CCOB’s new Pegasystems software class sets GCU apart
By Peter Corbett
GCU News Bureau
Students in Grand Canyon University’s leading-edge Business Process Design class appear to have some bright prospects.
Some will have a shot at landing paid internships this summer and lots of interest from recruiters when they graduate, said Dr. Elissa Torres, who is teaching the 300-level undergraduate course this semester for the first time.
The course introduces students to Pegasystems Inc. software, increasingly being used by big companies for business-process and customer-relationship management. These are the systems and computer interfaces that businesses rely on to manage workflow and interact with customers.
GCU’s Colangelo College of Business is one of two U.S. universities leveraging the Pega software. The other is the University of South Florida in Tampa, which offers it in its online master’s program. Two universities in Hyderabad, India, are also teaching students about Pegasystems software.
Pega is viewed as an adaptable system that can be customized for its users with less demand for writing additional computer code to support it.
Began in January
Torres launched the pilot class in January and is teaching 14 students. Learning Pega software and concepts can help students pursue well-paying jobs as systems or solutions architects, she said. She plans to attend a Pega World Conference in Las Vegas in June and expects that companies will be looking to hire some of her students as paid interns.
“I want to help my students with finding good careers,” Torres said. “I want them to find something that will change their lives.”
The BUS-330 class is targeted for business technology, business intelligence, computer science and computer programming majors, she said.
One of the Torres’ students is in his final semester at Arizona State University and came across town to GCU specifically for the Pega class.
“This is a very hands-on class,” she said. “Students learn by troubleshooting because that’s what’s going to happen in real life.”
Major employers use it
Students who pass an external Pega exam to get certified will get a lot of interest from major employers, Torres said. American Express, Cisco, Charles Schwab and CVS are among the companies relying on Pega software.
Pegasystems, based in Cambridge, Mass., started operations in 1983. It has about 3,000 employees, and Pega’s revenue has increased from $100 million in 2005 to $653 million last year.
Torres, who has been teaching at GCU for four years, worked in computer systems in the health care and financial services sector and as a consultant.
Dr. Randy Gibb, the CCOB dean, said Torres’ industry relationships helped her bring the Pegasystems class to GCU to teach it to business students and those in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology.
2,000 jobs globally
A more advanced Pegasystems class is expected to be offered in spring 2017 by Dr. Isac Artzi, College of Science, Engineering and Technology program manager, Torres said.
“This is filling some of the demand” for Pegasystems specialists, she said, adding that global demand for those experts has been estimated at about 2,000 annually.
Pegasystems has its own training program, but it partnered with GCU and University of South Florida to try to meet more of that demand.
Torrres has been consulting with a Pegasystems executive in Texas during the semester to resolve any issues that come up.
“We’re working through the bugs in our pilot class,” she said. “We’re off to a great start.”
Contact Peter Corbett at (602) 639-7588 or [email protected]