Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Education IT Hardware Technology

Skills Needed For a Future In IT 258

Posted by Soulskill
from the zeno's-arrow-points-to-the-help-desk dept.
Lucas123 writes "An increase in the pace of change in IT has created new dynamics for jobs involving the Web, mobile computing and virtualization. For those looking to enter the marketplace in years to come, 30-somethings hoping to upgrade their skills, or those who'll be winding their careers down by 2020, skill sets are drastically changing. For example, graphics chips are doubling in capacity every six months. That translates into a thousandfold increase in capacity over a five-year period — the average shelf life of most game platforms. 'We've never seen anything like it in any industry.' Colleges are in continual catch-up mode and have only recently added project management and soft skills training to computer science programs. According to one expert, 'They're about five years behind where they need to be.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Skills Needed For a Future In IT

Comments Filter:
  • Well, then maybe one should just study project management and soft skills. So in a few years, all we'll have will be some soft managers, thinking they know something about computer science.
    • by sconeu (64226)

      Of course, project management has actually been part of a "Software Engineering" course for a while.

      • Re:So what? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gbjbaanb (229885) on Monday August 23, 2010 @03:57PM (#33347056)

        and nowadays its more important that any knowledge of computing - once you know how to manage an outsourced team, you're golden. Who needs to know anything about actually doing anything after all.

        Next week's lesson: how you never need to work again because your rising house price earns more than you do.

        • by hedwards (940851)
          I agree with you in the sense that for the last decade or two at least there's been a real disincentive provided for competence or knowledge of the field you're managing. Some people are genuinely able to manage workers that are doing things they don't get with great results, however usually it doesn't work out, the ego just gets in the way. If a particular manager can set aside his or her ego to get the people doing the work the resources to do a good job and can find genuine talent as well as deflect the
  • by hessian (467078) on Monday August 23, 2010 @03:36PM (#33346750) Homepage Journal

    'They're about five years behind where they need to be.'

    These days, anyone that industry likes is an "expert."

    College works best when it functions as (a) a qualification program and (b) a general, background, theoretical and broad study of the subject matter.

    Qualification in this case means that you go to college to endure an extended test that ultimately shows how dedicated and intelligent you were. Made it through four years of Harvard? You're pretty good, usually.

    A general background means that you study the theory and a broad survey of the topic, so that you understand the underlying issues and the basic methods of addressing them.

    I don't think it makes sense to teach specifics in college, except vocational colleges like community colleges. That's the kind of stuff you learn on your first few jobs anyway, and it's so rapidly changing that trying to get college to teach it is a moving target no one will hit.

    • by Peach Rings (1782482) on Monday August 23, 2010 @03:45PM (#33346892) Homepage

      Not to mention that the amount of arrogance in calling academia some kind of industry training ground is ludicrous. Who is he to tell the universities where they "need to be?"

      If you ask me, it's academia that is important and significant, and industry is just something you have to do for food.

      • by BooRadley (3956)
        If you ask me, it's academia that is important and significant, and industry is just something you have to do for food.

        I'm guessing your work email address ends in .edu?

        • Judging by his homepage, I think perhaps all of his communications with the outside world should be mediated by healthcare professionals. That video was almost weirder than the intro to Katamari Forever.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jellomizer (103300)

        I hope you are not serious.
        1. Colleges spend millions of dollars to advertise themselves as a way to get the best careers and make a ton of money.

        2. Indrusty still has a lot of areas of R&D.

        3. Odly enough people actually have jobs they like to do and end up doing a lot of good and making money at it too.

        4. Accedemia is no more moral then indrustry. They still want all your money and will do anything to get it. At least if you work for industry you can get real work experience and change jobs.

    • by bsDaemon (87307) on Monday August 23, 2010 @03:47PM (#33346920)

      Quit thinking like an academic and start thinking like a business... "on-the-job training" is a cost sink hole, because they don't want to pay enough or provide good enough benefits to keep people around long enough to make any investment in training worth it. So they want schools to do it, but the schools have this funny notion about how they're supposed to teach people who to learn and think, not how to work with technology X, because they know technology X is going to be obsolete in a few years anyway.

      The HR people who don't know what they're talking about, look at a check list and can't think about how a skill in one thing might translate (odd, because they're philosophy degrees prepared them to ask big, important questions right out of school... like "do you want fries with that?" before they "translated" their skill set in to HR... hrm...). Case in point, this hosting company I used to work at got real corporate about the time I left, and actually got some HR people and whatnot. A friend of mine applied there, got an interview, and then was told no because he didn't know PHP, despite having a few years of Perl. Cause, you know, the sheet said PHP, and programming can't possibly just be programming, right?

      • by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Monday August 23, 2010 @04:04PM (#33347136)

        A friend of mine applied there, got an interview, and then was told no because he didn't know PHP, despite having a few years of Perl. Cause, you know, the sheet said PHP, and programming can't possibly just be programming, right?

