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Kent State Ashtabula Computer Technology Program Prepares Students for Industry Challenges

Posted Jul. 2, 2012
enter photo description
Computer technology students Stephanie Edge and Rita
Hennigan
took second place in the Visual Studio.Net
Programming competition at the Association of Information
Technology Professionals National Collegiate Conference in
San Antonio, Texas.

Kent State University at Ashtabula is preparing students in its Computer Technology Program to meet the needs of the industry and the Northeast Ohio region by emphasizing application of technology, also known as applied learning, in its curriculum.

The program prepares students for careers as programmers, network administrators, database administrators, website developers, computer hardware technicians, and more in a variety of industries.

Computerworld, a leading source of technology news, projects a positive job outlook for information technology (IT) professionals.

The computer labs at Kent State Ashtabula have been newly renovated and are fully equipped with resources to teach computer hardware maintenance, networking and programming.

Although Kent State students learn skills in the use of computers and knowledge of networks and information security, they are also required to have an understanding of how business and industry function as they will be responsible for managing and maintaining the secure infrastructure of a company.

In their final Spring semester of the associate degree program at Kent State Ashtabula, students enroll in the Seminar in Computer Technology course. Among many activities, students are required to participate in the Income/Outcome Business Simulation with students in all applied business programs—Accounting Technology, Business Management Technology, Computer Technology, and Information Technology for Administrative Professionals.

Teams are composed of students from each discipline and are charged with the task of managing a simulated business, making decisions about finance, product and market. Students in the Computer Technology Program complete the simulation with a better understanding of how IT supports all aspects of business and industry.

“Our Computer Technology Program covers a broad set of skills to prepare students for the workplace,” says Irene Edge, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Technology at Kent State Ashtabula. “The core of the program covers applied knowledge of computer hardware, current operating systems, networking fundamentals, intermediate skills in office applications software, website development, and foundational computer programming and logic skills.”

Students in the program have the opportunity to develop skills in help desk support, network administration and security, application development, and Internet and multimedia technologies. Students also are encouraged to take advantage of work experience opportunities through community service, campus employment, practicums and internships to improve their skills as they prepare themselves for a competitive career.

“Our students know that they must extend their skills beyond the classroom to succeed in today's competitive IT market,” Edge says. “In addition to technical training, they also are taught soft skills, such as teamwork, presentation and effective communication.”

Students are encouraged to join the Kent State Ashtabula Student Chapter of the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP). As members, they plan and participate in fundraising activities, community service projects and technology meetings. Each spring, student members have the opportunity to attend the AITP National Collegiate Conference. At the conference, students attend seminars, a job fair, take certification exams and participate in competitions.

This past spring, the conference was held in San Antonio, Texas, and the Kent State Ashtabula teams took 2nd and 3rd place in the Visual Studio.NET programming competition. In addition, three students received Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certifications, and one student received the Institute for the Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP) Associate Computer Professional (ACP) certification. These success stories are representative of achievements over the past 21 years of the student chapter and reflect the ambitions and accomplished efforts of its members.

Courses in the Computer Technology Program may be taken in-person or online to meet the needs of students across the Kent State eight-campus system.

For more information about the Computer Technology Program at Kent State Ashtabula, contact Edge at iedge@kent.edu or visit www.ashtabula.kent.edu/academics/degrees/associate/comt.cfm.