GMIT Mayo marks 20 years of Information Technology degree
Excellent career prospects for graduates of Information Technology course which incorporates new and emerging technologies and trends
Date Article Written:
Thursday, November 2, 2017
As the IT industry struggles to meet the technology demands of today’s workplace, new challenges are arising for IT professionals, educators, and software & hardware solution providers. GMIT Mayo’s Information Technology degree programme, which celebrates 20 years this academic year, has evolved to meet these challenges, incorporating new elements of the biggest trends such as the ‘Internet of Things’, Big Data, Business Intelligence, Digital Transformation, Cloud Infrastructure, 3D Printing, and the various blends of Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Realities.
Mark Frain, lecturer on the B.Sc. Information Technology programme, explains: “The course was originally designed as an 18-month accelerated technician programme to meet a growing skills gap in the information technology industry back in the early 1990s. At the end of the course, students were awarded a Higher Certificate in Science at level 6. Subsequently, the B.Sc. degree in Information Technology Administration (level 7) and the Honours degree in Information Technology Services Management (level 8) were added to the suite of programmes, facilitating a full four year honours degree award for continuing students. The IT courses continue to have a high practical content today, giving students hands-on experience in computing fundamentals - databases, operating systems, networking, security, web technologies and programming. These skills ensure that students have the knowledge and competence needed to pursue a career in Information Technology, whether as a technician, administrator, manager, or indeed as a chief information officer."
“Demand for IT graduates” is high, says Brian Mulhern, who also lectures on the programme. “IT skills are playing an increasingly important role in the Irish economy. The report by the Expert Group on Future Skill Needs states the total number of people working in IT and related disciplines is around 59,000; 2.5 % of the total Irish workforce, with 90% of these possessing a third level qualification. Employment in IT showed the second highest growth rate (3.5%) of all professionals between 2010 and 2015 with the most significant increases being in the areas of IT operations and IT User Support personnel. This growth is fueled not only by directly created IT support roles in the industry itself, but also by the convergence of traditional sectors with ICT: FinTech (Financial Services and IT), MedTech (Medical Device Technologies and IT), and Programmatics (Marketing/Advertising with IT). The ICT Skills Action Plan 2014 – 2018 forecasts this growth to continue with a predicted additional 30,000 IT roles to be filled in the near term.”
“The course is currently structured so that participants start their first year in January, and complete seven modules (Networks, Operating Systems, Computer Systems, Programming, Applications, Innovation Skills, and IT Support) by the end of May. Almost immediately, the industrial placement element then starts with students working in conjunction with their supervisor to find a suitable position in participating industries. Full details about course modules in each of the years, and how to apply, is available on our website:
Second year of the programme runs throughout the full academic calendar, building on the modules covered in first year, and offering additional electives in Software Development and Multimedia. The industry placement continues throughout second year on a one day per week basis. In third year, participants focus on the specialised aspects of systems administration. Specialisms offered include Cisco Networking, Oracle DB Administration, Security and Cryptography, Software Development for Mobile, Cloud Virtualisation, and IT Project Management. At the end of third year, students graduate with a level 7 degree in Information Technology Administration. The focus of fourth year is management and planning for IT systems. Participants gain insight into operational IT services management processes, and long term strategic IT management techniques. In addition to the many industrial, commercial, entrepreneurial and consultancy opportunities that are available to graduates, this qualification is recognised as one of the requirements by the Irish Teaching Council for the purpose of admission to the Register of Teachers for the teaching of Information and Communication Technology at post – primary level.
Since the IT Support course began 20 twenty years ago, over 600 students have graduated from the programme. A number of students and graduates share their stories below:
Mike Farragher, Medtronic (2017 graduate)
“Currently I am working as a Human Resources Information Specialist II in Medtronic Medical Devices, a large multinational company in Galway, having recently transferred from the IT department. After finishing my level 7 degree in Electronic and Computer Engineering in GMIT Galway I started working with a medical devices company in Galway as an operator with an aim to progress into a technician role. I then decided I would go back and get my level 8 honours degree and chose GMIT Mayo. One of my lectures in GMIT Galway had suggested it to me as I had some experience in IT. The modules were well suited to my needs and career goals. For example, in my current role, the work I had done in Mark Frain's Security and Cryptography lectures and labs as well as the project work seem to come up a lot. I am working on Active Directory on a daily basis and project work such as hardware upgrade and a windows 10 role out project. I also got some experience in IT Service Management and networking which really fed into the IT infrastructure role I undertake.