        That's not completely invalid, unless your friend was the only candidate.

        Learning a new programming language is usually trivial. Learning all of the libraries, design ideas, best practices, hidden pitfalls, etc. around that language usually isn't. Hell, at an enterprise level I'm not an especially qualified Java developer today despite having a good 8 or so years of professional Java dev on my resume because so much of the constructs and practices around the language are constantly changing and I haven't done enough of it lately.

        Sometimes someone who has the background to eventually learn how to do a job well is good enough -- but if you're competing with people who are ready to do it on day one because they do have the specific experience, don't be surprised if you don't get the offer.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by vlm (69642)

          Sometimes someone who has the background to eventually learn how to do a job well is good enough -- but if you're competing with people who are ready to do it on day one because they do have the specific experience, don't be surprised if you don't get the offer.

          "specific experience". The primary goal should be to find the field you want to work in (telecom? medical? whats left of industry?) and get a minor in that area. The original poster should have been able to tell the HR guy he is an IT solutions provider with a minor and experience in biomedical electronics or whatever the company did. No one wants a PHP coder as an end result, they want a specific business goal achieved. Show some expertise in the business.

          The other thing that kills me about this is n

          • The other thing that kills me about this is new hires must be a perfect match, but anyone here longer than six months has already gone thru three complete reorgs to totally new platforms. So ... the entire current staff has to do OJT but new hires cannot? Anyone who's actually held an IT job longer than six months can back me up on this.

            To be fair, the current staff already has knowledge of the company's business domain, practices, personnel, legacy projects, etc. that gives them value over a new hire.

            (Not

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by HereIAmJH (1319621)

              To be fair, the current staff already has knowledge of the company's business domain, practices, personnel, legacy projects, etc. that gives them value over a new hire.

              That's all well and good, but new hires have skills outside of specific technologies as well. Those applicants can be completely discounted because they have Java rather than C# or PHP vs Perl. Project management, industry knowledge, and end user skills are viewed as inconsequential during the hiring process. Which is a shame because IT ha

      • by malkavian (9512) on Monday August 23, 2010 @04:09PM (#33347174) Homepage

        Actually, Philosophy wouldn't be bad, as you could appeal to their logic. Philosophers are usually pretty decent at that.
        The problem is that HR is frequently filled with arts, media and 'communication studies' graduates who fervently believe that as long as they keep talking and passing paper around, it'll all be alright.
        They rarely have any idea of what the jobs they're advertising for are actually about, but hey, put a tick in the box, and what could possibly go wrong!

        The biggest problem with HR is lots of power (they create the policies by which hirings and firings can be made), with very little accountability.

        • by jlechem (613317)
          These policies are dictated by a bevy of state and federal laws. The threats of civil lawsuits and the state/federal agencies auditing you keeps companies in compliance with these laws. My spouse does HR for a large company and there is a lot of accountability in their HR department. Maybe at shit-co the 2 person chop house where your boss is the HR manager you get power mongers in the HR dept. But any good company will follow the regulations and should be able to point you to a guidance on why they do
        • by hedwards (940851)
          Indeed, most jobs are so poorly advertised that the only people that apply are hopelessly deluded or arrogant. They'll ask for 4x as much experience as they need, an extra level of education and still expect to pay less than what a typical graduate without experience can afford to take. Then there's the attitude that they'll have of expecting people to fill the qualifications precisely. Granted when the economy gets ugly enough they can get away with it, but in general I'm not sure how this would be OK.
      • I got turned down for a job recently making e-commerce sites. I know php, mysql, have used netbeans, know how to program using MVC, well informed on sql and xss attacks, know how to use mod_rewrite, have used PEAR packages, know javascript and xml, have run my own WAMP and LAMP servers with different packages and manual setups.

        But I know Magento as opposed to osCommerce. And I haven't used the Zend framework for more than a few hours. And was told that I wasn't needed because of the lack of those skills.
    • by roman_mir (125474) on Monday August 23, 2010 @03:48PM (#33346944) Homepage Journal

      Academia vs Business, it's all explained here [xkcd.com].

    • by Midnight's Shadow (1517137) on Monday August 23, 2010 @03:50PM (#33346972)
      I was once told 'college is a great place to learn as long as you don't let classes get in the way.' It is a shame that they told me that AFTER college...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hedwards (940851)
        You must not have gone to a very good school then. The one I went to had a huge amount of stuff to learn both in and out of class time. Very stressful at times not really ever being completely on my own time, but I learned an amazing amount of stuff about the process of learning.
      • Sounds like a variation on Mark Twain's quote, "Never let your schooling interfere with your education."
    • I don't think it makes sense to teach specifics in college, except vocational colleges like community colleges. That's the kind of stuff you learn on your first few jobs anyway, and it's so rapidly changing that trying to get college to teach it is a moving target no one will hit.

