Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Security IT

IT Graduates Not "Well-Trained, Ready-To-Go" 609

Posted by samzenpus
from the welcome-to-the-real-world dept.
coondoggie writes "There is a disconnect between students getting high-tech degrees and what employers are looking for in those graduates. Employers agree that colleges and universities need to provide their students with the essential skills required to run IT departments, yet only 8% of hiring managers would rate IT graduates hired as 'well-trained, ready-to-go,' according to a survey of 376 organizations that are members of the IBM user group Share and Database Trends and Applications subscribers."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

IT Graduates Not "Well-Trained, Ready-To-Go"

Comments Filter:
  • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @01:07PM (#35331200)
    Most IT hiring requires experience! Noobs are OK for some stuff but there's no way for any school to train them for what everyone in the real world is looking for ('cuz we all want something different).
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2011 @01:16PM (#35331268)

      Most IT hiring requires experience! Noobs are OK for some stuff but there's no way for any school to train them for what everyone in the real world is looking for ('cuz we all want something different).

      Though everyone always told me that unless you went to school you'd never amount to anything and that you'd be a failure forever. No one could ever learn things they needed to know without college! Amassing huge amounts of debt in school I was told always was the most important goal of anyone looking to start a career!

      Now you tell me that people want real world experience too?

      Let me tell you something, that degree is just important or you'll end up like me. I have years of experience, tons of certifications but since I don't have a degree no one will hire me and I can't get promoted if I do find a job. Yeah people might not have experience once finishing school but as far as corporate politics and HR B.S. go it is the most important part for expanding your career.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If that's the case, you're not doing it right.

        I only have a high school diploma, and a bunch of odd classes here and there. I also have a near-six-figure job doing what I love in the IT field, and have people under me.

        The secret is not that a degree will get you where you want to go. I know a lot of people who have advanced degrees, but are still stuck in lower-level jobs.

        The secret is to become cultured, know how to interact with people who have degrees, have an actual vocabulary, know how to write well, k

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Alex Belits (437) *

          In other words, you are incompetent bottom-level manager with ridiculously inflated ego.

          • by BrianRoach (614397) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @02:24PM (#35331780)

            In other words, you are incompetent bottom-level manager with ridiculously inflated ego.

            Why that may well be the case with the above poster, I'm still going to have to agree with the "you're doing it wrong" part.

            The OP said they have "years of experience" yet can't find a job and when they do have a job, they can't get promoted. If that is indeed the case I don't know that a college degree would help. There are literally a ton of jobs out there right now for people who can actually write code, and except for perhaps the gov't and maybe a few giant corporations, a degree isn't a firm requirement.

            • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Sunday February 27, 2011 @03:55PM (#35332402) Journal

              Noooo...I'd say what is happening is he is being trapped by the current HR BS where they just put all applications into a computers and playing buzzword bingo with them and he ain't hitting the correct buzzwords.

              Sadly between that and the "hire NOT to hire an American" bullshit while there are plenty of jobs listed actually getting a decent one is increasingly hard, which is why I decided to take the plunge and open my own little shop. I'll never get rich but I make a decent living and don't have to deal with the BS.

              Just look at the things some of these jobs are asking for and you'll quickly be able to spot the "How NOT to hire an American" bullshit at work. We are talking jobs asking for 10 years of Java, 7 of .NET, years of IT management experience and for a starting pay of $24k. Sadly just check your local help wanted to see how badly this "How NOT to hire an American" BS has spread, depending on the area you are looking at as high as 60% of the job listings being bullshit.

              So the guy is probably just running into the same BS many of my friends with years of experience ran into, on the one hand you have HR looking for buzzword bingo, on the other how not to hire an American with bullshit postings designed to get them an H1-B wage slave. Either way you look at it it isn't pretty and these corps have no one but themselves to blame by gutting the market with all the offshoring and H1-Bs. You'd have to be nuts to be just starting out and pick IT over medical or legal right now!

