The curriculum of the ISC is based on standards developed by a committee of industry representatives and educators, and follows closely the Skill Standard for Information Technology published by the Northwest Center for Emerging Technology.
All certificate holders have completed a set of core courses that are designed to familiarize everyone with the basic technologies of the Web. Students learn the common language of development and the maintenance process. This results in a deeper understanding of the work that is being done in the other tracks.
This is accomplished in a series of three core courses that cover the various aspects of Website development. Each track will be exposed to the work being done by the other two tracks. For example, content developers learn about script programming and database management, so they understand the nature of Web programming. Web Programmers learn about content development and site management. E-commerce Developer students are exposed to all the aspects of website development.
In addition, all students learn about site architecture and navigation to enhance their awareness of usability issues. All students learn about the newest technologies and are exposed to technologies just appearing on the horizon. This way they are prepared for early adoption of new technologies, but also know when the new technology is application-appropriate.
After completion of the core courses, all students then take upper-division courses in their major, which have been approved by the ISC to be Web content development oriented. Currently, five majors have been designated as content development oriented. One has been designated as programming oriented and one has been designated as e-commerce oriented. Students in other majors may fulfill the requirements for content development certification if they complete courses in any of the designated majors or specific courses in English or Journalism and Communications, which have been opened to the general student body for this purpose.
The final stage in the certification is completion of either the practicum course or a three-month internship with an actual Web development team. In the practicum, students are teamed up with members from other tracks and are involved with an actual site development project. These projects are real. The Center maintains a service to small businesses and non-profit organizations to produce (and host) sites. Thus the practicum is essentially an on-campus internship, managed by the Center faculty. Regular internships enable students to gain on-the-job experience, get course credit, and get paid for it! The Center serves members of its consortium companies by introducing prospective interns to company representatives. Students may obtain an internship wherever they choose so long as it meets the standards established by the Center. Consortium companies have already agreed to the standards - they helped create them!
Thus, certification means that a graduate has gained working experience in every phase of site development and management. Most importantly, graduates are able to employ their talents within the Web environment.
The web certification I received from Western has been a great asset to my career and opened many doors. Soon after graduation I used my web development skills to create two successful web based businesses that continue to thrive. I have also been offered several desirable development jobs and contract opportunities. Thank you very much for this certification program and wonderful opportunity.Madison MinerSoftwareEngineer, Engineering Design Automation Inc