A third-level qualification in information and communications technology management is helping engineers to open up networking opportunities and overcome barriers to career progression
Tech

 

The idea by Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and the ICT Ireland Skillnet to develop a third-level qualification in ICT (information and communications technology) management came about because there was a sense that for many engineers, there were barriers to career progression.

Moving into management roles required further education and, at the time of designing the postgraduate programme for the ICT management sector, the ICT Ireland Skillnet did not believe that the appropriate programmes were available.

The ICT Ireland Skillnet is a network of a group of companies within the ICT sector who are concerned about the important human resources gaps in the sector and are working together to provide practical and relevant responses to fill these gaps. So, DIT’s College of Business worked with the organisation to co-design a programme that provides participants with a solid grounding in the fundamentals of management in a technology industry. It was developed in conjunction with key experts from the ICT industry.

Central to the programme learning strategy is an applied learning approach that allows participants to learn and apply a wide range of technology, management and innovation theories and tool sets. The first course ran in 2006 and the programme is constantly reviewed by an ICT Ireland Skillnet high-level steering group.

DIT programme director Paul O’Reilly said: “An important part of the success of this programme over the last seven years has been the partnership with the ICT Ireland Skillnet. Their ongoing input into the design of the programme makes sure that it meets the resourcing requirements of the industry and that it will support the career progression pathways for graduates.”

OPENING OPPORTUNITIES

O’Reilly said that the programme relationship with the ICT Ireland Skillnet also helps to create an effective way to network and learn of career progression opportunities.

“It allows us to bring together student cohorts of experienced engineers and technology graduates who have been identified by their own organisation as having potential to progress. This creates a very effective peer learning and networking environment.”

The programme, which culminates in the awards of Postgraduate Diploma in Management of Technology (first year) and Master of Science in Technology and Innovation Management (second year), is studied on a part-time basis over one or two years. The taught elements are delivered over workshops on Friday and Saturdays, to offer maximum flexibility to both participants and their employers.

Stage 1 involves 16 workshops and Stage 2 is delivered over eight workshops. Each stage is one year’s duration and workshops normally take place at DIT’s Faculty of Business campus at Aungier Street.

The programme has been shown in independent programme reviews to be meeting its objectives. Two effects particularly stand out – from a company perspective, it has improved retention of key personnel and from a graduate perspective, participants are achieving promotions in their organisations.

Participants largely come from telecoms, software, IT manufacturing and engineering sectors, but can also be working in technology roles in other industries.

Participants on the programme to date have come from a wide range of companies including large multinationals such as Ericsson, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Abbott Technologies, Aer Lingus, Meteor and Intel and, in recent years, increasingly from indigenous enterprises.

PAST PARTICIPANTS

Darren Farrell, who now works as a test development manager with Intel in California, said he personally felt the programme had a huge impact on his career – he was promoted twice during the course of the programme.

“I believe the main difference was that the programme course work opened me up to new ideas and ways of doing things,” he said. “Also, the group discussions in class with similar technological people were invaluable.”

Sinan Osan, head of DigiMedia, also found the course to fit well and accelerate what he was doing in his day job. “I found the course extremely useful – it was well informed by research and real-world testing and all the lecturers did an excellent job of reinforcing points of which I was already aware, revealing new approaches that I wasn’t and encouraging contributions from those attending,” he said. “I highly recommend the ICT MSc Technology and Innovation Management.”

Participants in the programme must have an undergraduate honours degree in a science, engineering or technology discipline. Applicants with a degree in a non-technology discipline will be considered if they have significant experience in ICT.

Modules from Stage 1 include management and organisation behaviour, marketing and sales, operations management, new product development and technological entrepreneurship.

Modules from Stage 2 include supplier management, technology strategy, strategic management and innovation and commercialisation.

KEY SKILLS FOR INDUSTRY

While the programme leads to recognised academic awards, it does not lose focus that the primary objects of the ICT Ireland Skillnet initiative are on competence and skill development for technologists working in the ICT sector and associated industries.

A range of learning strategies are employed including action learning, case studies, practice-based assignments, debates and guest speakers. Project work, including group activities, is an essential component of the programme.

Lecturers on the programme are actively engaged with enterprises through research, consultancy and training assignments so they bring knowledge of real-world business issues to the classroom and deliver high quality and relevant content.

The intention is that over the life of the programme, participants will emerge as engineering and technology leaders with a strategic perspective on organisational issues and challenges. Programme fees benefit from a significant subsidy provided by the ICT Ireland Skillnet.

If you are interested in further information on this programme, including information on programme fees and the application process, please contact Susan Kelly, the ICT Ireland Skillnet Network Administrator at susan.kelly@ictirelandskillnet.org or 1890 876 696.

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  The idea by Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and the ICT Ireland Skillnet to develop a third-level qualification in ICT (information and communications technology) management came about because there was a sense that for many engineers, there were barriers to career progression. Moving into management roles required further education and,...