Industry body forming to address IT graduate skills

Industry body forming to address IT graduate skills

A global alliance to help IT graduates gear up for the workforce is in the pipeline

A pilot group within the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is months away from creating a global IT education-focused body to address the needs of the industry.

The Open Web Education Alliance (OWEA), which is due to be launched early 2010, will be dedicated to promoting the best ways in which Web professionals and IT graduates can gear themselves up for the workforce.

OWEA co-chair John Allsopp, said there is concern among people in the industry around the world that educational institutions are not addressing all the relevant skills potential Web designers, Web developers and other Web professionals need.

“Even if they study things that are relevant to their role in the industry, what they’ve learnt is very little to do with the reality of the Web,” Allsopp said. “Most of the very experienced Web practitioners, no matter what their background, are largely self-taught because the industry is so rapidly evolving.”

With a dozen international Web professionals on board, and backing from industry giants like Microsoft, Adobe and Opera Software, the alliance is ready to deliver a whitepaper to the W3C, outlining its operational plans.

“The goal is to create a sustainable organisation to promote best practices in education for Web professionals, working to both develop curricula itself and promote this within universities, colleges, private education providers and inside large organisations,” Allsopp said.

“There’s a strong belief within the industry that something like this is really needed and we are currently investigating different models of sustainability for the organisation.”

Key members of the alliance will be speaking at an event called ‘We Rock’ during Australian Web Week, a conference for Web professionals which starts in Sydney on Friday.

Allsopp said Leslie Jensen-Inman, an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee and a speaker at the event, wanted a way to make Web education exciting, and get people enthusiastic about it.

“The evening is for anybody who’s got an interest in career and professional development for that next generation of Web professionals.”

We Rock takes place Tuesday October 6th from 6:30pm at the Watershed Hotel, Darling Harbour.

Other speakers include Doug Schepers from the W3C and Chris Mills from Opera Software’s Web Standards Curriculum Project.

What should we be looking for in our IT graduates? Email Computerworld or follow @computerworldau on Twitter and let us know what you think.

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