An analysis of is majors in top ranked schools
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An Analysis of IS Majors in Top Ranked Schools. Alex Lopes IT Leadership Conference 2013. Starting point: IS 2010 Curriculum Guidelines. Topi et al., 2010. * Notice that Application Development is not part of the recommended curriculum,

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An Analysis of IS Majors in Top Ranked Schools

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An analysis of is majors in top ranked schools

An Analysis of IS Majors in Top Ranked Schools

Alex Lopes

IT Leadership Conference 2013


Starting point is 2010 curriculum guidelines

Starting point: IS 2010 Curriculum Guidelines

Topi et al., 2010

* Notice that Application Development is not part of the recommended curriculum,

Although a “strong case” can be made for its inclusion

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Bell et at examined how widespread the 2010 curriculum has been adopted

Bell et at. examined how widespread the 2010 curriculum has been adopted

Bell et al., 2013, CAIS 32(1), Article 2

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Comprehensive study of 127 majors through survey and follow up questions


Our internal project was different looking into the programs of peer institutions

Our internal project was different, looking into the programs of “peer” institutions

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  • Focus on top-25”ish” US News and BusinessWeek undergrad programs

    • Plus a couple of “wild cards” for a total of 35 programs

  • Analyze individual syllabus, course descriptions, template curricula, etc.

    • Some students need a major to find information about majors

  • General observations

    • 10 schools in the sample do not have IS majors, dropping the effective sample to 25

      • In the “top” 17 only 8 schools have “pure” IS majors

    • The higher in the ranking a school is, the more “exotic” the major becomes

    • Out of the 25 “top” majors, only 12 reside in an “IS department”


Yes we have seven recommended courses but in reality only four are commonly found in top schools

Yes, we have seven recommended courses but in reality, only four are commonly found in top schools

  • Foundations

    • Taught in a variety of ways

    • Mostly required to all majors, but some specific for IS

    • Usually (but not always) basic computing skills are separated from the main foundations course

  • Data and Info Management

    • Very common course, found in the vast majority of programs as stand-alone

  • System Analysis & Design

    • Almost as common as database as a required course

    • In several cases, preceded by databases as an explicit pre-req (or at least a co-req)

    • Focus on SDLC

  • IT infrastructure

    • In most cases, this means data communications and networks

    • There is somewhat of a drop from databases and SAD to IT infrastructure in terms of being required

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The other required piece is thankfully programming

The other required piece is, thankfully, programming

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  • The name of the courses rarely indicate “coding” but they can be found in the vast majority of programs

    • Some schools have multiple programming requirements

  • Some interesting ideas

    • Working with CS(E) to deliver programming courses or allow CS(E) courses to count as required

    • Allowing experienced coders to bypass basic programming requirements

    • Embedded programming in courses with other objectives

      • For example, VBA to work with data analytics


Now for the missing components

Now for the missing components

  • Enterprise Architecture

    • Rarely taught in a way that is relatable to certifications like TOGAF, etc.

    • When majors include some sort of enterprise content, that usually means ERP

  • IS Project Management

    • Rarely taught as stand-alone course

    • In several cases, a project management course from other area is used

    • Some aspects of it taught as part of the SDLC

  • IS Strategy, Management & Acquisition

    • Rarely taught as stand-alone course but related content may be embedded in either foundations courses or electives (e-commerce strategy, social media strategy)

  • Capstone

    • A very small number of majors seem to use IS capstone courses

    • The few majors that have it employ either comprehensive internal projects or consulting engagements

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Which electives do is majors in top schools tend to include

Which electives do IS majors in top schools tend to include?

Security

IS majors tend to “own” security as a specialization outright

E-commerce/E-business

IS majors tend to “own” this area outright

Social

Media

Analytics

Analytics

Significant variation in terms of departments offering courses in the area

Social Media

Some variation in terms of departments offering courses in the area

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Most schools seem to include electives that match the preferences of the faculty teaching there but it is also possible to find some clusters


An analysis of is majors in top ranked schools

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