Tuesday, July 4, 2017

BTVI expanding IT programs

BTVI Information Technology instructor, Kevin McCartney guides student, Saveion Stubbs while in the IT lab. Photo: Shantique Longley

Following a recent curriculum review, the Information Technology (IT) department of The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) will now be offering a set of new and optimized programs come fall 2017.

The new programs include Associate of Applied Science degrees in Network Engineering, Software Engineering and a redesigned Information Technology Management degree.  This is in addition to an IT Support Specialist diploma and an IT Entry Level certificate program – the latter of which will also be available online.

The IT Entry Level certificate can be completed in 40-weeks online or on campus within a semester. It offers the essentials for a student with at least three Bahamas Junior Certificates to jumpstart a career in Information Technology. Further, it is a springboard into the institution’s diploma and associate’s degree programs.

Chair of BTVI’s IT program, Anthony Ramtulla said offering online program is proof that the institution is changing with technology.

“Every single piece of this program you will be able to do in the cloud.  We’re on the bleeding edge – not even on the cutting edge when it comes to our education,” said Mr. Ramtulla.

“A lot of the things we do at BTVI require that students be in the lab learning by experience.  However, some of our programs, especially at the early stages, are more cognitive, and we have technology where we can simulate the labs in the cloud, so you don’t have to leave home,” he added.

Furthermore, Mr. Ramtulla noted that IT programs are in demand and BTVI allows for students to also acquire international certifications from Microsoft, CompTIA or Cisco.

For example, Software Engineering program students will sit exams for the Oracle Certified Associate and Oracle Certified Professional certificates; Network Engineering students seek their Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification, while IT Management students, leave with their CompTIA Project+, A+, Network+, Linux+ and Security+ certifications.

“It is proof our courses are industry validated,” he boasted.

Meanwhile, BTVI ‘s IT degree students are now on a path to a Bachelor’s degree in just three years. This is possible because of an agreement with the fully accredited New England Institute of Technology (NEIT), Rhode Island, USA.

“Our IT program has been optimized to allow for easier transition to universities and colleges abroad. With our agreement with New England Tech, once you are in our IT Associate’s degree program, you can do one year here and two years there to complete your Bachelor’s degree, or two years here and one year there and complete your Bachelor’s degree in three years,” stated Mr. Ramtulla.

“One of the reasons we can do that is because of the quality of our IT programs. Our students when they go to Fanshawe College in Canada, for example, they are ‘A’ students. They are not just the average students. They perform well,” emphasized Mr. Ramtulla.

IT student, Dion Mackey is presently at Fanshawe College in Canada as an exchange student on an Emerging Leaders in Americas Program (ELAP) scholarship. Following his two-semester stint, he is expected to return to BTVI, to complete his degree. He lauded BTVI’s IT program as the way forward.

“Information Technology is always evolving. It’s not stagnant. There is always something to learn. It is such a diverse field,” he said. “I (got) so much from the IT program at BTVI. The certifications open doors and prepare you for jobs in the IT field.”

BTVI 2016 graduate Gerrard Russell had the same opportunity to study abroad at Fanshawe College. He returned to Canada in August 2016 and is now studying towards a Bachelor’s degree. Gerrard spoke highly of Mr. Ramtulla, who he acknowledged as inspiring him to go beyond the ordinary.

“He kicked me into gear. He motivated me to be better than average. I have never met anyone like him. At BTVI, it’s not the old desk and book system.  It’s more of an exploration of learning,” said the young man.

Mr. Ramtulla added that BTVI’s IT department is simply fulfilling the institution’s mandate to help build the workforce for The Bahamas and noted that several graduates are presently employed in the IT industry.