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Sun 23 Mar 2003 04:00 AM

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IT workers invest in Master's degrees

Master’s degrees are the key to moving from a technical role into a management position, and according to the 2003 ACN Employment & Training Survey, 22% of the region’s IT workforce have obtained one.

Master’s degrees are the key to moving from a technical role into a management position. According to the 2003 ACN Employment & Training Survey, the region’s IT workforce is aware of this necessity with 22% of them having obtained a Master’s degree, and another 2% holding a PhD.

While technical skills are obviously important for IT workers, vendor specific qualifications like the Microsoft Certified Engineer (MSCE) only teach students about the technology and not how it fits into the wider business context.

“You could do a specific qualification with Microsoft, but it’s only going to be a technical course. It’s not going to teach you things about how IT works in the business environment and how it benefits the business. That’s where a Master’s differs,” says Mark Andrews, regional business manager Middle East & South Asia, NCC Education

Master’s degrees offer a much broader overview of IT and set it into a managerial and business context.

For example, the MSc. in Strategic Business IT, which is soon to be launched by NCC Education and the University of Portsmouth, England, covers such topics as strategic planning, the future of IT and task management. “The kinds of subject that don’t necessarily get covered in the lower programmes,” explains Andrews.

However, while holding a Master’s in IT boosts a candidate’s chance of getting a job, other qualifications may not do so. “If you’ve got a master’s degree you stand a greater chance [of finding a job]. However, I wouldn’t necessarily say that having anything higher than a Master’s for an IT-specific role is going to do you any great favours... MBAs are great for consulting companies, but I can’t understand why an end user would need somebody with an MBA,” says Ewan Walton, sales manager, ITP Consulting.

Bachelors’s degrees are though important for finding an entry level position, especially as most managers with degrees prefer to hire workers with degrees. “I can tell you without hesitation that employers and managers have prejudices... a manager who has a college degree will prefer to hire those who also have college degrees,” says David Foote, president & chief research officer, Foote Partners.

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