      I don't think its as bad as everyone is saying (or at least in my anecdotal experience). I mean, yes, I was taught Object Oriented Programming in C# and VB.NET and we used Python and Perl and Java and Oracle and a whole smorgasborg of languages that will undoubtedly be trumped and obsolete in 5-10 years time.

      But I think hands on experience with that kind of stuff is the best way to grasp the theory of it. I think its best that you are taught a wide variety of specific items so that you can draw the similari

    • Qualification in this case means that you go to college to endure an extended test that ultimately shows how dedicated and intelligent you were. Made it through four years of Harvard? You're pretty good, usually.

      ... or you have rich parents and/or are good at bullshitting.

  • by elucido (870205) *

    The last thing we need is for mundane society to catch up with the trend and stifle it like they did to the web and are trying to do with the internet. The more they catch up the more jobs they ship overseas, the more middle management we end up with, the slower growth becomes, the less profitable it is for small business owners, and the more big business monopolies corner the market.

    I hope they never catch up. I hope it's wave after wave after wave. It's better to ride the waves and surf the trends than to

    • Mundane Society (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Infonaut (96956)

      The last thing we need is for mundane society to catch up with the trend...

      Yes, what he said. Please, for the love of God, do not spread knowledge! Keep us elites strong, and let the masses rot! The last thing we want is an economy that can keep up. When the ship goes down, I want to be the rat sitting on the tallest mast.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by elucido (870205) *

        The last thing we need is for mundane society to catch up with the trend...

        Yes, what he said. Please, for the love of God, do not spread knowledge! Keep us elites strong, and let the masses rot! The last thing we want is an economy that can keep up. When the ship goes down, I want to be the rat sitting on the tallest mast.

        College isn't free. The people who go to college who seek only knowledge are already elite enough to be able to pay for it. The people who educate themselves don't need to go to college to learn this stuff. So once again you assume all those college degrees have helped the economy or the internet ecosystem and they haven't. The only thing it has done was raise the barrier of entry. Now any kid who has talent and knowledge will be ignored in favor of the mediocre kid from mundane society with a degree or two

        • by hedwards (940851)
          Depends where you live. In some parts of the world college is free for anybody that's able to out compete the competition to get admitted. Which is a completely different type of elitism. In the US, if you're that poor the odds are much better of getting somebody else to pay for it, provided you can demonstrate that you need the money more than the other people do.

          What we really need to be moving away from is the idea that everybody needs to go to college. A significant number of people out there would b
      • by russotto (537200)

        When the ship goes down, I want to be the rat sitting on the tallest mast.

        I want to be the rat with his own personal laser-armed shark as a mount.

  • Five years behind? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Manip (656104) on Monday August 23, 2010 @03:37PM (#33346762)
    They've been calling colleges out for being "five years behind" since the first Computer Science programs started. But truthfully they are always at least five years behind, but while true the skills most teach are already "soft" enough to transfer into the latest and greatest toys. Java? Now you can write PHP, or C#. C? Now you can write Object C, D, and C++.

    There is always this interesting push between what I like to term the Computer Science Vs. Software Engineering people, in which the former always wants to play with new interesting toys, write code, and generally act like an impulsive teenager, while the latter wants to be an old man, being safe, writing plans, timetables, and those middle management bits that drive CS people up the wall.

    I think when we're young (mentally) we're CS, and as we age we gradually turn into Software Engineers.
    • by vux984 (928602) on Monday August 23, 2010 @03:54PM (#33347012)

      There is always this interesting push between what I like to term the Computer Science Vs. Software Engineering people, in which the former always wants to play with new interesting toys, write code, and generally act like an impulsive teenager, while the latter wants to be an old man, being safe, writing plans, timetables, and those middle management bits that drive CS people up the wall.

      I think when we're young (mentally) we're CS, and as we age we gradually turn into Software Engineers.

      Agreed - except for the terminology. The group you call CS are just 'software hackers' (in the good sense of the word).

      CS is a completely separate item...its actual computer science (algorithms, complexity theory, logic, network topology, relational calculus, etc...).

      Hackers and engineers both benefit from CS... but it really has no bearing on whether you hack a ruby on rails (lanuage selected as place holder for 'trendy new language you also learned while doing the project') project together in an afternoon based on the 'specs in your head' or take a month to architect it in java (language selected as place holder for older language developer has lots of experience with) with defined project milestones, spec's documentation, interface documentation, etc.

      CS is orthoganal to project management.

    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      agreed - but.. the "CS" guys are just hackers who want to play with their toys, the "Software engineers" have gotten bored with cool new stuff turning out to be the same old crap.

      Real business needs the old guys more - but always ends up hiring the new guys. That'd be completely crazy.. in any industry but IT.

