As computing services are being distributed to growing numbers of users and service consumers, it has become increasingly important for IT professionals to understand how such systems work. To meet that need, Auckland University of Technology now provides a Master of Service-Oriented Computing (MSOC), a one year taught masters that is changing the landscape for the IT industry.
Dr Alan Litchfield, AUT Programme Leader, says “We have found that service science, cloud computing and service-oriented computing are growth sectors now demanding knowledgeable and experienced graduates. There is an acknowledged lack of IT professionals equipped with skills to work in the new environment where both applications and services are increasingly reliant on distributed computing in its contemporary forms such as cloud computing.
“The emerging disciplines of service science and service oriented computing have brought together computer science, software engineering and management science to provide an opportunity to the contemporary IT professional to gain advanced knowledge in the specialist area of cloud computing technologies and management, through the MSOC programme.”
The MSOC is the first of its kind at masters level, with only a few other similar courses based out of the US. However, the majority of these programmes are run from business schools and tend toward the MBA style of approach, in comparison to the MSOC’s more technical focus.
This approach is standing graduates in good stead as they hit the workforce, as evidenced by Nicholas Huang, a recent graduate who has found employment on the Graduate Programme at Datacom NZ.
“The MSOC provided me with a wonderful opportunity to learn the most advanced knowledge about IT services, such as Cloud Computing, Service Oriented Architecture and so on,” says Nicholas. “I knew after my undergraduate degree that I wanted to carry on learning more about research and analysis, and the MSOC has definitely helped me come to grips with the latest and future technologies in IT.”
Datacom’s General Manager – Networks, Mark Ellis, was impressed with the skills Nicholas brought to the team. “Often technical knowledge and expertise comes to us without context, but what we have seen from MSOC is students with a better grasp of ‘why’, a sense of relevance. It can take many years for new employees - graduates, to have this level of understanding and I was impressed to see someone demonstrate this understanding with zero industry experience.
“People who understand what the whole outcome should look like, and understand how the customer sees it, are immensely valuable. This elevated view ensures that we deliver improved services and better value for our clients and partners.
“MSOC looks to have provided great ‘balance’ bridging the gap between technical skills and service understanding. This makes these people feel more professionally mature than their peers who have not been through the MSOC programme, and as an employer, it was a differentiator.”
The MSOC programme from AUT is shaping up to be a real game changer and provides IT professionals with a strong technical alternative to an MBA programme to boost their careers.