              • by malkavian (9512) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @05:26PM (#35332908) Homepage

                Wholeheartedly agree.. Not long ago, I had to call the HR department out in a serious fashion. I was recruiting for a couple of Developers.. HR field the CVs, and pass them on. I ended up with a pile, and in that pile were just a couple that looked vaguely interesting, but on interview turned out not to have the goods. Shortly afterwards, I got a few calls from candidates who were asking if their applications had been received (which to me, they hadn't, and over the phone, they seemed pretty good fits).. I went and asked HR where these applications were, and was told that they'd been 'Pre-Filtered' through HR's own internal process for applicability for the role. After yanking out the ones they'd 'filtered out', I discovered several that were pretty much an exact fit. HR just didn't know the words that actually said what the experience was, so discounted them entirely, rather than leave the judgement call to someone who knew what was going on.
                Needless to say, I hit the roof with them for wasting my time. I went on to hire a couple of those that HR had rejected.

          • by Fnord (1756) <joe@sadusk.com> on Sunday February 27, 2011 @02:28PM (#35331800) Homepage

            I'm a senior developer at one of the world's biggest software companies. The only reason I didn't move to management is because I want to continue writing code. I dropped out of college in the middle of my second year.

            A degree certainly helps you get a job, and skips you past a few of the bottom rungs, but after a certain point talent and experience are all that matters. Its true that without a degree I had to work my way from tech support -> sysadmin -> software qa -> software development, and my friends who stuck with schol went straight to software development. However when I finally got to write code for a living I was already considered mid-level, and they were junior devs, and now ten years into the field we're all about at the same place.

            Maybe my path wouldn't work for most people, but "you will die penniless and alone if you don't go to college" scare tactics just annoy me.

            • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Sunday February 27, 2011 @02:55PM (#35331994)

              The key factor (imo) is whether are self-motivated enough to learn the college level material on your own.

              I'd still recommend a degree. But only because it makes some of the future steps easier. But get the cheapest, fastest degree you can find. Any degree. You can improve it later.

              20 years down the road, you have 19 years of experience in "IT" (13 years writing code professionally) and the people who went to college have 16 years experience in "IT" (16 years writing code professionally).

              The difference will not be with the groups. It will be with the individuals who push themselves to learn more and to do more.

              • I'd still recommend a degree. But only because it makes some of the future steps easier.

                Well... College can also offer learning and experience opportunities that may be difficult to come by on your own or at your job. One of the reasons my first employer gave for hiring me was my unusual college work.

                For example, for my last two years of undergrad '85-87, I was a - paid - research assistant doing work on automated programming techniques in LISP on a $40k Xerox Dandelion workstation. I also did work o

      • No degree here and promoted more than once within the same company. You're working for shitty companies if a degree stops you from moving up from the bottom rung.
        • by Grishnakh (216268) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @03:24PM (#35332202)

          I hate to break it to you, but in my experience as a software engineer, most American companies are shitty in many ways. My determination of this has nothing to do with degrees (I have one), but the way the company is managed overall. Most American companies these days are all about cutting costs in stupid ways to create better quarterly results so their CEOs can get big bonuses, while putting the company further and further into debt. One of my former coworkers at Freescale told me recently that they sold off all their buildings recently and leased them back, so they could generate more cash which they could give to their owner (Blackstone) before they're spun off in an IPO to unwitting investors. I doubt Freescale will be around in 5 years. This is the same company that invested tons of money in a GPON chip, then when the first revision powered up successfully, they laid off the entire design team with the idea of having an Indian team do the support work. Then it turned out the chip was full of bugs and there was no one available to fix them (the Indian team declined the work).

          • by gbjbaanb (229885)

            to be fair - the sale and lease trick is a tax dodge. The money you pay in rent can be deducted from profits, so you pay less tax. The money you get from the sale is a one-off addition to the balance sheet and is usually spent.. on bonuses or share buybacks or similar.

            Still, the cost-cutting and treating employees as interchangeable work-drones is destroying much of the economy.

            • by rtb61 (674572) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @09:04PM (#35334256) Homepage

              It is actually more complicated than that. Any company should be ideally run as three companies. Company 1 owns all the capital assets plus pays management, company 2 the business contracts and company 3 manages and pays the staff. Company 2 is the company that actually trades, and rents the assets and contracts management from company 1 and contracts the staff from company 3 which also contracts management from company 1.