      Anyway, it turns out students aren't interested in IT anyway, I'd like to say its because of the "churn" - every year you have to learn some new language, framework, feature. Often for no good reason o

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MightyMartian (840721)

      It's called "learning the basics". It's not like we're dealing with quantum computers yet. The basic principles that worked 20 years ago are still applicable today. It's just bloody hardware folks. Yes, there are some newer concepts, or rather old concepts pioneered in the 1960s and 1970s are finally being put into gear. But for a guy like me, who does network administration, WTF do I care how many cores the GPU has? If someone needs to do some big-time 3D modeling, okay, I'll do a bit of reading, fig

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      You've mis-characterized Computer Science significantly. Computer science has nothing to do with writing code, and everything to do with designing algorithms. Code is a convenient way of describing an algorithm, but it's not an algorithm.

      The difference? Porting Emacs to the Amiga is coding. Analyzing the automatic indentation algorithm and finding ways to reduce the amount of backtracking is computer science.

    • I think when we're young (mentally) we're CS, and as we age we gradually turn into Software Engineers.

      Maybe because as our careers develop, many of us are given responsibility over increasingly large and complex development projects. And when we start to think hard about how to be successful with those projects, voila, we're doing software engineering.

  • by bjackson1 (953136) on Monday August 23, 2010 @03:37PM (#33346764)

    I've been working in IT for some time now, and I think that that any specialized hard-skils are pointless. Most of my success has been able to adapt to new technologies, languages, ideas, etc. IT is constantly changing (which is what attracted me to it). What you need is a solid background in IT concepts (how to program in A language, how to understand the TCP/IP stack, what a protocol is, etc), a solid understanding of interpersonal communication, and a willingness to change and adapt.

    • by Richard Steiner (1585) <rsteiner@visi.com> on Monday August 23, 2010 @03:53PM (#33347004) Homepage Journal

      Until then, it's the hard skills that most companies use as the prime determinate for whether or not a given application gets a first-level interview.

      IT is one of the absolutely worst industries for pigeonholing, and your last job is the one that gets tattooed on your forehead, not the stuff you know (or think you know) the best.

      Welcome to reality ... for the past 20+ years, sadly. I don't see it changing soon, as that requires an actual level of understanding on the part of those that be hiring.

      • Scary for a newbie too. Looking at all the jobs you could do given 2-3 weeks of research since they all require weird specific experience. Jobs pop up and then vanish before the 2-3week period. And even if they didn't if you don't get that job then you wasted your time learning a framework or app or coding style or testing suite that you may never ever need to use again.

        And it only gets more frustrating from there. "Requires 3-5 years experience." - the most common line you'll see on a programming job po
    • by mlts (1038732) * on Monday August 23, 2010 @04:19PM (#33347314)

      Being in IT, there are some concepts that just stand the test of time, regardless if it was the 90s and working with IRIX or today where one is using Nexus switches as SAN heads:

      1: The concept of production equipment. This is a fact that a lot of people don't understand. Production machines don't get packages du jour installed on them. Any changes are well documented both to help other co-workers as well as for CYA reasons. This is a concept that a lot of people don't get until well-bloodied in the IT arenas. There is a reason why xroach and xbaby are likely not present on the production SAP cluster, and it is a good one.

      2: The concept of the fact that sometimes a commercial product has a price tag, but it will more than pay for itself with time and effort saved. For example, I can cobble a backup solution together with rsync that all the machines on a network can dump to a device. Or I can use a chargeable backup product like Networker, NetBackup, TSM, or another utility that can do D2D2T, keep track of what media is where, generate recovery plans, ensure media is encrypted, and keep track of the rotation of media coming and going from Iron Maiden's offsite facility. For production critical stuff, the commercial program may cost a lot, but if deployed correctly, will be worth the price tag.

      3: The concept of OS agnosticism. Yes, a person may like a certain platform, but in IT, various operating systems are best for different tasks.

      4: Basic data center stuff. Don't store your beer in the CRAC ducts. Don't lift up the molly guard on the EPO switch as a joke because there is a chance of getting bumped and falling into it. Put the raised floor tiles back so the other people don't fall down. Don't use your tongue on the Ethernet cables to check for carrier because it corrodes contacts. Don't bring the 44 ounce Big Guzzles with lids that are not firmly in place. Same with uncovered coffee mugs. Don't stand on the racks to try to get something at the ceiling. Don't haul a 400 pound rack of Sun equipment with multiple disk arrays up the stairs because the elevator is slow. This is common sense stuff, but there are people who don't get this, and there is nothing worse than sitting in a server room as the room goes absolutely silent, since someone mashed the EPO button on a dare.

      5: Common courtesy. Yes, someone may have root/Admin access, but if they are on systems they don't own trying to fix stuff, it causes big problems due to communication. If someone is on a system that isn't "theirs" and spots an issue, try communicating first.

      6: Stuff changes. The days of remembering how easy and BSD-like SunOS 4.1.4 are long since past. Same with the days of SONET, dual-ring FDDI, ATM rings, and 4/16 mbps token ring networks. One has to adapt, remember the old stuff fondly, and realize that those technologies are history, replaced by Solaris, switched core/edge fabric, and cat 6a drops.

