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Reversing the Landslide in Computer-Related Degree Programs

Irma Becerra-Fernandez, Joyce Elam, and Susan Clemmons

Undergraduate and graduate enrollment in computer information system (CIS)-related coursework has been on a steady decline. The number of bachelor’s degrees in computer science has fallen dramatically since 2004; a similar trend is also affecting academic programs that combine business and IT education. Rumors of CIS faculty layoffs compound the grim job outlook of CIS graduates, who fear not being able to find jobs in a market already plagued by challenges brought about by the dot com demise and IT outsourcing. How can CIS programs survive? This article details some successful intervention strategies that can be implemented to weather the impending crisis, and details how these interventions helped one institution reverse the downturn and reinvent the image of its CIS programs.

Practical Intelligence in IT: Assessing Soft Skills of IT Professionals

Damien Joseph, Soon Ang, Roger H.L. Change, and Sandra A. Slaughter

What qualities make a successful IT professional? This study develops and tests a measure of soft skills or practical intelligence of IT professionals, defined as intrapersonal and interpersonal strategies for managing self, career, and others. The instrument—SoftSkills for IT (SSIT)—elicits individuals’ responses to IT work-related incidents and was administered to practicing IT professionals and inexperienced IT undergraduates. Results indicate that practical intelligence is measurable and SSIT discriminates between experienced and inexperienced IT professionals. This study concludes by identifying practical implications for selection, training, and development and proposes future research directions on assessing practical intelligence.

Wireless Insecurity: Examining User Security Behavior on Public Networks

Tim Chenoweth, Robert Minch, and Sharon Tabor

Wireless networks are becoming ubiquitous but often leave users responsible for their own security. The authors study whether users are securing their computers when using wireless networks. Automated techniques are used that scan users’ machines after they associate with a university wireless network. Results show that over 9% of 3,331 unique computers scanned were not using a properly configured firewall. In addition, almost 9% had at least one TCP port open, with almost 6% having open ports with significant security implications. The authors also discuss cases where connected computers were compromised by Trojan programs, such as SubSeven and NetBus.

Informatics Creativity: A Role for Abductive Reasoning?

John Minor Ross

Analysts and programmers may be stymied when faced with novel tasks that seem beyond the reach of prior education and experience. Sometimes a solution appears, however, while considering something else seemingly altogether unrelated. Coming up with new ideas or creative approaches to overcome such problems may be less daunting once the role of adductive reasoning is considered.

Designs for Effective Implementation of Trust Assurances in Internet Stores

Dongmin Kim and Izak Benbasat

A study of 85 online stories offers a snapshot of how often Internet stores use trust assurances and what concerns they address. These findings will help business managers understand how other companies use trust assurances and help identify what can be improved within their organizations. For example, the authors determine that about 38% of total assurances were delivered in an ineffective way, which might cause shopping-cart-abandonment problems. The article offers design guidelines for trust assurances for Web developers based on the authors’ analysis and previous studies.

Taking a Flexible Approach to ASPS

Farheen Altaf and David Schuff

There has been a recent revival of the ASP model through the notion of cloud computing and "software as a service." The purpose of this article is to better comprehend the Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) market for ASPs through an analysis of the factors that are most important to likely adopters. Through a survey of 101 SMEs, the authors find that cost, financial stability, reliability, and flexibility are all significantly associated with self-assessed likelihood of ASP adoption. Surprisingly, flexibility was negatively associated with likelihood of adoption, possibly indicating a perception that ASPs are not sought for their flexibility.

Managing a Corporate Open Source Software Asset

Vijay K. Gurbani, Anita Garvert, and James D. Herbsleb

Corporations have used open source software for a long time. But, can a corporation internally develop its software using the open source development models? It may seem that open source style development—using informal processes, voluntary assignment to tasks, and having few financial incentives—may not be a good match for commercial environments. This ongoing work demonstrates that under the right circumstances, corporations can indeed benefit from adopting open source development methodologies. This article presents findings on how corporations can structure software teams to succeed in developing commercial software using the open-source software development model.

Takes Two to Tango: How Relational Investments Improve IT Outsourcing Partnerships

Nikhil Mehta and Anju Mehta

As the recent economic crisis has shown, client-vendor partnership can quickly regress into a contractual arrangement with a primitive cost-cutting objective. Based on interviews with 21 vendor executives in India, the authors recommend that clients with a long-term vision for their IT outsourcing function may do well by developing mature partnerships with their vendors. To address the general lack of understanding about how to make it happen, the authors make provisional recommendations advising clients to make relational investments in selective areas. Key client benefits of such investments include improved service quality, cost savings, improved vendor sensitivity toward information security and privacy, and improved vendor capabilities to fulfill client’s future IT needs.

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