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IBM Launches New Skills Programs to Help Students and Technology Professionals Prepare for Jobs of the Future

ARMONK, N.Y., Dec. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced an array of programs and resources to help students and IT professionals develop new technology skills and prepare for jobs of the future. The initiatives include new training courses and resources for IT professionals, technology and curriculum materials for educators and expanded programs to directly engage students with real-world business challenges.

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The new resources will help reduce a critical technology skills gap outlined in IBM's 2012 Tech Trends Report released today. The report, authored by the IBM Center for Applied Insights, found that only 1 in 10 organizations has the skills needed to effectively apply advanced technologies such as business analytics, mobile computing, cloud computing and social business. In addition, nearly half of the educators and students surveyed feel there is a major gap in their institution's ability to meet the growing demand for advanced technology skills.

To view an interactive graphic that illustrates key findings from the report visit: IBM.com/developerworks/techtrendsreport/fasttrack.

"Having a highly skilled workforce is critical to an organization's ability to innovate, meet client demands and grow," said Jim Corgel, general manager, academic and developer relations, IBM. "In response to the growing IT skill gap, IBM is expanding its skill development programs in key areas such as cyber security, mobile computing and commerce."

New Curriculum, Technology & Training for Faculty
In the U.S. alone, IT jobs are expected to grow by 22 percent through 2020 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. To help faculty better prepare students for these opportunities, IBM today unveiled the largest expansion of its Academic Initiative  since the program began.

For the first time, IBM will offer access to curriculum and training resources on IT security to help students gain market-ready cyber security skills.  Cited as the top barrier to adoption of advanced technologies in the IBM Tech Trends Report, cyber security is also a key job growth area. The information cyber security workforce is expected to nearly double by 2015.  The new cyber security offerings include:

  • Pre-Packaged curriculum that brings real-world technology security scenarios into the classroom, helping students understand enterprise challenges and do in depth analysis of the trends uncovered in the IBM X-Force report.
  • No-charge access to security software that professors can use in the classroom to teach students how to test applications for bugs and check network and virtualized servers for vulnerabilities. Professors and students can remotely access the newest zEnterprise mainframe, a highly secure system that can be used to prepare students for real-world computing challenges using enterprise IT skills.

The ability to bring the latest enterprise technology directly into the classroom at no additional cost is critical in building skills. In addition to cyber security, IBM now provides software licenses and how-to training materials in three new areas:

  • Big Data & Analytics: Now professors can bring big data software directly into the classroom with access to a variety of IBM big data offerings. E-Books and learning modules on Hadoop geared for business and computer science students are also available.
  • Commerce: Now professors can download digital marketing and analytics software from IBM's Smarter Commerce initiative for use in the classroom. Through a series of hands-on learning modules, students study topics like benchmarking and learn how to develop code to uncover online buying patterns. 
  • Mobile Computing: New hands-on learning modules on HTML 5 and DOJO prepare students to develop mobile applications. Professors can also download IBM mobile development software to give students hands-on experience.

To help faculty update their skills on advanced technologies, IBM today unveiled a Knowledge Exchange. This online resource allows professors from around the world to share and collaborate on courseware and best practices. The initial offerings in the Knowledge Exchange will feature curriculum from winning IBM Smarter Planet grant faculty members.

New Training Courses and Resources for IT Professionals
As more organizations turn to technology to solve tough business challenges, the need for skilled IT professionals continues to grow in all industries. For example, a recent report from TechAmerica outlines the need for government employees to sharpen their skills in the area of big data. In addition, the 2012 IBM Tech Trends report cites the lack of professionals with business analytics expertise as the number one barrier to adoption for that technology.

To make it easier for IT practitioners to stay current with rapidly evolving technologies, IBM is providing:

  • New, no-charge, learning materials, technical resources and online technical communities on mobile computing, cyber security and commerce technologies through IBM developerWorks. For example, in the new security section, developers can access examples of weaknesses in applications, learn about typical web attacks and collaborate with peers around best practices for responding to vulnerabilities.
  • New in-person training and certification for IBM Business Partners seeking to engage in Smarter Commerce and digital analytics that complement the new educational materials, installation guidelines and best practices resources on developerWorks.

New Programs to Engage Students

IBM is also working more closely with students to help them understand how advanced technologies like business analytics and security are critical for a variety of career paths such as business, marketing and science.

  • Virtual Career Event: In early 2013, the company will host IBM Career Exploration: Make a difference. The global virtual event will give current university students and recent graduates the opportunity to interact with IBM executives and leading experts, learn how to build and apply their expertise, further their networks and best position themselves in a highly competitive job market.
  • In-Class Challenges: IBM is expanding its work to bring real-world challenges into the classroom through activities like Watson Case Study Competitions, The Great Mind Challenge and special events like the Student Innovator Challenge recently held in Singapore where more than 100 students developed solutions to address Smarter Planet related challenges.
  • Job Board: Later in December, IBM's Power Systems Academic Initiative will launch a Power Skills Job Board, emphasizing entry-level opportunities for member school students with interest in IBM's Power Systems. 
  • Expanded Access to Higher Education Resources: IBM recently joined the National Coalition for Advanced Technology Centers, providing IBM's Power Systems Academic Initiative member schools access to a wider network of higher education resources, specifically those that advocate and promote the use of technology applications that enhance economic and workforce development programs and services.
  • Online competitions: In mainframe contests across the world, students gain hands-on experience with enterprise systems, tackling technical challenges that give them exposure to security, cloud and big data issues experienced by the world's largest companies. In 2012, over 13,000 students have registered to compete in 13 mainframe contests running across 25 countries.

IBM and academic experts have shared their views on the specific skills needed in cloud computing, business analytics, social business and mobile computing. To view the videos, visit the IBM Ecosystem YouTube channel.

The IBM Center for Applied Insights conducted the research and analysis for the 2012 Tech Trends Report.  The report is based on a survey of more than 1,900 IT and business professionals, students and professors from around the world.

To access the new resources for professors and academic institutions: https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/university/academicinitiative/

To access the new resources for developers: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/

To read the 2012 Tech Trends Report: www.ibm.com/developerworks/techtrendsreport


Melissa Turesky
IBM Software Group



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