The ISC evolved from the Internet Resource Creation and Management minor offered by the Computer Science Department. The minor was developed to provide liberal arts students with sufficient technical knowledge and skills to find employment in the communications industry, and was extremely popular with a wide variety of students.
It soon became evident that the field was expanding at a rapid pace, both technologically and commercially. As the job market for Web workers refined in terms of skills categories, it became clear that no one individual could learn all aspects of a complex Web development project. Thus the idea was formed to create tracks of curriculum that addressed general job categories, allowing students to better leverage his/her primary degree program and, at the same time, provide a way in which all students could collectively learn those aspects of the technology that are needed to effectively work in a team environment.
In October 1999, the Higher Education Coordinating Board (HECB) provided a grant to Western Washington University for $274,000 to be matched by donations from industry. The purpose of the grant was to set up the Internet Studies Center (ISC) in order to expand and refine the Internet minor program and convert it into a certification program. The latter notion arose in order to encourage industry professionals to participate in the operation of the Center.
The certifications would be based on a set of standards that would be developed jointly by the Center faculty and industry representatives. By creating a consortium of industry and educators, the certificates act as a guarantee to industry that graduates have received an education containing the sorts of knowledge, skills, and experiences that make them immediately productive upon hire.
The Web Management ISC certificate provided me useful and marketable skills in both the university and business worlds. During my attendance at Western, I was able to concurrently learn the skills being taught in the ISC program and apply those skills to the job I had at the Outdoor Center. Those skills also separated me from the competition when interviewing for jobs after graduating, making me a more desirable candidate. The variety of topics covered provided me the programming and SQL foundation required to succeed in today’s technology market. I would recommend the Web Management Certificate because of the exciting nature of the topics covered and the invaluable, industry applicable skills that provide an edge against the competition.
ISC Track: Web ManagerRyan McHenryData Analyst, Microsoft