IBM has announced it is helping to prepare the next generation of business and IT experts at no charge with online resources designed to educate students about hot technologies. Six offerings are now available, providing students access to tutorials, forums, games and other resources, and helping them develop marketable skills in hot job areas such as enterprise computing, Web 2.0 programming and database management.
Additionally, through the Student Portal on the IBM Academic Initiative Web site, students can access a three-step tutorial on Service Science Management and Engineering (SSME), a new academic discipline that brings together ongoing work in the fields of science, engineering, and business management, combined with the study of social and legal sciences. The SSME resources prepare students to take advantage of a growing field of "hybrid" technology jobs that require multi-disciplinary backgrounds, such as environmental engineering, information analysis and urban architect planning.
Companies today are increasingly going global and looking for employees that offer deep technical knowledge and a broad understanding of business dynamics to help them expand into new markets. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that more than 4.6 million jobs will be created in the services sector between 2004 and 2014, and IT will continue to be one of the fastest growing sectors. In addition, new global employment opportunities are expected to emerge based on the demand for integrated business and technology skills.
Universities such as Brandeis in Waltham, Mass. have focused their efforts to help students use open standards technologies to address real world challenges such as resource planning and carbon output. One tool used at Brandeis is Innov8, an educational video game developed by IBM that teaches students to apply technologies and business strategies to make companies more efficient and increase customer satisfaction. More than 100 colleges and universities have already incorporated the game into their curricula and thousands more can download the game from the IBM Academic Initiative Web site at no charge.
"Our relationship with IBM is critical to bridging the gap between IT and business skills," said Preeta Banerjee, assistant professor of strategy at Brandeis International Business School. "Through the IBM Academic Initiative, we are able to harness valuable resources in the classroom, such as Innov8, a video game that is representative of what a career at IBM might entail."
"Colleges and universities worldwide are being challenged to develop a curriculum that offers students a practical combination of business and technical skills to meet industry demands," said Kevin Faughnan, director of IBM's Academic Initiative. "This is why we're making available the largest collection of learning resources specifically on the key skill areas our customers are looking for. We anticipate that thousands of students this year alone will take the opportunity to become technically proficient on leading-edge technologies and increase their skills portfolio."
IBM customer MIB is moving toward a Services-Oriented Architecture extended with Web 2.0 to better serve its 500 member life and health insurance companies. Therefore, it is looking to attract emerging talent in Massachusetts who can continue development of Web 2.0 capabilities and Rich Internet Applications to assure secure data exchanges.
"IBM is demonstrating leadership by providing supplemental Web 2.0 learning resources where students play -- the Internet. At the same time, by working closely with universities to deliver those relevant skills, we're confident we'll have the talent pool we need to succeed," said Alexander Klevitsky, director of architecture and enterprise software for MIB. The following no-charge resources are now available:
To prepare students with skills in the services sector, universities will need a multi-disciplinary curriculum that covers the study of people, business and technology in service systems. The SSME tutorial includes resources for discussion and interaction through the use of case studies. Contrasts between the manufacturing and service sector issues are raised to understand differences in supply chain, information systems and operations practices.
Designed for students interested in open standards-based relational database management systems, the DB2 Express-C student offering includes an introduction to the technology, free download of the software, access to a support forum, games and hands-on tutorials for enhanced learning, as well as publications and prep materials for certification exams.
Situational Applications and Web 2.0
WebSphere sMash is an agile development environment optimized for producing rich REST-style services, integration, mashups and user-friendly Web interfaces through scripting runtimes such as Groovy and PHP. This student offering includes an introduction to the technology and free software download, hands-on tutorials and other resources for learning, and access to the development community (located at ProjectZero.org) which delivers frequent builds, latest features, and developer's forums.
Web Server Technology
WebSphere Application Server Community Edition (WAS CE) is a lightweight Java EE 5 application server based on the open source technology delivered in Apache Geronimo. It harnesses the latest developments from the open source community and provides a readily accessible and flexible foundation for Java application development. Students can now "kick-start" their Java applications with this leading-edge technology with an offering that includes an introduction to WAS CE, free download of the software, quick-start and user guides, access to Eclipse updates to WAS CE, and rich articles and tutorials demonstrating hands-on use of the technology.
Jazz is IBM's new platform for collaborative software delivery that is transforming how people work together to deliver software and embedded systems. Students can use the Jazz platform via free download of the Rational Team Concert software, access to the Jazz community and a wealth of learning resources.
The Enterprise Systems student offering will provide students with an introduction to the mainframe and large systems-related careers focused around the New Enterprise Data Center, IBM's best practices model for virtualization, green IT, service management and cloud computing. Access to mainframe-focused games in Second Life, instructions on how to gain remote access to a live mainframe hub, and experience labs and exercises based on components of IBM's "Master the Mainframe" contest from prior years are also available on the site.
Skills Certification and Job Opportunity Database
Professors who are IBM Academic Initiative members can request 50 percent discounts on certification exams from IBM for their students. Nearly 50 tests are available on many of IBM's software and hardware brands. Students who pass the certification exam can post their resumes to the Student Opportunity System database, which is searchable by IBM customers and business partners around the world--a multi-billion dollar job ecosystem.
Mike Blakie, who recently completed a major in Business Administration and a minor in IT at the University of Massachusetts, is looking toward a part-time MBA program as well as opportunities to better understand where he can apply his existing mainframe and large enterprise skills knowledge and enhance his skills to tackle global business challenges that data centers are facing today.
"As a recent graduate I want to know what kind of skills businesses are looking for. With the new resources now available through IBM, I can better understand where to focus my attention -- as well as supplement my MBA program with additional online learning opportunities. This will be a huge advantage in helping me charter my career path."
All of these student offerings will be available through the IBM Academic Initiative's Student Software Catalog is accessible via IBM Student Portal at http://www-304.ibm.com/jct09002c/university/students/.