Cork Institute of Technology has launched two new degree courses in cloud computing, the first such degrees of their kind in Ireland. The courses were launched today in Dublin by the Minister for Employment and Skills, Mr. Ruairi Quinn, T.D.
A one-year undergraduate add-on degree course for computer science graduates, and a Master’s degree programme, also one year in length, will commence in September of this year.
The courses are a result of a partnership between CIT and storage hardware and cloud computing multinational EMC’s Cork-based Irish Centre for Excellence, although CIT academic staff worked with thirty-one partners internationally in the development of the course modules.
Tim Horgan is a lecturer in CIT’s department of computing and is the academic programme coordinator of the cloud computing courses. He explains that, “The undergrad degree is a level eight (honours bachelor’s degree) add-on for students who have level seven (ordinary bachelor’s degree) qualifications already. It’s designed to up-skill the computer graduate at level seven”.
The master’s programme meanwhile is, “basically designed, in the first instance, for people who are working in the industry”, says Tim. “We have a lot of interest from the likes of VMware, from EMC in particular who are chief architects with us, and also the likes of Cisco and other companies.”
The decision to run these courses arose from a request made by EMC for staff up-skilling, whereupon staff at CIT realised the opportunity to offer the first cloud computing degree course in Ireland.
“It was organic really, because we have been working with EMC for twenty-three years, since they came to Cork, and this is our second serious involvement with them.
“EMC are moving from a hardware storage company to a cloud-services company, and with the acquisition of VMware and Greenplum and others we had instant access to some of the world’s experts in storage and virtualisation.
“We up-skilled some of their staff to degree level previously, but this time round, when they asked us to give them a similar up-skilling programme what we did is we said, “look, it would be better to look at strategically where the company is going and align the educational programme to that model.”
Not only will these add-on courses be available, but some of the key modules will be made available to other courses in the department of computing. “Students have choices within each semester so they can opt to do modules in virtualisation or specialised cloud security modules”.
With Cork now looking set to be a hub for cloud computing, the stage is set for other third-level institutions to follow the example set by CIT. Tim Horgan hopes that they will, saying that he’s all in favour of programmes that “address real needs”.
“What we had here was we had a case where we identified needs within a company and we addressed those. I think if any other institutes get involved in this space, I’d advise them to do the same, to partner, and to engage. The key thing here is to engage, last year we thought that we could put a cloud computing degree together by taking some of the existing modules, throwing in a bit of virtualisation, and storage, and here we have our programme, but it’s not a real programme because you’re not addressing the real needs of industry.
“What we did is we said, “look, we’re going to spend a year planning it and developing it, and when it’s right, and only when it’s right, we’ll put it through a rigorous quality assurance programme and we can stand over it”. And that’s what makes it different but I think also it’s a model that other Institutes could use as well.”
For further information on these courses, visit: http://www.cit.ie/cloud