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More IT Pros Getting Schooled

Professional-level information technology expertise is alive, well and increasingly fortified by the weight that formalized post-secondary education has to lend to the enterprise.

So says the Computing Research Association in its recently published survey of the academically sanctioned IT landscape. This association of more than 200 North American IT-related academic departments, laboratories and government bodies has put together an annual assessment of the intersection of IT and academe, and the results herald a positive near future for this thriving industry — at least so far as the academically prepared participants in it are concerned.

The last year has witnessed increases in the number of undergraduates pursuing post-secondary education in the IT field, says the study, along with continued or increased counts of students in graduate-school IT programs.

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Some highlights of the 2010-2011 CRA Taulbee Survey, “Computing Degree and Enrollment Trends,” include:

• Overall enrollment in undergraduate computer science programs at participating schools — including the University of Toronto, Concordia, UBC, Waterloo and Western — rose by 11.5 percent per department in the 2011-12 school year compared to the prior year. It’s the fourth consecutive year during which the computer science department’s ranks have grown.

• The total Masters degree production in computing programs increased by 6.2 percent, this year over last.

• The number of new PhD students in Canadian computer science programs increased by 17.4 percent, this year over last. Overall PhD production in computing programs held steady in 2010-11, with 1,782 degrees granted.

• Anecdotal reports suggest that enrollment growth in IT-related university programming would be even greater were it not for the caps in place — in the form of faculty of infrastructure limitations — at the degree-granting institutions.

Such a steady surge of IT excellence being loosed upon the world can only portend positive things for organizations with mounting technology staffing requirements.

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