Minority Computing Group Establishes IT Institute at Auburn University
The national Black Data Processing Associates organization
is kicking off the BDPA Information Technology Institute Certification Program this month.
The online institute, based at Auburn University and partnered
with that institution’s distance learning program, provides distance learning opportunities for computer professionals seeking to boost their technical competence and leadership skills. BDPA officials anticipate that
the institute will draw considerable interest from minority IT professionals across the nation.
Open to all races, the institute will provide online certification programs at three levels: the entry-level IT associate, the mid-level IT professional and the advanced-level IT master. The initial 14-week course, being offered this month, is the Professional Certification, which requires prospective students to have a bachelor’s and five years of IT work experience.
“The BDPA IT Institute is an innovative service for IT professionals. This service will give IT professionals the ability to make career changes, brush up on their skills and provide them with the necessary skills for upward mobility in IT. Together with Auburn University, BDPA is providing this service as the next frontier of IT benefits for advancement,” says Dr. Juan Gilbert, the academic chair of the institute and a professor in Auburn’s computer science and software engineering department.
According to Gilbert, BDPA decided that Auburn’s interest and commitment to diversity made it an ideal location to host the institute, which began as a program to address the needs of their members and the general IT community. Gilbert is one of three Black computer science professors at Auburn, which he says is the most at any predominantly White college or university in the United States. Auburn also currently has the highest number of Black computer science doctoral students of any U.S. institution.
Program organizers say minorities in the IT field often struggle to move from purely technical roles to mid- and senior-level management positions, such as manager, director and vice president. Statistics show that, for example, African-Americans make up only 3.9 percent of management positions in IT, according to BDPA.
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