not  
going to be a U.S. work force in computer sciences."

And that's the exact problem IBM is trying to avoid by partnering  
with universities through the Academic Initiative. IBM has  
contributed more than $30 million in the last 15 years to  
universities across the state, supporting the schools' research  
grants, equipment and software. The software and IT services giant  
hopes its partnership with universities can lead to shared research  
projects and allow experts to provide skills training and education  
resources to students.

But IBM also hopes it receives a leg up in recruiting the best and  
brightest when graduation day approaches. Pierre Mouallem, a doctoral  
candidate at N.C. State, said he's indebted to the IBM professionals  
who have spent time teaching his classmates "on-demand" business  
strategies and providing funds for his university's computer science  
department.

"You look at the size of this company, and it's one of the big  
leaders in its market," Mouallem said. "They do a lot to help  
students get a chance to work with them. It's really promising."

Sue Horn, vice president of the IBM software group, said her  
company's relationship with local universities would only continue to  
grow.

"Our collaboration with universities sincerely is a very important  
thing for us that we want to cultivate," Horn said. "A day like this  
is paramount, but it's only the culmination of what we do all year  
long."



URL for this article: http://www.herald-sun.com/business/21-608287.html

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