Student Opinions on their Development of Non-technical Skills in IT Education

  •  Woratat Makasiranondh    
  •  S. P. Maj    
  •  D. Veal    


It is recognized that non-technical or soft skills are a vital part of the IT curriculum and hence are considered to be core curriculum components, particularly in the USA and Australia and is also an important worldwide issue. An extensive analysis within an Australian university context found a mismatch between employer expectations and the university-based instruction in these skills. However, it was noted that this unpreparedness in soft skills may be because students may not have appreciated the importance of these skills – a result confirmed by this study, which used a questionnaire delivered to project students undertaking a range of IT based courses. Internships are not common in Australia and hence to address this problem guest speakers from industry are now regularly invited to give presentations to project students. Furthermore it was also found that those students who had workplace experience more fully appreciated the role of workplace soft skills than those who did not have such experience. This study clearly indicates the importance of a team based project unit for teaching soft skills. A further implication is that students need to be made aware of the importance of soft skills in the workplace as a part of their studies.

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