              You should be able to guess why it is structured in that manner. If contracts go bad, company 2 goes bankrupt but all of the assets are retained in company 1. Company 3 is kept in survival mode only, barely able to meet current employee contractual conditions let alone long term ones, those unpaid long term obligations actually become a bonus for company 1 when all the staff are dumped. All profits are constantly siphoned off from company 2 and 3, in building rentals and management fees so if anything goes wrong the companies are simply wound up with minimum loses to management. Sometimes (far to often) management just let's debt build up in company 2 and 3 until they collapse and then walks away with all the profits in company 1. Interesting side note, if the employees are unionised, the union has the funds to pursue company 1 to recover the employees lost pay, no union and the employees are screwed (mortgages and credit cards ensure they have no means to pursue company 1), another reason why companies hate unions.

              Back on topic there is a major difference between trade schools and universities. If you want staff you can immediately employ trade schools are the only way to go. If you want employees with a broad knowledge and research skills, that you need to train, universities are the way to go. If you want the best employee pick the ones who do both in either order, university and trade schools for certification.

          • by Antisyzygy (1495469) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @04:04PM (#35332470)
            Republicans and businessmen always go for short term gains at the cost of sustainability. Its taught to them differently when they get their MBA, but they always fall to greed and overconfidence.
          • by blind biker (1066130) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @05:05PM (#35332790) Journal

            I hate to break it to you, but in my experience as a software engineer, most American companies are shitty in many ways.

            To be exact, most publicly traded companies anywhere are shitty. There is no arguing that corporate psychopaths have swamped the ranks of executives of publicly traded companies, and care nothing for the long term viability and health of the company or the well-being of the employees.

            In private companies, things are different, because the owner cares of what the heck is going on in his/her company, and would tighten the screws on any management that is not in the actual best interest of the firm. Owners want their companies to last long and not just till the end of the fiscal year.

            • In private companies, things are different, because the owner cares of what the heck is going on in his/her company, and would tighten the screws on any management that is not in the actual best interest of the firm. Owners want their companies to last long and not just till the end of the fiscal year.

              You'd think that. From experience: that only holds true as long as the owner isn't trying to sell the company before the end of the fiscal year. :p

          • by istartedi (132515) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @08:17PM (#35333976) Journal

            This is just one small example of Greenspan's real mistake. Yes. His real mistake.

            He stated that a belief that firms would act rationally was his mistake.

            Rational actors are a funamental assumption of economic analysis, and all but the most blindered ivory-tower economists recognize that as a funametal flaw in the discipline. Recently, some experimental economics that pulls in the discipline of psychology has been done, so there's hope despite academia's tendancy to resist interdisciplinary study.

            Anyway, I digress. Greenspan's real mistake was to buy into the fiction of corporate personhood.

            Corporations don't act. They aren't persons. Employees and managers act, usually in their own self interest. Thus, the managers acting in their own self interest destroyed the firms and profited while doing so. As a collection of people all seeking their own self-interest, the firm serves the individuals that run it; but ultimately the firm itself becomes insolvent!

      • by billcopc (196330)

        If years of experience and those goddamned certifications aren't opening any doors for you, I hate to say it but maybe you're relying on those too much. I'm no better, but I do know that scoring cool jobs and promotions is about 20% effort, 80% networking. Sure, that 20% has to be good enough to leave a positive impression on the manager who will help you get that job or promotion, but if your people skills are lacking you won't get anywhere.

        Alternately, if you think you're worth more than you earn, try b

      • by hedwards (940851) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @03:09PM (#35332088)

        That's definitely an issue. A shocking number of employers want to have a person with both a degree and experience, but good luck getting experience without having to volunteer. If you look at the job postings for jobs it's more or less impossible to find any that are listed without requiring several years of relevant experience.

        It's also a compelling reason not to have work study positions in college. I remember when I was in college virtually all the jobs on campus were exclusives for work study students, and it was in the middle of nowhere so good luck getting a job off campus without a car, at which point you'd have to work a ton of hours just to be able to afford to work. But, without a job during the school year, it's that much harder to get the experience needed to be able to land a job after college without volunteering. Which if you didn't have extensive financial aid you probably can't afford to do anyways.

    • Pot-kettle black (Score:5, Insightful)

      by microbox (704317) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @01:55PM (#35331564)
      Yeah, they want experience with specific technology XYZ -- not knowing enough about IT fundamentals to realize how closely related technologies can be -- and further, that being skilled with programming fundamentals is the most valuable kill of all.

      yet only 8% of hiring managers would rate IT graduates hired as 'well-trained, ready-to-go,'

      I would rate only 8% of managers as having the skill to deduce what they are hiring.

    • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @02:01PM (#35331602) Homepage

      Yet, companies want to pay graduate prices (at best) for people with 5+ years of experience. Not only do they want experience, they want experience in the exact same technologies they're using - everything is extraneous. They may even be perfectly experienced in the desired skills and not be considered a 'good candidate' because they've got a degree in something tangential/unrelated, or have a couple years of experience doing something not quite the same.

      The simple fact is, IT folks are considered an unwanted expense 9 times out of 10. (Thus the rise of MSPs and contractors continues - companies would rather pay by the hour or for a quantifiable checklist - even if they don't check it - than hire someone to do the same job.)

      It comes down to companies not knowing shit about IT. Maybe it's our fault for pushing these 'wonder technologies' over the years, giving the illusion of 'it just works', or maybe it's vendors selling the latest-greatest wiz-bang with false pretenses, but the end result hurts everyone (companies included).

    • by AK Marc (707885) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @02:41PM (#35331890)
      You can teach experience. 10 hours of "examples" is much better than 5 years of making massive mistakes on the job.

      The real problem is that the employers don't know what they want. If they articulated it in a consistent manner, someone would fulfill that need. However, they want "experience" without explaining what experience is the valuable part. Do they want someone who knows how to do things, but possibly not necessarily the details so that those would be taught on the job? Or do they want tech-school graduates, not college graduates? Note in the summary they are talking about "running" IT departments. Apparently, the colleges or the employers think that a simple 4-year degree should be sufficient to be CIO. I wouldn't disagree with the point that sufficient education should be able to substitute for experience (not that I'm asserting that "sufficient" education is common or available), but to actually run a department takes a lot of business classes that aren't covered in IT degrees.

      Not that learning the difference between an "expense" and a "capital expenditure" is difficult, but that if someone doesn't understand the difference, it is very hard to make an accurate budget or stick to it. Ever seen someone run a profitable business into bankruptcy? I have, multiple times. If they'd had a business class, they'd have known the difference between cashflow and profit and would have been able to see it coming, even if they couldn't prevent it. Additionally, you need precious little in technical skills to "run" and IT department. All you need is a well developed "tech BS" meter to ward off snake oil salesmen and lazy primadonnas who permeate the industry and managerial skills. The CIO isn't asked to code or install a firewall.

      So it comes back to industry. They actually want the education system to fail because then they can point to deficiencies to justify low salaries, outsourcing, H1-Bs and such. If the industry had a consistent and articulated definition of what they wanted from a graduate, they'd have millions of them lined up. They obviously don't actually want that, or else they'd do it. So we are left with what industry wants, even if they then say it isn't what they want. But then, confusion benefits them, so why would they want to fix it?
    • by cjb658 (1235986) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @03:18PM (#35332146) Journal

      I was "well trained, ready to go" right out of college, no thanks to my formal education. My degree is merely something that makes employers think I know what I'm doing. My time playing around with stuff is why I actually know what I'm doing.

  • by DavidR1991 (1047748) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @01:08PM (#35331204) Homepage

    A degree is not a job training course.

    End of.

    • by calzakk (1455889)
      No, but a degree is the foundation of the job. Not knowing the basics means you've got a whole lot more to learn 'on the job'. Which some employees just aren't capable of; hence the degree to filter them out in the first place.
      • I don't know about your IT related degree, but there was one thing I did not learn at the university but is an integral part of every job I had so far: Programming. It was a requirement that you already KNEW programming to get anywhere.

        Now, what did I learn there? A lot of theory behind programming, a lot in algorithm development, how to determine what tells a good algo from a bad one, how to determine the "cost" of an algo, in short, how to be a "better" programmer.

        But that's not what is required in 99% of

      • by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot&keirstead,org> on Sunday February 27, 2011 @01:36PM (#35331438) Homepage

        I would not expect someone getting a computer science degree to take a course on writing functional specifications or using bugzilla and Eclipse, just like I would not expect a medical doctor to take a course on filling out patient charts.

        These are things you learn ON THE JOB. Lawyers clerk, doctors have residency. Heck even McDonalds employees have WEEKS of training. I don't understand why people think someone can graduate from computer science and instantly integrate into a workplace and start coding, it is ridiculous.

        • by JAlexoi (1085785)

          I would not expect someone getting a computer science degree to take a course on writing functional specifications or using bugzilla and Eclipse, just like I would not expect a medical doctor to take a course on filling out patient charts.