      7: The ability to spend time wisely. There may be some issue that comes up that may take a lot of time to solve. However, it might be that that has to be handed over to someone else, or *GASP* company tech support must be called. Time for an IT person is precious, so tinkering with a problem may be fun, but it may land one into hot water as other things are left unfinished.

      None of this stuff is taught in a classroom.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Blakey Rat (99501)

      I think schools should be teaching more usability. I wager over half of programmers go on to make something with a UI in it, and crummy UI has been a long-standing problem in our industry. (Not talking necessarily about boxed software, which generally does an ok job, but bespoke software.)

    • by ph1ll (587130)

      I've been making good money these last 5 years working for Wall St banks - so I'm possibly doing something right. The conclusions I've come to are (in no particular order):

      1. Specialize in a broad discipline :-P While I agree that you must show a willingness to change and adapt, I don't think that necessarily means learning new languages. There is still a shortage of people who know established languages and libraries intimately.
      2. No matter what those with techno-ADHD say, Java and Csharp are not going anywhe
  • I was trying to read TFA but this newfangled whatchacallit, where you put lines to make pictures that together make words? I am in my thirties, I couldn't understand it, it was too hard. Also the thingies on the bottom of the pages, with numbers where you place the mouse-cross and switch the button to open a new page, I could barely figure it out!

    Clearly, the story is too complex and good that those 50 year olds don't have to read it, cause obviously they are going to die off soon and won't have to work, a

  • Most companies (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Monday August 23, 2010 @03:38PM (#33346802)
    Most jobs I apply for have a silly long list of skills that seem to have nothing to do with one another. I don't see how any one can apply for a job when the list of skills is over a page long and ranges from 'knowledge of random proprietary software used only by big corporations' to Must know how to program in 'these 20 languages'. I don't see how most of these companies can expect to find a single person who can do all these things and then do it for 15 dollars and hour. Maybe the job market got more competitive or maybe people are just really good at lying about what they can and can't do but it just doesn't seem realistic to expect someone to do 40 things that are only loosely related with their 'job' as it's described.
    • Re:Most companies (Score:4, Interesting)

      by malkavian (9512) on Monday August 23, 2010 @04:15PM (#33347258) Homepage

      Often, it's a role they have someone lined up for internally, but are forced to send out to advertisement due to policy (especially the case in the public sector).
      When setting up a job description, you tailor it to exactly the skillset of the person you're hiring; it'll be highly unlikely anyone else matching it would apply (or succeed even if they get to interview).
      The big problem is that HR just take out this old job description and send it out again once said person moves on, ending up with a morass of unlikely skills that are hard to fit to a single person.

    • also the need BS or MS for some IT jobs does not help.
      By 2020 will it be PHD for help desktop level 1?

    • Thank god it isn't just me that thinks that. I know you can specialize within programming. But lets try to break it into ~6 different specializations to cover >95% of programming jobs.

      It'd be like looking for someone to work at a TimHortons (coffee shop) and saying that you require 2-3years experience using a Bunn CDBCF15 coffee maker. And a list of 30 other requirements.

      I do think as well that lots of people lie through their teeth and if they get a call for an interview they don't sleep till that
    • by jlechem (613317)
      There are a couple of scenarios here. 1. They want to scare people away, seriously people bullshit their resumes and employers want to herd out the douchebags. This is by far the most common according to my HR resources. 2. The hiring manager is an idiot, and simply stuck as many buzz words as possible on the list. 3. They have a candidate they want to hire, but must post the position to be fair to everyone (ties into number 1).
  • From TFA

    "You bring a programmer or network administrator on board, and they don't have the big-picture view of how the business runs," he says. One recent hire, he notes, could program user interfaces but had no concept of a database. Another didn't know what an invoice was.

    Where the heck are you finding your graduates? e-Click online university? I only skimmed this article, but it seems to be along the lines of "You'll need soft skills such as communication and adaptation". I thought this was already the situation, surely one can't get a job on server management skills alone right? They had to go through at least 1 interview.

    Seriously, things are only changing as much as we expected them too. 5 years from now people will be as ill prepared for a career as they are now

  • Nonsense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xugumad (39311) on Monday August 23, 2010 @03:42PM (#33346850)

    > Consider, he says, that graphics chips are doubling in capacity every six months. That translates into a thousandfold increase in capacity over a five-year period -- the average shelf life of most game platforms. "We've never seen anything like it in any industry," he says.

    Yes. I definitely remember my XBox 360 being 3 orders of magnitude more powerful than the XBox. I hate to cite Wikipedia, but this appears to show a 5 times increase in 4 years: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Transistor_count&oldid=374101890#GPUs [wikipedia.org]

    > At the same time, colleges can't adapt their curricula fast enough to prepare students for the complexities of cloud computing and virtualization, not to mention specific technologies such as Microsoft SharePoint, observers say. Recent graduates also seem naive when it comes to business basics and how computing foundations apply to the real world, says David Buzzell, CIO at The Sedona Group, a Moline, Ill.-based workforce management services provider.

