Information technology(IT) is the backbone that has been powering the movement of economies around the world for the last two years throughout the massive onslaught on human lives brought on by the numerous variations of the deadly novel coronavirus.
The outlook for 2022 is full of possibilities because of information technology and the limitless opportunities it provides. The year 2022 is destined to be the time in our lives when IT becomes fully accepted in all corners of the world. Jamaica is therefore positioned to benefit if she is ready to provide training and retraining of human capital for this new borderless landscape where players are ready to accept the best options based on the available opportunities.
Tertiary institutions with forward thinkers have been making the right connections through positive networking with local vehicles such as the Jamaica Computer Society (JCS) and in the Diaspora through the different chapters in North America and Canada. Emerging trends, technology, and skill sets will continue to captivate the right audience to pivot into markets such as North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa to offer cutting-edge degrees that will foster the budding appetite of millennials and generation Z (or Gen Z).
University of Technology (UTech), Jamaica, through the School of Computing and Information Technology (SCIT), currently offers economical modules with innovative, dynamic, and forward-thinking ways of delivering its courses to a new breed of learners.
This new generation does not only want to take courses that are predetermined for them, but they must be the right fit. A degree in information systems that offers the learner the dynamic mix of matching computer science with business studies, educational components, agricultural engineering, maritime defence and automation, sports management, sports science, law, law enforcement strategies, and entrepreneurship is worth investing in. Such a degree should be completed in three to four years and would be more student-focused and designed solely from a student-centred perspective.
In such a scenario, students can select modules from a pool of modules to design their own dynamic course of study that truly prepares and reflects the type of degree they believe will make them well rounded. It is believed that such a bold programme would be well suited for this new and ever-changing world in which jobs that are here today will not be around in 20 years.
I see the School of Computing and Information Technology fusing, merging, and venturing into new hemispheres with a projected student population of 15,000 to 25,000, a mix of both local and international students, as part of their ecosystem. Such a system, designed using out-of-the-box thinking, is what our nation requires in its toolbox.
The world is currently experiencing a technological revolution. Educational institutions, through trailblazers, will have to ensure that private sector and Diaspora partnerships are key to surviving a zero-budget scenario in which subvention is little to none.
Leaders of tertiary institutions must be marketing gurus, who are willing to facilitate growth, expansion, partnership, unity, and bold moves. These new visionaries will understand that the world has changed and they cannot be afraid to walk into new and dynamic territories to reconfigure the boundaries in which their students reside. I put it to you that the new feeding ground for UTech students could be in all or most of the 195 countries of the seven continents of the world.
The thinking is simply this, information technology will be the backbone of all industries in 2022. An information technology-led scenario is and should be the way forward if Jamaica intends to leapfrog to a dream that reflects the saying, “Wi likkle but wi tallawah.” Yes, we are small giants in the making and it is time we understand that only the brave will survive.
As a country, we must decide whether we will be watching by the wayside or partaking in the bounties of the current, emerging technologies and industries. Emerging technologies — biometrics, the Internet of Things (IoT), deep learning, data analytics, and fog computing — coupled with working from home, continuous training, retraining or retooling, and learning new skill sets from an institution such as UTech is the way forward.
I believe that the way to fully go beyond our borders is through expansion into trends such as gamification, cyber security, animation, software engineering, blockchain technology, and biometric technology. These are the birthrights of the budding and new generations who have grown up with technology at their fingertips from their motor skills started developing.
The world requires new and bold thinkers who believe technology is their inheritance and are ready to utilise it in 2022.
The School of Computing and Information is ripe and ready to be the trailblazer of the next IT revolution. Private sector organisations in Jamaica and throughout the world have been benefiting from its hard-working graduates. I therefore implore them to come full circle and partner with educational institutions by setting up endowment funds. Such a system will leave the organisations with a legacy that will allow the brightest minds, as well as the most skilled and savvy information systems, technology, and computer science out-of-the-box thinkers to be ready to rumble in this information technology revolution in which COVID-19 is embedded in the ecosystem.
The institution already boasts of graduates in silicon valley and all walks of life around the world. But we will have to get it right by removing the boundaries associated with country of residence to create a borderless university and learning environment.
And education will have to be provided through training, certification, and building stackable modules for the new generations to use as they see fit based on what they want to learn in 2022 and beyond.
Rorron Clarke is an assistant lecturer at the School of Computing and Information Technology (SCIT) at the University of Technology (UTech), Jamaica. Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or firstname.lastname@example.org