          You obviously have not seen what the colleges/universities spit out as "ready for market educated individuals". An CS major has to* be able to create software. PERIOD!
          That is just not what colleges/universities deliver. These kids don't know what is a functional specific

          • by brunes69 (86786)

            A university's job is not to "spit out" "ready for market" individuals whatever the hell that means.

            A university's job is to educate someone in the field of computer science so that when they are trying to write an application they know WTF they are actually doing, as opposed to some graduate from a tech school who can whip together a VB7 app but doesn't know what a Thread even is let alone how to properly mutex.

            You want people "ready for market", hire from a technical school. But don't come crying to me w

    • by Half-pint HAL (718102) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @01:31PM (#35331404)

      Agreed. There is a world of difference between an academic qualification and a "vocational" qualification. The former is "education", the latter is "training".

      When industry calls for specific skills, they are demanding that education be replaced with training. Nope, sorry. Academic study is too expensive to be used as a glorified training course. Remember that training can become obsolete. Training has to be renewed and revisited. Let's not confuse the two.

    • A degree is not a job training course.

      End of.

      But IT employers want it to be. The disconnect is decades old.

    • by ahoffer0 (1372847)
      Agreed.

      It is a university's responsibility to educate its students; students are expected to learn critical thinking and creative expression. Above all, students learn the discipline needed to dig into a subject, become knowledgeable about it, and apply its principles. It is not the responsibility of universities to crank out J2EE or SAP experts. That is the responsibility of employers and employees, or of trade schools.
    • by morcego (260031)

      On the same note, the amount of in-house training I have to give the new fresh-out-of-college people I hire is EXACTLY the same I have to give to highschool-only people.

      God bless technical school, who give their students a good mix of technical knowledge, workplace procedures, laboratory experience, generic knowledge and common sense.

      The ivory tower model of colleges should be taken down with extreme prejudice. It is harmful both for the student (when they try to place themselves in the job market) and to t

      • by Qzukk (229616) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @02:28PM (#35331798) Journal

        God bless technical school, who give their students a good mix of technical knowledge, workplace procedures, laboratory experience, generic knowledge and common sense

        Good for you. I'm glad you're one of the three employers not demanding a Bachelor's or Master's degree for every job position.

        Most of all, they are looking for people who don't have that damn college mentality. THAT is the real barrier.

        Then they should stop demanding college degrees, and stop giving excuses for why they want a college degree but they don't want college educated students.

      • by gonzonista (790137) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @02:33PM (#35331830)

        Sound advice. The requirements you listed are pretty universal throughout the job market, no matter what the industry. However, the issue here is that employers are looking seemless transition from school to work. This is a somewhat unreasonable desire because the people who have the characteristics you list probably could find work without additional education. That leaves everybody else. If you ran a school, could you practically train everyone for all the junior level opportunities offered? Probably not, as the job market is too diverse.

        We could argue about the educational process but for me it boils down to the tortoise/hare race. Educating students on technical specifics works well in the short run but has limited shelf life. Educating on generalities lasts a life time. It is up to the student to transfer the generalities to specifics. Those who do that, do well. Ever wonder why those with degrees form the minority of the workforce but run the majority of companies? The degree must be adding value somewhere.

      • by Sique (173459) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @03:34PM (#35332256) Homepage

        Several countries are starting to see that, and investing heavily on it (Brazil, Germany etc).

        Your way to put it looks to me as if you don't really know how it works, at least in Germany. Because "starting to see it" points to a 1000 year old tradition. If Egypt or China call that "starting to see it", maybe one could agree, because they have a long enough tradition themselves. The main difference to the U.S. to me seems to be that the companies in Germany are responsible to train their futural workforce.
        Germany has something that is called duales Bildungssystem (dual education system), where companies educate their futural employees in cooperation with the Berufsschulen (trade schools). For two to three years, depending on the profession, the pupils are working parttime at the company and are being educated in the school. After that the companies offer some of them working contracts, others are looking somewhere else for a job. Companies that are not training their own workforce will save money in the short run, but to them only the leftovers of the workforce are available. Thus about 50-60% of the workforce are trained.
        Then there are the Universities of Applied Science (formerly known as Fachhochschulen), which are directed towards higher education, but are still strongly connected to the futural employers. They offer a very market oriented curriculum, train on and for industry standard products. A student at a University of Applied Science will work on his final thesis while being on a project at a company. So for at least half a year he is already part of the workforce before graduating. Also in this case the education is at least partly done within the industry (and paid for directly by the industry).
        The school-only education you find only in the lowest 10% education level -- pupils who left school without finding someone willing to take them for the two or three year training, but have still to fulfill their legally required 10 to 12 years (depending on the state) school education and are thus going to a professional college -- and in the highest 20% of the education level, which are the ivory tower university courses.

