I had a slight mini-rant about just this topic in a discussion for my practicum. Maybe I am a bit luckier than most since I have a undergrad degree in Management Information System (MIS) that fits in nicely with LIS, but even so, one look at the jobs out there and I knew I was going to have to work on some technical skills on my own.
Here is an excerpt from my discussion post for 620. I have omitted the journal name/author since this is a live blog and not in a cozy, free-from-recrimination Learn@UW discussion board.
Where X’s article has the most weight is his criticism of LIS schools changing over to information science/studies. It is here that I happen to agree with his/her assessment. True, future librarians need to know how to work with new technology, but I think what is happening is that we are being set up for a hard fall. There are information science/studies out there, and what they are teaching us in SLIS is not it. Unless you go to the maximum effort to learn on your own (or in a computer science class) about programming languages, web design beyond the basics, and full database design, what we learn for technology in SLIS is not enough to call it an IS degree. If you don’t agree with me, read a few Information Science/Studies job openings on LinkedIn.com. Chances are, we don’t have the qualifications for them.
Which leads me to Tzoc and Miller’s article.
The image above is exactly the information I was visualizing in my head in my 620 posting and I felt a bit of satisfaction to see that it wasn’t all in my head. What SLIS is teaching us is not what future employers are looking for (and I don’t buy the “…it is possible that LIS curricula look further ahead to anticipate future developments…” argument Tzoc and Miller offer on page 14) . In the graph, Database Design/Management is being taught twice as much (14%) what employers actually advertise for. I believe the reason for this is so many employers (private and public) have IT folks who do this. Unless you are starting with a brand new institution (rare) or one who is just now using technology for their institution (even rare), they are going to already have this covered. What they want to know is can you work with their system. And given the plethora of database systems out there (off the shelf or homegrown), I think it is more important to show not that you have the ability to design or manage a database but that you can get up to speed on their system as rapidly as possible. How can you teach that in a class?
Anecdotal Evidence: I have a couple of old netbooks that I keep for when my grandchildren come down to visit. The oldest – my granddaughter knows what to do since we have been teaching her about computers and computing since she was tiny. However, my younger grandson has really only used a smartphone or tablet. He tried poking the screen to get Chrome to come up. When it didn’t happen, he very seriously said “Nana, you need to reboot. This isn’t working.”
We had mouse instruction immediately after that.
Please accept my sincere apologies for posting late.