IT and telecommunications subjects provide the technology needed for today’s information based society, and the USA offers plenty of opportunities.
Living in the information age
It is often said that we live in the ‘information age’ or that we have an ‘information based society’ today. A key aspect of this observation is that we have extremely robust and agile networks that allow us to reach this information from almost every point on the planet. These networks range in size from personal area networks of a few feet or metres in range, to global wide area networks that include satellite links, under-ocean cables and mega-sized network access points. These networks, and the science, technology and business plans that support them, are changing on a daily basis and demand ever increasing numbers of highly educated individuals to operate, manage and update them.
“US colleges and universities are still among the leaders in these fields, and the US is a great place to study and conduct ICT research”. The United States and its educational and research institutions have played a critical role in the invention and development of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for over one hundred years. US colleges and universities are still among the leaders in these fields, and the US is a great place to study and conduct ICT research.
What is ITERA?
ITERA, the International Telecommunications Education and Research Association, is an organisation of colleges and universities who have programmes and degrees focused on ICT related disciplines.
Telecommunications involves the successful transport of voice, data, image and video information over a distance. The mission of ITERA is the advancement of telecommunications science through excellence in research and education. Telecommunications science draws from multiple disciplines, including management, technology and policy aspects of telecommunications.
The clear lines and historic boundaries that once separated telecommunications, computer science and information technology are disappearing. A natural convergence of industries and information technologies are blurring any remaining distinctions. To that end, all aspects of telecommunications research, networks, computer science and application are of interest to ITERA, including wired and wireless telephony, cable television, the internet, satellite communication, data networks, and the business plans and models that sustain the networks.
Telecommunications and university education
Several dozen schools across the USA offer degrees at the bachelor, master and PhD levels related to telecommunications and ICT. The ITERA website – www.itera.org – lists many of these schools and programmes. The core institutional members of ITERA are the almost two dozen major US colleges and universities listed here:
- 2Ball State University
- DePaul University
- Fort Hays State University
- Illinois State University
- James Madison University
- Liberty University
- Marion Technical College
- Michigan State University
- Murray State University
- Ohio University
- Oklahoma State University
- Purdue University
- Sauk Valley Community College
- Syracuse University
- Texas A&M University
- University of Colorado
- University of Oklahoma, Tulsa
- University of Pittsburgh
- Western Michigan University
One of the exciting things that these schools regularly offer students is the opportunity to participate in the annual ITERA conference. “The ITERA conference provides opportunities for students to socialise and network”
The three-day conference is held in a major US city each year and includes faculty and staff from ITERA schools, industry and government, and a special focus on participation by students at all levels. The conference includes a network design competition, best student paper competition and best research paper competition, all with cash prizes.
The network design competition is a particular highlight of the conference and features undergraduate and graduate student network solutions that include critical business aspects, such as return on investment and life cycle management plans. In addition to technical and business focused academic sessions, the ITERA conference includes presentations from government regulators, commercial enterprises, and entrepreneurs who specialise in ICT and telecommunications, as well as opportunities for students to socialise and network.
Exciting opportunitiesWe live in an exciting world, and as a global community we are drawn together by the Internet and the technologies and businesses that make it possible. At the heart of today’s information based society are information and communications technology that are expanding and changing rapidly. Research and development will continue to make networks faster, more reliable, more secure, easier to use and more affordable.Education and research in these technologies and businesses offer unlimited opportunities for individuals with the proper education and experience.
The United States, and in particular the member colleges and universities of ITERA, offer tremendous opportunities for students of all nations to learn and benefit from these institutions and the members of ITERA.
This article was written by Dr. Mike Bowman, President of ITERA