Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Is an IT degree any use in 2010?

I am speaking to the Computer Forensic undergraduates at Glasgow University next week and generally spend a lot of time at Universities outlining the career opportunities available to students.  Even from my brief snapshot of an annual visit I have reached the view – which is, I think, pretty accepted in the uk computer forensics community - that the quality of computer forensics courses varies tremendously from excellent to pretty pointless (in terms of content rather than other skills gained).

There is often debate on the forums about whether a potential computer forensics practitioner benefits more from a general IT degree or a specific one in forensics.  However, could it be that this argument is too short-sighted?

Maybe the question we should be asking is whether an IT based degree is actually of any use?  The CIO panel at certainly didn’t think so in the following article published this week:

I spoke to one very talented, experienced computer forensics analyst to ask his opinion on the article:

“As someone who dropped out of University after becoming disillusioned by what the course was offering - I have to agree with this article.

I was studying Electronics at University and I was awarded a scholarship from a major organisation where I spent two summers working at the forefront of the electronics industry.  I would say that hardly any of my university course was relevant to what I experienced in industry.  The course was outdated, expanding on basic principles that I had learnt at A’ level and far behind where the electronics industry was heading.

Of my peers who did graduate, a significant number have returned to further their studies in other areas as they were unable to find work in the electronics industry for one reason or another.  In my biased opinion, experience counts for far more than any qualification.”

I tend to agree: do you?

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