    That's not new. Most colleges/universities do theory-heavy courses designed to let you learn the next big technology. If you want a MS certificate to say you grok Sharepoint, you can get that for a LOT less than a college degree.

    > Another didn't know what an invoice was.

    If you advertise for a someone with 2-5 years experience of a software package with 2007 in the name... http://seeker.dice.com/jobsearch/servlet/JobSearch?op=101&dockey=xml/0/5/0598524509067860fbf7aef52a6ae982@endecaindex&c=1&source=20 [dice.com]

    • That's not new. Most colleges/universities do theory-heavy courses designed to let you learn the next big technology.

      True, but universities could choose to provide more of a practical or business-useful tilt. (I don't want to get into the argument of whether or not they should.)

      The example I always use is that in four years of undergrad classes at a top-rated (at the time, I have no idea if it still is) American university for computer science, I never encountered a database. In industry, I'm not sure I'v

      • by hibiki_r (649814)

        Is that really the norm? When I graduated, over a decade ago, most people took a class on relational algebra, and the practical side of it involved writing an app against a relational db, typically using the C bindings.

        • I couldn't say if it's the norm, just the way it was for me.

          Our required classes on relational algebra were all theory/math and zero practical application. That was most of my classes, to be fair.

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Monday August 23, 2010 @03:44PM (#33346878)
    The ability to bullshit people into thinking that you know what you are doing despite the fact that half your job consists of trial-and-error attempts to work around the constraints imposed by other people that managed to bullshit people into thinking they knew what they were doing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by StikyPad (445176)

      Sounds like the makings of the best Successories poster ever.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by sitarlo (792966)
      I've been in IT since the 80s and I've never read a better description of this essential skill.
  • It's college. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Hatta (162192) on Monday August 23, 2010 @03:46PM (#33346914) Journal

    College is not supposed to be vocational training. College ensures a good foundation, and hopefully some work ethic and study skills. Nobody comes out of college knowing everything they need to do their job. They come out of college knowing everything they need to be readily trained.

    • College is not supposed to be vocational training. College ensures a good foundation, and hopefully some work ethic and study skills. Nobody comes out of college knowing everything they need to do their job. They come out of college knowing everything they need to be readily trained.

      College for my generation is what highschool was to previous generations. Only college costs $50,000 while highschool was free. Yeah thats progress...

    • Re:It's college. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Locke2005 (849178) on Monday August 23, 2010 @04:10PM (#33347188)
      They come out of college knowing everything they need to be readily trained.

      More importantly, they come out of college knowing people they will need to know to get job referrals.
    • by malkavian (9512)

      Yep, my Real Time Systems course tutors told me when we all graduated "We've not been trying to teach you things, we've been trying to teach you how to learn for yourselves".
      The point being that we'd got all the theory we needed to match the syntax of programming languages to the base theory, and run with it. Whatever we came across that was new, it would likely have similarities to the old that we could latch on to and have a valid frame of reference, letting us pick it up faster than most.
      That to me is v

  • by ChefInnocent (667809) on Monday August 23, 2010 @03:47PM (#33346930)
    10 years ago when I was in college, I asked what the future of computing was going to be like. I was told that linear algebra would probably become much more important because quantum computing was on the horizon. Quantum computing still hasn't materialized, but linear algebra is looking to be more important anyway. The cool bit about linear algebra: it's always been useful. 10 years ago, we were talking about resource problems. Today those problems still exist. A good algorithm is just as important, and understanding the computability of a problem. 10 years ago, we were talking about the importance of having a deep understanding of the languages, not just knowing "C, C++, or Java". Today, a deep understanding will still help, and knowing only the fad-language-of-the-day will still get you in trouble. 10 years ago we talked about multi-processor programming. Today we talk about mutli-core programming. Multi-threaded applications have been around for a long time. Other issues: security, project management, and software lifecycle. I've yet to see a new issue, just an old one in a different way.

    6 years ago, I wrote a software requirement spec, and software design spec. In it I said the web application had to be able to run efficiently on a 300MHz processor over a 56K modem. I didn't realize that in 6 years, smart phones were going to be so predominant that people would still be using 300MHz processors over 56K connections.

    Today, tomorrow, yesterday; it's all about understanding the fundamentals. The details may change, but the foundation is the same.
  • "...are doubling in capacity every six months. That translates into a thousandfold increase in..."

    No. This is wrong. If you FOLD something, you double it. So in five years, with ten folds, that makes an increase by a factor of 512. Nice and easy. But it's not 1000 (that would take another 6 months), and it's nowhere near a "thousandfold", which would be a factor of 5.3E300.
    While it may sound good for the marketers, please don't use descriptors that are factually wrong on Slashdot.

