A Dynamic Structural Model of Education and Skills Requirements for Careers in Information Systems: Perspectives Across Gender and Time
Glenn R. Lowry (United Arab Emirates University, UAE), Rodney L. Turner (Victoria University, Australia) and Julie Fisher (Monash University, Australia)
Copyright: © 2007
This chapter presents a dynamic structural model of the relative contribution and importance of education and skills required of information systems (IS) professionals. Model development took into account the technical skills found in many tertiary IS programs, other business-oriented academic studies, and soft skills sought by employers in new graduates. The model also includes features of the working environment which influence the career progress of IS graduates. Acknowledging the importance of these four areas, the authors present a second-order structural model that links these areas and compares the application of this model to IS students and decision makers who employ graduates. The model fits the data for the two groups and exhibits some unexpected outcomes in the area of soft skills, with students attributing more importance to soft skills than IS managers. The model was employed to identify gender differences in perceptions of the relative contribution and importance of education and skills required of IS professionals. The model also includes features of the working environment which influence the career progress of IS graduates. The model was used to describe how attitudes and perceptions of IS professionals change across career stages as measured by age groupings. Changes in perceptions across four major age groupings show significant differences with respect to these factors according to age groups and by inference, career stage. The model allows, with some confidence, a quantitative interpretation of the relative importance of the respective variables from the perspectives of the student and employer stakeholder groups toward the education and professional development of IS professionals. The model also suggests the presence of contrasting, gender-based quantitative views of the relative importance of the respective variables to the education and professional development of IS professionals.