New RMIT degree boosts IT enrolment figures

Enrolments in RMIT's Information Technology program are double last year's figures and counting, thanks to its newly revised Bachelor of Applied Science degree.

The new degree has been planned since late last year to reflect industry demand for IT graduates who are also well-versed in the particular business sectors that they will be serving.

In addition to their computing subjects, students of the program are required to choose a minor specialisation from areas outside of IT, including accounting, economics and management.

"There is a trend in demand in the IT area, in terms of students always getting into some part of the applications area," said Heiko Schroeder, head of RMIT's School of Computer Science and Information Technology. "This is really a market demand that we are catering to, and we expect other universities to be following us too."

The new, three-year degree is expected to increase graduates' employment prospects by providing them with a basic understanding of relevant business applications, such as banking processes and medical applications.

In addition to the business streams, RMIT is also offering a minor program in communications, which aims to equip students with the soft skills required for dealing with other cultures and outsourcing.

"Often, people studying IT are 'nerds' and don't interact well with others," Schroeder laughed. "But IT is basically a communication tool."

RMIT's new program was designed in collaboration with its active industry advisory committee, whose members include representatives from IBM, Microsoft, Telstra, Infosys and ANZ.

The school has expressed satisfaction with how this year's student recruitment has gone. However, the concern remains that universities are still not producing enough graduates to meet industry's rapidly growing demand.

"We have had a significant increase in students, but it's [the course is] not marketed very well yet," Schroeder said. "We expect future years will be even better."

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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