The Need for an Emotional Intelligence for Information Technology Course: Framework for Educators and Academic Institutions

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Information Technology (IT) professionals are tasked with problem solving and educating the user on the solution at hand as well as assisting the organization with the correct use of technology to optimize business practices. The manner in which an IT professional communicates their knowledge and instructions for problem solving can be stifled through insufficient interpersonal skills. Currently, IT professionals use main sources of communication, such as email or a management system software tool, in which sufficient time can be taken to craft messages. However, when adequate time is not available to think about a response or read between the lines of a client’s problem, the IT professional may find it challenging to communicate with empathy of the client’s perspective, which can detract from the collaboration or problem-solving goal of the conversation. As such, organizations report that there is a vital need for IT students to understand and rely upon positive emotion intelligence (EI) to intergrade the interpersonal skills that allow the professional to be both a problem-solver and effective communicator. However, there is limited or nonexistent literature on the EI for IT courses, skills, and assessments. This research investigated current and past the employment needs by examining online IT job advertisements within the United States. Results revealed several key EI skills sought by IT employers. Based upon these results, a solid framework in support of an EI for IT course is offered. This research provides a solid framework for educators and higher education institutions to consider an emotional technology course within the IT curriculum.