Academic journal article Informatica Economica

An Information Systems Master Programme in Romania. Some Commonalities and Specificities

Academic journal article Informatica Economica

An Information Systems Master Programme in Romania. Some Commonalities and Specificities

Article excerpt


As academic discipline and research topic, Information Systems (IS) has followed a convoluted trajectory. It's never ending identity crisis [1], [2] combined with a steep decline in enrolments in developed countries since the bust of 2001-2003, especially in US and UK programmes [3], [4], [5], rose questions about its future. Some MIS programs in the United States have completely shut down because of low enrolment [5], [6]. The main reason given in the literature for this decline is the offshoring of IT jobs [7], [6].

Amidst funeral moods, Romanian (and other low-wage countries) IS programmes have thrived at both undergraduate and graduate levels [3]. Romania's increasing attractiveness for IT outsourcing (lower wages, technical skills, proficiency in foreign languages) created a big appetite for IT professionals and consequently IS enrolment has constantly risen. National and European statistical and academic studies revealed that from the beginning of the economic crisis (2008 in Romania) until the end of 2014, the number of jobs in the IT sector has doubled in Romania, and the demand continues to rise exponentially [8], [9], [10].

One thing that is clear is that the globalization of software is here to stay, and its manifestation as IT services offshoring is a disruptive force that has a long-term effect on the domestic IT work force. This phenomenon brings many challenges to adapting the IT/IS education system. It has not only to prepare growing numbers of people to work in IT industry, but also to cope with different and changing occupations, each with its own skills and knowledge requirements. IT work can be thought of as consisting of a spectrum from the more routine (e.g. system maintenance and support, basic programming, system testing) through the more advanced (e.g. requirements management or system architecture development) to the advanced strategic (development of approaches that utilize IT to provide organisation with a competitive advantage), each of them asking for different mixture of technical, business, and softskills. The literature review doesn't provide a clear picture about IT jobs and skills that are being currently offshored or might be offshored in the future. Some authors state that all IT jobs/skills might be offshored arguing that IT skills tend to become new comodity [11], [12], while others try to prove that not all of its could be offshored and that the vulnerability to offshoring depends on some features of IT jobs/skills, such as the need for interpersonal interaction and face-to-face contact, the physical presence of workers in a fixed location and leading to a competitive advantage [13], [14]. Moreover, data on current and future trends of offshoring leave much to be desired [15]. All these conditions make difficult to describe the current state and the prediction about global and domestic IT work force market.

As technologies change quickly, so the industry requirements, IS programmes must adapt their curricula based on similar programmes curricula, including model curriculum guidelines published by Association for Information Systems [3], listening to the industry needs (involving industry representatives), and getting feedback from graduates. This paper presents some results of a survey targeting Business Information Systems master graduates at Al. I. Cuza University of Iasi (UAIC). The aim of our study was not only the programme evaluation but also to give an outlook on Romanian IT workforce.

Technical solution for analysis was developed using MicrosoftSharePoint Server platform for data collection and R/R Studio language/ platform for data analysis.

2 Information Systems Undergraduate and Graduate Programmes Curricula

As technical and business topics could be mixed in various proportions, diversification of IS programmes manifests not only among universities from different countries, but also within the same country [3]. At UAIC both undergraduate and graduate Information Systems programmes curricula were developed ACM/AIS guidelines [3], [16], [17]. …

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