Staying Up to Date with Changes in IT

Staying Up to Date with Changes in IT

Tanya McGill
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch570
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Information and communications technology (ICT) has been changing rapidly over a long period and this rate of change is likely to continue or increase (Benamati & Lederer, 2001a; Lee & Xia, 2005). This rapid rate of change has produced many opportunities for organizations, but has also brought with it many challenges (Benamati & Lederer, 2001b). Among these challenges is the struggle for organizations to obtain personnel with the appropriate information technology (IT) knowledge and skills in order to meet their ICT needs (Byrd & Turner, 2001; Doke, 1999; Standbridge & Autrey, 2001). This is mirrored by the continual requirement for IT professionals to keep up to date with the skills required by organizations (Benamati et al., 2001a; Klobas & McGill, 1993; Moore, 2000). Previous research has investigated the importance employers place on various skills and perceived deficiencies in these skills (e.g., Doke, 1999; Leitheiser, 1992; Nelson, 1991; Prabhakar, Litecky, & Arnett, 2005). While the call for improved communication and social skills has been consistent, the technical skills in demand have varied dramatically over time (Prabhakar et al., 2005; Van Slyke, Kittner, & Cheney, 1998). Less has been written about students’ perceptions of the importance of various ICT skills, though this was addressed in a study that compared Australian and American students’ perceptions of ICT job skills (von Hellens, Van Slyke, & Kittner, 2000). This article provides an overview of a project that investigated the channels of information that ICT students use to keep up to date with employers’ needs.
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How Do Students Keep Up To Date?

Eighty-five information technology students at an Australian university were surveyed to investigate the channels of information that they use to keep up to date with employers’ needs. Participants were recruited during class and completed a questionnaire on the spot.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Information Gathering Strategies: The approaches and processes used by information seekers. Information seeking behavior is influenced by previous experience, mental models, and preferences of information seekers.

Information Technology Skills: All IT professionals require some computer skills; these may include particular programming languages, database, or networking skills.

Information Technology Professionals: A term used to describe people for whom development and support of IT systems and related activities is their primary employment. The group includes people who design hardware, who develop and support information systems and who train end users. It does not include people who use ICT in the course of pursuing other professions.

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