Overall I am delighted I went back to college for the nine months to get my honours degree. It really opened up more doors for me. I enjoyed the programme as it was challenging but rewarding. I felt the lecturers were a great help in trying to get the best out of the students. I would recommend it to anyone.”
Laura Murphy. Netfort Technologies (2015 graduate)
“I am a GMIT Castlebar graduate with an ordinary degree (L7) in IT Administration and a higher degree in Computer Services Management. I went back to education after 10 years in Finance and was excited to join the course in GMIT as it offered varied and interesting modules.
A couple of months after graduating, I was hired as a SAP Support Analyst in Smyths Toys who have a large online presence and over 100 physical stores in Ireland and the UK. The large IT team in their Head Office comprises of a SAP team, Help Desk team, Networks team and Business Intelligence team. I was involved in new projects, designing and troubleshooting bespoke mobile applications, monitoring our Click and Collect process and troubleshooting warehouse/delivery SAP related issues.
I have just recently started working for a smaller organisation called NetFort Technologies, based in the NUIG campus. NetFort offers a deep-packet inspection software product called LANGuardian that monitors network and user activity. It captures traffic flowing through a network switch and provides granular data in the form of reports, charts and trends on a web GUI. As part of the team, I provide technical support, roll out updates to the software, carry out remote monitoring and will be providing demos of the product to potential customers if the future.
I have met many graduates since finishing the course in GMIT and each one is further proof of the great course and lecturers in the GMIT Castlebar campus.”
Shane Creaven, fourth year student (employed part-time by Apple Corp)
“I am married with four kids, having been self-employed all my working life. After I closed my business I decided to return to college. When I saw this course advertised I knew it was the one for me. The course has opened various different opportunities for me both personally and professionally. The element of work experience in the course is a great chance to get a feel for what you could end up doing after college. While doing the course I also work for Apple as part of their college programme. It is a fantastic opportunity, one which I don’t think I would have got had I not been on this course. With Apple you work 20 hours a week around your college schedule as an AHA (At Home Advisor). It is a great insight into how large multi nationals work and what opportunities are out there after college. The lecturers are fantastic and always there to help with any problems I might have. “
Sean Harrington, fourth year student
“I’m 34 and from Clare. I spent a number of years in Australia working and travelling before returning to Ireland to take up third level education for the second time. I had always intended to return to college, but, to be honest, it seemed a bit daunting, as my previous experience was not enjoyable. GMIT Mayo has changed all of that. My journey began when I saw an advertisement in the local paper seeking applicants for an Accelerated Information Technology Support course at GMIT Mayo. Gaining a cert after an eighteen month course seemed very attractive so I enrolled. I am now in my fourth year studying for a degree in Computer Services Management. This could not have happened were it not for the level of support and encouragement I received along the way from the excellent academic staff at GMIT.
I was attracted to the Mayo Campus because of its size. Having a smaller number of students compared to the larger third level institution I previously attended really gave a feeling of community and it is easy to make lots of friends in such circumstances.
I stayed in Castlebar for the first three years of my course, where I found it easy to get good standard and reasonably priced accommodation both on and off campus. This year I have opted to largely commute to college. With the opening of the new M17 motorway, forty-five minutes has been knocked off my journey.
I would highly recommend this course to both young and mature students alike. It covers every area of ITC, Networking, and Databases, IT Project Management, to name but a few. The work placement module provided me with invaluable experience and I got an opportunity to hone my skills in Project Management, Data Analysis, and Digital Media.”
If you are interested in applying for this course, go to
http://www.gmit.ie/apply/direct-applications - click Apply Now
For other IT related course in GMIT Mayo see http://www.gmit.ie/computing/bachelor-science-information-technology-administration-mayo
Back Row: lecturer Andrew Beatty, student Patrick Finlay, student Sabrina Flynn, student Juraj Velart. Front row, student Shane Creaven, lecturer Mark Frain, student Chase Cargill, student Michael Ludden