On Wednesday evening, I had the great privilege of being invited to the University of Cincinnati to attend the basketball game against Notre Dame, in the President’s box at the arena. In attendance, in addition to the President himself, were various people from, or connected with, the IT (Information Technology) program at the University of Cincinnati.
The IT program covers a broad range of computer technology related fields, and has specializations in networking, databases, programming, and various other areas. Students are exposed to a wide variety of computing platforms, so that they don’t get into a job interview situation and have to admit that they only have training on Microsoft products. Or only Linux products, for that matter. A breadth of experience is pure gold in an interview situation.
Hazem Said, the new head of that department, was my kind host at the game, and we talked about a variety of ways that Open Source can feature in an IT curriculum. I’m really excited about the kinds of things that are in the future for this program. We talked about having students participate in healthy, mature Open Source projects as part of their training. This would give them experience not only in software programming, but also in project management, cross-cultural communication, customer support, and marketing, among other things.
When I was in college – which wasn’t so very long ago – there were some computer classes, which were mostly programming, but nothing that covered the real discipline of Information Technology in the way that I saw on Wednesday. It gives me a great deal of hope for the next generation of IT professionals that come of this program, and other programs like it around the world.
By the way, if you’re ever invited to a basketball game by the head of a University department, do a little research, and don’t wear a shirt with the other team’s color. (Really, it was an honest mistake!)