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  December 3, 2001

Engineering Launches New Minor to
Boost Information Technology Skills

The School of Engineering has launched a new minor in information technology, to be offered for the first time in the fall 2002 semester. The new program addresses a growing corporate demand for workers with strong information technology skills.

Information technology is the fastest growing pool of occupations in the nation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that between 1994 and 2005, the U.S. will require more than a million new IT workers in the three core IT areas - computer scientists and engineers, systems analysts, and computer programmers - to fill new jobs and replace departing workers.

A recent survey of mid- and large-size U.S. companies, conducted by the Information Technology Association of America, suggests there are currently approximately 190,000 unfilled IT jobs in the U.S., owing to a shortage of qualified workers. This deficit could have a critical effect on the nation's economic competitiveness, because today's industrial, high tech and technology sectors are so reliant on the integration of IT professionals into their organizations.

The survey also shows that half of all IT jobs are in the two positions that exist in almost every organization - technical support and network administration. IT workers are also employed, for example, in positions involving internal troubleshooting; facilitation/customer service; hardware/software installation; configuration upgrades; and systems operation, monitoring, maintenance.

The minor in information technology is available to non-computer engineering majors, particularly in traditional engineering programs, such as mechanical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering.

Marty Wood, assistant dean for undergraduate education, says the School hopes to open the minor to non-engineering majors in two or three years: "Our short-range goal is to offer this minor to engineering students, obtain corporate feedback and assessment, revise the curriculum, and then offer the minor to any UConn student."

Nan Cooper

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