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Promoting career awareness among IT students in a South African context

Promoting career awareness among IT students in a South African context The purpose of this paper is to present an intervention strategy for promoting career awareness among IT students in a South African context, followed by a reflection thereof based on qualitative data collected from students. Career awareness during study has shown to be a factor in the work-readiness of IT graduates.Design/methodology/approachThe paper suggests an intervention strategy aimed at promoting IT students' career awareness. It provides context of the exit-level higher education (HE) module used to implement the intervention. Career awareness is achieved by industry talks, projects and events. Interpretive data collection and content analysis are used to understand the impact of the intervention from the students' perspective.FindingsRecommendations are made towards productive interventions for raising career awareness among IT students using industry participation in higher education. The proposed intervention comprises of a combination of industry talks, capstone projects and specific events. Students had largely positive reactions and made suggestions for additional interventions they would find beneficial. A hackathon attended proved the most influential where seven out of eight involved students received job offers from one company. Other students became aware of their own employability, limitations and preferred career paths.Originality/valueFindings provide confirmation on existing feasible approaches and also introduces new interventions that may be generalised to other fields of study. The paper not only provides an instructional design for a module to raise career awareness but also reflects on the feedback of the students. The reflection provided by students acts as a point of reference to ensure that the process followed for the intervention is practical within a South African context. The paper highlights the perceived benefits of involving industry in higher education to raise career awareness, factors that may prevent career awareness among IT students and valuable suggestions made by students to further enhance the intervention strategy. An implication of the research is a set of guidelines identified towards bridging the IT theory–practice gap. These guidelines can be used by many educators in similar environments to justify their interventions. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning Emerald Publishing

Promoting career awareness among IT students in a South African context

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2042-3896
DOI
10.1108/heswbl-09-2019-0110
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to present an intervention strategy for promoting career awareness among IT students in a South African context, followed by a reflection thereof based on qualitative data collected from students. Career awareness during study has shown to be a factor in the work-readiness of IT graduates.Design/methodology/approachThe paper suggests an intervention strategy aimed at promoting IT students' career awareness. It provides context of the exit-level higher education (HE) module used to implement the intervention. Career awareness is achieved by industry talks, projects and events. Interpretive data collection and content analysis are used to understand the impact of the intervention from the students' perspective.FindingsRecommendations are made towards productive interventions for raising career awareness among IT students using industry participation in higher education. The proposed intervention comprises of a combination of industry talks, capstone projects and specific events. Students had largely positive reactions and made suggestions for additional interventions they would find beneficial. A hackathon attended proved the most influential where seven out of eight involved students received job offers from one company. Other students became aware of their own employability, limitations and preferred career paths.Originality/valueFindings provide confirmation on existing feasible approaches and also introduces new interventions that may be generalised to other fields of study. The paper not only provides an instructional design for a module to raise career awareness but also reflects on the feedback of the students. The reflection provided by students acts as a point of reference to ensure that the process followed for the intervention is practical within a South African context. The paper highlights the perceived benefits of involving industry in higher education to raise career awareness, factors that may prevent career awareness among IT students and valuable suggestions made by students to further enhance the intervention strategy. An implication of the research is a set of guidelines identified towards bridging the IT theory–practice gap. These guidelines can be used by many educators in similar environments to justify their interventions.

Journal

Higher Education, Skills and Work-based LearningEmerald Publishing

Published: May 21, 2020

Keywords: Career awareness; Reflective practice; Industry involvement; Higher education; Information technology; Intervention strategy

References