        So differently than in the U.S., the german companies are expected to train their futural employees. The U.S. companies are looking to me like lazy cats, unwilling to invest in people and complaining that the workforce supermarket doesn't offer the exact skillset they are looking for.

  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bedouin X (254404) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @01:11PM (#35331228) Homepage

    Since when did employers expect college grads to be "ready to go?" The skills they say they want are taught in college, but are pure speculation until applied in a meaningful way. Maybe that is a cry for more/better internship programs.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @01:24PM (#35331340) Journal
      In terms of actual expectation, only noobs and idiots ever have. Theory and experience are complementary; but you can only substitute one for the other so much.

      Rhetorically, though, there is absolutely nothing for them to lose by taking this public stance. Who wants to go to the trouble of training employees if one can convince colleges and universities to train them for you at some mixture of individual, state, and parental expense? Training them yourself costs money, and means that you can't just flush them down the toilet and find a new one at a moment's notice...

      That is why I find these articles(and they seem to pop up as regularly as the seasons) so infuriating. They are partly written by half-wits who don't understand that universities have a job to be doing that isn't "EZ-Training-while-U-Wait" and partially written by business lobby types who know exactly what the score is; but see nothing to lose in trying to externalize the costs of training their expendable peons.
    • by Hairy1 (180056)

      University gives you critical thinking skills. It gives you a broad knowledge that has applicability beyond your job. However, However, I do understand what this employer means, but University will never be the environment to churn out ready to go developers. What is needed is an apprenticeships where those new to development are taken under the wing of an experienced developer.

    • Degrees are more common these days. Employers can be more picky in some cases and either offer a lower wage or demand more experience. This is the problem with the idea of ensuring more and more people have degrees. As more people have degrees there will be less value in their degree.

      There has to be a better way of educating people than making them do yet another 2 or 4 years and become a slave to their job due to their university debt.
  • Who's suprised? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by T-Bone-T (1048702) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @01:12PM (#35331234)

    I attended a talk by an aerospace engineer and one of the first thing he realized about his first job is he didn't really know anything. His courses were merely a foundation for the rest of his career. It is this way in any technical field.

    • Re:Who's suprised? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2011 @01:21PM (#35331306)

      Remember:
        1) you get a BA/BS and you think you know something
        2) you get a MS/MA and realize you know nothing
        3) you get a PhD and realize that nobody else knows anything either -- and it's all ok; we shall muddle on together.

      I fail to see why business should expect new graduates to be ready to work; at best when I review resumes I'm looking for someone who's ready to learn with solid abilities to analyze problems. A spark of creativity is a bonus too.

  • by zoomshorts (137587) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @01:12PM (#35331238)

    I suspect bean counting HR types are driving the data. They are seldom technically proficient enough
    to have a clue.
    Getting IT people with decent job history and programmers with the same is not going to
    happen for $20.00 per hour or 40 K per year.

  • by Dracos (107777) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @01:17PM (#35331272)

    No one ever graduated with the wide range of expert-level skills and the absurd amount of experience required. IT employers want candidates to know everything under the sun, and to have known those skills at least since they were created. For example, I remember seeing a job post 10 years ago that required 20 years of Java... do the math.

    IT managers need to get real. The chances that they'll actually find a candidate with real expertise in PHP, RoR, Python, MySQL, Oracle, Apache, Cisco, JavaScript, jQuery, UI/UX, Photoshop, and Flash is pretty slim (yes, I saw that just the other day).

    • by overshoot (39700) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @01:29PM (#35331382)

      I remember seeing a job post 10 years ago that required 20 years of Java... do the math.

      Once upon a time (1981) my then employer advertised for a programmer with five years of experience in 8088 (not 8086) assembly code. I pointed out that they were effectively screening out honest applicants, but they ran the ad that way anyhow.

      Events proved me right.

