The Landscape of Computing: Benchmarking ITP Computing Degrees

Wednesday 1:20pm - 2:00pm, (CITRENZ 1 Room)

In March 2021 the ACM/IEEE-CS Computing Curricula 2020 (CC2020) report was published [1]. This report covers all the areas of computing and is global in its attention. The report looks at and analyses the six discipline areas of computing that currently have ACM and IEEE-CS approved curricula: Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Software Engineering, Information Systems, Information Technology and Cyber Security [1]. The report does not yet include Data Science as that new curriculum is still under development.

A clear difference exist between the computing disciplines and that they all have distinguishing characteristics that are essential for their individual identities. Traditionally these areas had their own degrees and were taught in universities globally. The Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITP’s) were approved to teach degree programmes in the early 1990’s and computing was one of the first subject areas to offer degree programmes. Due to the nature of the close alliance of industry with ITP qualifications the ITP degrees reflected the needs of industry with the underpinning theory required, hence they were much more multi disciplinary that the traditional computing degrees.

The CC2020 Steering Committee analysed all the approved curricula in the six discipline areas and looked for any overlaps. For example all the areas have some aspect of programming but not all at the same level. A Landscape of Computing table was then developed with six main topic area which include 34 subsections. Each computing discipline specifies a minimum and maximum value suggesting an importance range within which most degree programs are likely to fall. This table was then further developed to include the minimum and maximum values required for each discipline level. Table 1. [2]
This table is of significant relevance to the ITP computing sector in New Zealand. It can be used to visualise the ITP computing degrees and where there is more or less relevance to the degree programme, the local industry and the national interests as a whole.

The CC2020 project also developed online visualisations of the knowledge areas, where stakeholders can assess a degree program with the values required and then match it against any of the current approved curricula.
This paper will describe the development of the Landscape of Computing table, it’s significance and relevance to the ITP sector current degrees and any future updates that are envisaged.

[1] Curriculum Curricula 2020: Paradigms for Global Computing Education.:
[2] Clear, A., Parrish, A. et al Curriculum Curricula 2020: Paradigms for Global Computing Education.


Alison Clear

Associate Professor, EIT

Alison Clear is an Associate Professor at the Auckland campus of the Eastern Institute of Technology. She has an extensive academic and professional career that has involved academic leadership in research, scholarship, teaching and curriculum development nationally and internationally and an extensive publication record in national and international conferences and journals in computing and information technology. Her research interests include Women and Computing, ICT in developing countries, elearning implementation and the development of computing education. Alison is an invited international keynote speaker, has been a member of the international ACM Educational Council, member and vice chair of the ACM Special Interest Group in Computer Science Education and Fellow of the Institute of Information Technology Professionals (IITP) and Fellow of the Computing and Information Technology Research and Education in New Zealand (CITRENZ). In 2020 she received the ACM SIGCSE award for Lifetime Service to Computer Science education. She recently lead an international research project CC2020 of 50 people from 22 countries to redefine the computing curricula for 2020 forward.