An industry-first Bachelors Degree in Data Center Facilities Engineering, offered by The Institute of Technology in Ireland, will help both students and existing data centers alike, reported Network World.
Developed after lengthy consultations with Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, the Sligo-based school said the studies will focus on traditional enterprise data center practices with the hopes of graduating a class ready and able to help fill the skills gap in technology management and operation of data center facilities.
“Google is proud to support IT Sligo’s pioneering new engineering degree in data center facilities engineering and management,” said Denis Browne, Google’s EU regional data center lead.
“Google’s data centers are some of the best in the world, and we look for the best talent to work with us. Thanks to IT Sligo this online course will increase the skills of people already working in the sector, and for those who wish to work in the industry going forward.”
Most students of technology graduate with a broader education with a few specific data center courses sprinkled in, but this degree expects graduates to hit the ground running and fill entry-level positions with little, if any, on-site training needed.
This degree will come in very handy for students looking to pursue a Master’s Degree in Data Center Facilities Engineering at SMU’s School of Engineering in Dallas–with input from Hewlett Packard–because it is a prerequisite for attaining a higher degree there.
While students in the U.S. could complete the undergraduate coursework online, they would need to attend lab sessions in Belgium, making it more conducive to Europeans. However, the school said that now that the template is in place, other institutions could easily follow in its footsteps, creating worldwide opportunities.
See also: How to Get a Data Center Job at Google
One UK university recently made headway. Leeds University has directed some of its postgraduate engineering students towards dissertations specific to data centers and has engaged industry experts to help students. There are also plans to offer a specific masters degree in data center design.
According to Dr. Jon Summers of the University of Leeds, the university has recently beefed up its data center engineering undergraduate curriculum by developing industry-mentored projects focused on designing facilities for different climates. Universities in the U.S. have also begun investigating similar options.
Specific data center degrees are sorely needed, considering the workforce associated with data center operations tops 4 million, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That number is growing, with an expected increase of 2 million by 2018. Approximately 70 percent of these workers have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Up until now, the primary college-level curriculum has been on online course from the Institute for Data Center Professionals at Marist College.
See also: How to Get a Data Center Job at Facebook