In spite of recent declines in I.T. program enrollment in many U.S. colleges, there is evidence that interest in the profession is still alive and well! The Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) holds an annual collegiate conference with attendees from colleges all over the U.S.. This year, 673 representatives from over 70 colleges and universities attended the conference, March 27-29 at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. Several of our ICCP Board members were at the conference, and ICCP was one of the more than 60 sponsors and exhibitors at the conference. The following are some highlights from the trip report circulated to the ICCP Board on April 3rd:
There are many contests for student teams to "show what they know" at this conference. Some of the data management skill competitions this year were the Database Contest, Systems Analysis & Design Contest (sponsored by State Farm), New Blade Server/Data Center contest (sponsored by Blade Systems Alliance), Application Development Contest (sponsored by Wal-Mart) and the Business Intelligence Contest (sponsored by CMU Research Corporation) for both undergraduate and graduate students.
ICCP proctored 90 exams, taken by 52 attendees, with 17 Associate Computing Professional (ACP) and 3 Certified Computing Professional (CCP) certifications earned at the conference. This is a good way for students to get experience taking these exams, and to assess their own skills to identify areas where they may need to develop more knowledge in their studies or job experiences.
Professional associations and these kinds of conferences are wonderful collaborations between colleges and businesses. They create a sense of community for students, connect them with each other and with hiring businesses, and inspire professional pride and enthusiasm. DAMA can also influence students' interest in pursuing data management related professions early in their careers. Even though DAMA does not yet have a strong presence on college campuses, as a member of the ICCP, we connect with other professional associations like AITP and ACM that have active student chapters. With our curriculum framework and certification exams we have begun to influence the subjects that are taught in I.T. programs, and perhaps we will also see more specializations in data management. As we mature as a profession, we also need to pay attention to the next generation.