A Tanzanian Perspective of the Technical Aspects of IT Service Management Education
2012 (English)In: Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, ISSN 1547-9714, Vol. 11, 103-124 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Information technology (IT) professionals face markedly different kinds of challenges in developing countries from the ones in developed countries. Based on the research literature and our fourteen years of fieldwork in Iringa, Tanzania, we have identified eight groups of technical characteristics of IT work that significantly affect the work of IT service management professionals in that particular developing country context. Those groups are climate conditions on the site, physical security on the site, characteristics of premises, characteristics of rooms, quality of electricity, local area network, peripherals, and ICT users. Even though the characteristics of IT work in developing countries are a challenge for any IT professional, they all can be overcome with appropriate education and preparation. However, scarcity of capable IT professionals who can effectively manage IT systems is an issue in East Africa. Although the situation is widely acknowledged, there are no reports of educational initiatives to address this issue. We show that without a broad understanding of environmental effects, physical security, power-related issues, and characteristics of premises for ICT equipment, IT professionals cannot maintain ICT services of organizations on a sufficient level. Our identified solutions to practical challenges lead us to conclude that IT service management education must include some topics from the fields of electrical engineering and civil engineering in the IT curriculum. Those topics prepare students to overcome context-specific challenges in their future working milieu. Besides technical topics, organizational support for IT work plays a central role in the self-sustainability of ICT services. Hence, IT professionals should be able to advocate other members of an organization. Advocacy work demands good management and communication skills and strong commitment to IT professionalism. Education for IT service management has to recognize these issues and emphasis, in its curriculum design, the role of management and leadership skills in a culturally sensitive way.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 11, 103-124 p.
Information Technology, Technical Support, Curriculum Development, Technology Transfer, ICT for Development
Research subject Computer and Systems Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-85443OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-85443DiVA: diva2:583704