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10 Mar 2008:
According to research from Robert Half Technology, an IT recruiting firm, CIOs anticipate a 15 percent increase in the need for IT workers with Web 2.0 application development skills in 2008.
As companies increasingly use Web-based technologies to capitalize on new business opportunities, IBM's investment in future developers at RIT is the latest in a series of efforts to address the anticipated IT skills shortage. By collaborating with universities worldwide, IBM's Academic Initiative provides resources on enterprise software development, such as Web 2.0 technologies, as well as a direct pipeline from the campus to company recruitment.
RIT was the first university in the United States to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in software engineering. With over a decade of experience in open standards-based software development, IBM selected RIT as the site for its first on campus software collaboration lab.
"For RIT, the lab provides an excellent opportunity for faculty and students who have expertise in open source to work together on real world software engineering issues," said Jorge Díaz-Herrera, dean of RIT's B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. "As opposed to students who are doing co-ops away from the university, this brings industry and real live work scenarios to the campus. This is a great example of how we can help companies like IBM in research and development. In return, they expose our students to real world issues."
During their six month co-ops, RIT undergraduate students selected by IBM will perform design, development and technical support roles from within IBM's lab on RIT's campus. This lab will draw on students of various majors from three of RIT's colleges: Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, and the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences.
The experience RIT students will gain will go beyond learning about new software trends into developing real code for IBM technologies. These students will benefit from hands on support and expertise from some of the top engineers and researchers from IBM.
IBM's contribution to the development and design lab include dedicated servers and laptops for student co-ops, plus on-site staff and mentors who will be working together with students both in person and virtually to train students on gaining new business skills combined with technology expertise. Students will initially be working on Lotus and collaboration tools, such as Lotus Symphony and Lotus Connections.
Lotus Symphony, IBM's popular suite of no charge desktop productivity software, features an open programming model that goes beyond Microsoft Office by transforming the basic document into a portal to the Web 2.0 world. Lotus Connections is IBM's social software for business that helps customers create professional networks using mashup technology and link information to other social networks such as Yahoo! or LinkedIn.
Joe Pecoraro, a fourth-year RIT Computer Science major involved in web development, would like to spend his co-op learning how to apply enterprise social networking to improve productivity.
"I want to have a personal impact on the IBM technologies I'm working with. The lab is really trying to do just that -- let the students make a difference in future innovation," said Pecoraro. "I hope that working with IBM will give me an opportunity to clarify what I want to do in the future. I anticipate this may turn into a future career or open doors to more opportunities with IBM."
"The Lab will allow the best and brightest at RIT to apply their skills to innovative solutions through collaboration with IBM, and maintain our linkage with the University's top talent," said Robert McDonald, IBM Vice President of Technical Support for Lotus and Collaboration Software. "We hope to leverage students' extensive experience with the new age of collaborative technologies such as social networking, mashups, wikis and blogs."
IBM's university programs brings both open software computing and business skills to meet the needs of the enterprise at over 2400 universities worldwide, reaching over 2 million students. Through this initiative, IBM works closely with schools that support open standards and seek to use open source and IBM technologies for teaching purposes, both directly and virtually via the web. For more information on the IBM Academic Initiative, visit: www.ibm.com/university.
For more information about RIT, please visit: www.rit.edu
For more information on IBM's Web 2.0 and Lotus Software efforts, please visit: www.ibm.com/software/info/web20
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