In recent years there have been repeated calls for universities to better equip students with skills which are relevant to business and industry. The field of Information Systems (IS), along with the wider discipline of computing, has often been described as outdated, slow to adopt new technologies and unable to keep up with the fast pace of change of the real world . Exacerbating the issue of academic relevance in relation to industry needs, universities around the world have experienced a growing disinterest in the study of IS and computing, resulting in worryingly low levels of new graduates who do not meet industry demands.
To understand the contentious relationship between academia and business in relation to IS, the research presented in this thesis investigates the current IS undergraduate provision in the UK and its alignment with the skill requirements of the IS industry. This is achieved through a two-stage approach of examining the position and expectations of each stakeholder, followed by the development of a method to facilitate the alignment of their inter-related needs.
As part of the first stage, the investigation into the academic stakeholder undertakes a holistic analysis of IS curriculum to quantify its content. This leads to the identification of original Career Tracks which specify the IS careers promoted by the curriculum. The second stage involves the investigation of the business stakeholder measuring the careers in demand and the skills that support them. The resulting findings from these investigations show that it is possible to determine the skills required by IS graduates in the UK to meet the demands of industry. This is achieved through the use of a newly developed IS Course Survey Framework that enables the configuration of IS courses to align to specific career tracks, thus mapping directly to the needs of industry as expressed through their job requirements and associated skills demand.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.