Developing career aspirations of Information Technology students at Deakin University

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Research and Development in Higher Education Vol. 38: Learning for Life and Work in a Complex World

July, 2015, 528 pages
Published by
T. Thomas, E. Levin, P. Dawson, K. Fraser & R. Hadgraft

It is important for students to develop informed and realistic career aspirations to gain the most value from their university studies towards achieving their initial career goals. However developing students’ career aspirations, goals, and expectations is a complex and discipline-specific process. In Information Technology (IT) no clear career development framework is evident in the literature. Recent research in Australia argues that electronic portfolios are a useful way for students to develop, articulate and document career objectives to enhance their employability. IT students at Deakin engage in formal training and assessment with respect to developing their professional skills and career understandings. Currently electronic portfolios feature as a useful method for evidencing professional competencies for employability. Through a combined quantitative and qualitative analysis of 306 students’ articulated current career aspirations, qualitative analysis of 7 staff opinions of desired student career competencies, and a quantitative analysis of 28 students’ current work personality traits assessments (Work Personality Index), this work presents an analysis of the current state of IT students’ career development. The results indicate that while students reported short-term career aspirations, navigating to their long-term career goals is going to require addressing difficult barriers such as confidence (self-perception) and motivation. This research will influence a larger program-wide endeavour to build student career competencies for employability in IT at Deakin University.

Keywords: Career Development, Information Technology, Higher Education.