    Also, people are behind the cutting edge of technology? I am shocked.
    Let's make a template for this story that takes

    • by sribe (304414)

      So in five years, with ten folds, that makes an increase by a factor of 512.

      Uhm, no, it's 1024.

      ...nowhere near a "thousandfold", which would be a factor of 5.3E300.

      Uhm, no, you're making up your own (unusual) definition for a common word. Thousandfold means "a thousand times as great or as much", not "a thousand folds in two".

      While it may sound good for the marketers, please don't use descriptors that are factually wrong on Slashdot.

      Yeah, well...

      • naw, you're thinking 2^10, which does equal 1024, but if you double one, ten times, then it's only 512. The initial unit doesn't start at two.

        no, you're making up your own (unusual) definition for a common word.

        Damnit, you're right...
        ok, fine.
        But I contend that it SHOULD be more like actual folding. Which, yeah, doesn't count for much.

        • by sribe (304414)

          naw, you're thinking 2^10, which does equal 1024, but if you double one, ten times, then it's only 512. The initial unit doesn't start at two.

          If you double 1, 10 times, that's 2^10. Double 1 a single time, that's 2^1. Double it a second time, that's 2^2. Double it a tenth time, that's 2^10.

  • by mcmonkey (96054) on Monday August 23, 2010 @03:48PM (#33346952) Homepage

    After my latest round of interviews for an open developer spot on my team, I decided the skills I'm looking for in IT can be identified by this test:

    http://www.drunkmenworkhere.org/170 [drunkmenworkhere.org]

    Notice there's no mention of code, development methodology, or any other IT concepts.

    And that's fine by me, because all those things change. I don't need a Windows IIS guru, because we're likely to switch over to Apache Tomcat next year. I don't care how l33t your PHP skillz are, I want to know how useful you are going to be when we need to move all the code over to JAVA.

    Basically, I want to know how well you can answer the questions I don't yet know to ask. New technologies, new challenges, new bugs. I need to know how well you can think.

    There you are. That's the skill need in IT--past, present, and future. Can you think?

    • by Rhys (96510)

      Not just think. You need to be able to learn and remember at least some of it. Also a willingness to ask questions, because at least half the time what you're being asked to do is what someone thinks they need done, but not what they actually need done. Some social skills there doesn't hurt, especially with convincing someone they don't want what they asked for.

    • by malkavian (9512)

      That, in a nutshell, is the crux of the matter. However, this is always pitted against glossy advertising and people who don't actually understand what they're hiring for (and don't have the mental leanings to find out).
      It's far easier for HR departments to disengage the brain and pluck words from a glossy brochure than it is to actually discover what'll be best for long term growth.

  • I LOL'd (Score:2, Funny)

    by toxonix (1793960)
    "Keeping up with change can be as simple as experimenting with the latest consumer devices. Druby carries an iPad, and Sims uses three different smartphones and recently ordered an Android-based tablet. Chesnais says that at a recent meeting, half the people in the room had iPads."

    Let me summarize. If you want to stay Relevant and Make More Money at work:
    - Buy new gadgets and put them through their paces vigorously. Devices without touch screens == irrelevant.
    - The cool people at work have iPads and br
  • I've been reading articles like this since I was a teenager. The first one had some stuff in it about how "Tomorrow's systems analysts need to be learning dBASE but Universities are behind". A few years later, "Schools aren't teaching Rational Rose techniques". Give me a break. You should be learning *concepts* in school, not *tools*. When I was in college, I learned a lot of engineering concepts, and only the tools I needed to do the labs. Today, the tools have changed completely, as they always do.

    • by elucido (870205) *

      How will concepts get you a job? All the concepts are meaningless when the employer wants specific knowledge of specific tools.

      • In the current job I'm in, one of the requirements was knowledge of some CRM software. I downloaded the free copy, poked around in it for twenty minutes, and updated my resume to say I had experience in it. It wasn't any different than the five other CRMs I had messed around in one capacity or another over the preceding ten years. It would be one thing if they were demanding experience in Netware, or something like that that I had minimal experience in, so I wouldn't pull that kind of a stunt in that cat

        • by elucido (870205) *

          In the current job I'm in, one of the requirements was knowledge of some CRM software. I downloaded the free copy, poked around in it for twenty minutes, and updated my resume to say I had experience in it. It wasn't any different than the five other CRMs I had messed around in one capacity or another over the preceding ten years. It would be one thing if they were demanding experience in Netware, or something like that that I had minimal experience in, so I wouldn't pull that kind of a stunt in that category, but all in all, it's all the same. You don't want guys with just niche knowledge, unless you're dealing with pretty esoteric systems. You want guys with good familiarity in whatever area you require them in.

          I'm talking a new college graduate. If you have 10 years experience already you aren't the one I'm talking about. Also usually they want experience in software which is proprietary and they want you to have very esoteric business specific knowledge.

