Designing a Global Classification System for the Information Technology Workforce: Examining Cultural and Societal Bias

Manimegalai Subramaniam,
Dr. Kathleen Burnett
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This paper reports the interim results of a multi-case study examining educational preparation for the information technology workforce (ITWF) in India and the United States, two nations where information technology (IT) plays an important role in economic growth. The objectives for the multi-case study included developing a comprehensive list of the skills that are currently taught in the premiere IT educational institutions in these two countries; developing a comprehensive list of the occupations for which these institutions currently prepare students; and compare these lists with existing classification systems for the ITWF to identify shortcomings, especially those that indicate lack of adaptability over time and/or cultural and societal biases that will prevent global implementation. Content analysis of syllabi and course-related documents from fourteen premiere IT institutions in the United States and India was the primary method employed in the study.

A review of the literature reveals that IT workers' vocational and academic training backgrounds vary enormously (see Ellis and Lowell, 1999; Kuh, 1999; Meares and Sargent, 1999; Moncarz, 2002; US Department of Commerce, 2003). IT workers get their education from various disciplines and work in various industries, not just IT specific industries. One of the major challenges the information-related disciplines face today is defining the scope and nature of the professional preparation each provides. IT remains poorly defined in the research literature (see Freeman and Aspray, 1999; Moncarz, 2002; Morath, Gompper, Donahue and Light, 1999; US Department of Commerce, 1997), with competing classification systems making it difficult if not impossible to compare results across studies. The overall goal of the research (of which this multi-case study is a part) is to design and develop an IT classification system that can be adopted internationally, is free of cultural and societal biases, and has the capacity to evolve as the ITWF evolves.

Keywords: Information Technology Workforce, Information Technology Education, Culture and Technology, Society and Technology
Stream: Knowledge and Technology
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Manimegalai Subramaniam

Doctoral candidate, College of Information, Florida State University

Dr. Kathleen Burnett

Associate Professor, College of Information, Florida State University

Ref: T05P0093