College business students need to gain a grasp of technical issues related to cloud computing, big data, security and other network issues they're likely to come across in their careers, so HP is now offering its first technical associate certification for them to cover these topics while in college.

"This is the first time we've had an IT course for business students," says Brian Beneda, director of HP Institute Worldwide, which manages HP's various IT certification programs that are generally presented as semester-long courses by instructors in academic institutions worldwide for college credit. Until today, these courses have all been for IT students.

"IT and business have to walk together," Beneda noted, adding it's apparent from discussions with HP customers and resellers that there's a skills gap as college graduates in business are entering the working world with inadequate knowledge about IT in general.

The course is not focused on vendor products but tackles typical network arrangements and industry standards, explaining why business managers, whose business data is at stake, need to show knowledge and leadership in helping IT teams make decisions about IT products and services. The course covers traditional in-house client/server technologies as well as newer areas of cloud computing and big data.

HP does subsidize some portion of the cost of the accreditation program, but academic institutions make the commitment to bring it into the academic mainstream of their colleges, Beneda stated. HP will be announcing colleges supporting the new "HP ExpertOne Accredited Technical Associate - IT for Business" certification program in the near future.