Now you can learn to be green. IBM has developed a degree programme focused on green data centres to give computer science students the know-how to work in energy-efficient computer environments. 

Big Blue has collaborated with Metropolitan Community College (MCC) in Nebraska, to create the curriculum for the institution's Data Center Management course track. IBM will provide hardware, software and online course materials to assist MCC in offering this degree programme. The course is expected to take two years. 

A data centre on campus will serve as the classroom in which students can learn virtualisation and server consolidation, energy efficiency, business resiliency, and security and compliance skills as part of the degree program. The environment runs on IBM Power Systems servers running AIX, i and Linux technologies, according to IBM.

"Green has become essential to all IT organizations and this degree is designed to give students the skills they need to build more efficient data centers worldwide," said Mark Hanny, vice president of channels and alliances who runs IBM's Academic Initiative worldwide.

MCC made an ideal partner in this effort for IBM because its location "sits at an intersection of the fiber optic network running across the country" and several data centers have been located there - driving up the demand for IT professionals with such skills in the area, Hanny said. 

"We're seeing a dramatic increase in demand here in Nebraska for specialists who understand how to help companies reduce the costs associated with running an energy-intensive data centre," said Tom Pensabene, dean of IT at MCC. "Now our students are getting exposure to leading-edge IBM technologies, increasing their changes of being hired for jobs in this growing area."

The courses offered as part of the 2-year, 36-course-hour Associates degree program include networking security, applied data centremanagement, building a secure environment, virtualization, remote access and monitoring, among several others. The curriculum also includes 16 pieces of courseware around green technology, much of which IBM provides free of charge online.

"The degree combines IT, data center and facilities management to prepare this generation of technical students with a mix of business and IT skills to a run a more energy-efficient data centre," Hanny sid.

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