          The only way to get it is to intern or volunteer.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jythie (914043)
      While I agree I have been seeing pieces like this for years, I think since the 80s they have gotten louder.

      Many companies have moved from 'find long term employee with solid fundamentals' to 'find employee with exact needed skills already so we do not have to invest in them'... so many schools that in the past focused on fundamentals have shifted to more tool based training since that is what has been getting them the highest employed/graduated ratio.

      I got to watch the process first hand in my engineering
      • by Rich0 (548339)

        Yup. However, we've done it to ourselves to some extent, with an unwillingness to invest in development.

        Great IT employee becomes an IT manager. IT manager avoids teaching anybody else how to be a better IT employee. IT manager figures nobody can grow, and so only hires people with the right skills already. Essentially, the managers have decided to outsource management to other companies. Or, they have redefined management as project management without any aspect of people management.

        A coworker was rec

    • by lwsimon (724555)
      Quality Control and Process Improvement are quite important, and in my experience, businesses have a hard time finding external candidates to fill those roles. A fresh college grad with a Six Sigma cert has a job waiting, period.
  • Our (US) position in the world of commerce is specializing in things that change quickly and often. Commodity products and tasks tend to drift overseas where the labor is cheaper.

    Given this situation, we need a Just-In-Time higher education system. The degree system is insufficient for this niche. Something akin to technical certificates could perhaps be melded with traditional education. Degrees would focus mostly on timeless theories (if there are such things), and certificates on recent trends and specif

  • A) People skills. You HAVE to be able to work with other people. There is nothing in 'information technology' that does not require you to operate in a collective. The point of IT is making hardware and software communicate to allow people to communicate. This starts with people communicating without technology or with prior technology and most certainly includes you. The people hiring you to provide IT services require that you are capable of communicating well with them and with others associated to the p

  • People Skills (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MrTripps (1306469)
    "Well look, I already told you! I deal with the goddamn customers so the engineers don't have to! I have people skills! I am good at dealing with people! Can't you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?"
  • I'm a physics grad student. I have a bachelor degree in physics and I can tell you that by the time you finish that programme, you're barely familiar with stuff that was developed 70 years ago! 50 if you're lucky.

    You think IT guys have it hard? Try catching up as a physics student!

  • It's not the purpose of a university to keep up with whatever happens to be the fashion of the day in IT industry. If you want to educate yourself about that you can watch product advertisments from Microsoft and IBM. Academia should focus on underlying concepts, theoretical computer science, and mathematics. At the core there are topics such as Turing completeness, computational complexity, Gödel's incompleteness theorem, algorithms, numerics, program verification, chomsky hierarchy, computer algebra,

  • Learn to write clearly, effectively, and succinctly. Do not use me as an example. Seriously, UNlearn everything blogs and Facebook treasures.

    At least TAKE a course in ethics or philosophy. Why you do things is at least as important as how, and will be mpre so in the future.

    Don't leave hobbies or avocations behind. The synergies between fun and work are important. Music teaches things you will use at work. Even seemingly unrelated stuff, glassblowing or target shooting, will keep you using the parts of

  • BY 2020 will help desk level 1 need a PHD in some places seems how now days you need a BS or MS for a level 1 job at some places.

  • That sounds like a ridiculous attempt to sell higher education to people who have long been out of school and don't need it. It's like selling extra education to Einstein in his 40's, or an advanced degree to Newton. Seriously, do they think the guy who wrote java needs to go back to school to get a refresher course, or maybe Linus does? Who are these professionals with decades of experience that somehow need to return to the University to learn about the software that they wrote? School is a great way

  • as well as English.

  • "For example, graphics chips are doubling in capacity every six months. That translates into a thousandfold increase in capacity over a five-year period — the average shelf life of most game platforms."

    I'm pretty sure Gordon E. Moore might disagree with that claim.

    Granted, "capacity" is a nebulous term:

    They're sure as hell not doubling ram (the most obvious "capacity" part) that fast (4GB is the absolute maximum on dual GPU cards) and that would imply 1GB was the maximum a year ago, 256MB two years ago and anyone with a 3 year old gaming PC would be chugging along on 64MB of ram.

    They're not doubling in clock speed (substitute MB for MHz for a rough equivalent to the above).

    Single chips are running ~1600 s

  • by unity100 (970058) on Monday August 23, 2010 @05:37PM (#33348374) Homepage Journal
    These are all hip new fields, buzzwords. they may stay, they may come and pass.

    what you need for a future in i.t. in 'future', is to know to LEARN. adapt. know to seek and FIND.

    learning tools a plenty now. you may not know something, but, if you know how to search and find it, you will see that someone else before you solved the exact problem and posted it on the web. you will be able to implement an elaborate expertise requiring solution even if you are relatively green in that area. because, the recipe is right out there, in the common 'mind' of the society, in internet.

    so, the assets for future is knowing how to learn, and knowing how to find.

Any given program, when running, is obsolete.

Working...