Maps Out Strategy to Bridge Growing Skills Gap
ECPI University Dean of Computer and Information Science Dr. Keith Morneau was extended the privilege of presenting at this year’s Cengage Computing Experience at Microsoft Headquarters in Redmond, Washington. This annual event showcases new ways to engage computing students, get updates on Microsoft products, network with colleagues, and interact with thought leaders.
Dr. Morneau’s presentation focused on the growing skills gap within STEM-related fields. Within cybersecurity alone, he notes that Cybersecurity Ventures projects there will be 3.5 million job openings by 2021. Moreover, Deloitte estimates the manufacturing industry will find itself with 2.4 million unfilled positions by 2028.“This is the kind of firsthand knowledge that will help us modify our curriculum to adjust to the always-changing needs of employers, which, of course, greatly benefits our students.” ~Dr. Keith Morneau Click To Tweet
“In 2016, there were approximately 568,000 graduates in STEM fields in the United States,” says Dr. Morneau. “We in the education sector will not be able to graduate the number of professionals needed to bridge the gap without significant innovations in our approach. Currently, there is a misalignment between what many schools are teaching and the skills employers require. For too many years, colleges and universities have believed that it’s the employer’s job to train graduates. That mindset has been shifting, but slowly.”
In fact, Dr. Morneau cites the American Society of Engineering Education which states on their website under “history” that professors stressed that engineering curricula should emphasize fundamental scientific and mathematical principles, not hands-on apprenticeship experiences. Unfortunately, he says many in academia have not yet shifted to a more current approach. “Science is the exploration of the new and research focused. Technology is the application of science in organizations. Yes, we need scientists, but we also need technologists.”“Science is the exploration of the new and research focused. Technology is the application of science in organizations. Yes, we need scientists, but we also need technologists.” Click To Tweet
Dr. Morneau says the solution lies in fostering a stronger relationship with industry, creating more opportunities for interaction between students and professionals, as well as developing opportunities for students to earn professional certifications while attending school, much like ECPI University does through its voucher program which makes attaining those certifications more affordable to students on a limited budget.
In addition to his presentation, Dr. Morneau was invited to tour Microsoft’s Security Operations Center. “It showed me how artificial intelligence and automation is evolving to radically enhance and aid the efforts of cybersecurity professionals to protect and defend networks,” he says. “This is the kind of firsthand knowledge that will help us modify our curriculum to adjust to the always-changing needs of employers, which, of course, greatly benefits our students.”
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