    • by foobsr (693224)

      IT employers want candidates to know everything under the sun, and to have known those skills at least since they were created.

      Not only IT employers; it is interesting though if you have a look at the products created by all these geniuses or if you are unlucky enough to have to communicate with one.

      CC.

    • by russotto (537200)

      IT managers need to get real. The chances that they'll actually find a candidate with real expertise in PHP, RoR, Python, MySQL, Oracle, Apache, Cisco, JavaScript, jQuery, UI/UX, Photoshop, and Flash is pretty slim (yes, I saw that just the other day).

      Nonsense, they've got 15 resumes for consultants at Wipro and Infosys with exactly that...

    • Replace "IT" in your sentences with "HR", and you'd have a bit more accuracy. ;)

      Having done a lot of hiring recently, with sane requirements, I have found it tough going sometimes to find the right candidate. Sure, there were folks with tons of experience. There were folks with amazing degrees. The problem is, there was too much missing in the ability and initiative department. I need folks who are able to hit the ground running (we're kind of lean, and babysitting only makes things tougher - and I know I'm

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by VoidEngineer (633446)
      I disagree. The requirements for "PHP, RoR, Python, MySQL, Oracle, Apache, Cisco, JavaScript, jQuery, UI/UX, Photoshop, and Flash" is pretty reasonable. It simply describes a Joomla CMS installation with an incoming feed from an Oracle database somewhere, with a one-off Ruby site somewhere. It's actually almost exactly what we have where I work, and I expect all of my hires to be able to work with those technologies.

      To use the car analogy, it would be like posting an auto mechanic position that specif
      • by russotto (537200) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @02:32PM (#35331820) Journal

        I disagree. The requirements for "PHP, RoR, Python, MySQL, Oracle, Apache, Cisco, JavaScript, jQuery, UI/UX, Photoshop, and Flash" is pretty reasonable. It simply describes a Joomla CMS installation with an incoming feed from an Oracle database somewhere, with a one-off Ruby site somewhere. It's actually almost exactly what we have where I work, and I expect all of my hires to be able to work with those technologies.

        You need Cisco, Photoshop, and Flash to do a Joomla installation?

        To use the car analogy, it would be like posting an auto mechanic position that specifies, "must have real experience with Breaks, Transmission, Steering, Engines, Air Filters, Air Conditioning, Fuel Filters, Suspension, Radiators, Stereos, and Upholstery."

        A better analogy than you think. Most mechanics will have no experience with upholstery besides sitting on it. Transmissions are also typically done by people who specialize in them. A mechanic's experience with stereos will likely be limited to removing and reinstalling them to get at something else. And they may not do air conditioning, though that's less common nowadays.

    • Their logic is simple: We'll expect the impossible, some people will apply with a subset thereof and we'll pick and choose who we want. That way, the best will apply and we'll simply take the one that has the most of the skills we require.

      What they usually fail to see is that such people are rare, and they also rarely have a problem finding a new job if they are not treated well. They're not as easy to retain as a "normal" programmer.

    • by mooingyak (720677)

      The disconnect happens at both ends. I'm currently looking to hire (NYC, relatively junior position, general unix skills strongly preferred, perl also preferred but not required, what we really want is someone who has a little bit of general programming experience and demonstrated problem solving skills). Almost every candidate has had a Master's degree and only one of them showed anything resembling actual programming ability.

      Also, I hate dishonest resumes. If you put something on there, I will ask you

  • I see your problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by IICV (652597) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @01:19PM (#35331286)

    Employers agree that colleges and universities need to provide their students with the essential skills required to run IT departments...

    Translation: "Why can't I pay fresh college graduate rates for someone who does the job of an experienced sysadmin?"

    Reason: because fresh college graduates are not experienced, since douchebags like you collectively refuse to hire anyone who doesn't have four years experience in everything.

    And to be honest, it kind of makes sense from their perspective - they could hire a guy fresh out of college, invest a couple of years in training him, and then watch him fly away to a better position somewhere else. For some reason, people just don't stick around when their skills grow, but their position and compensation doesn't! How weird!

    Employee retention? Internal promotions? What's this madness you speak of?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      <quote>For some reason, people just don't stick around when their skills grow, but their position and compensation doesn't! How weird!</quote>

      Why companies like to keep salaries secret:

      It's cheaper to pay higher to poach one person than to give everyone a raise.

      Even if that one person isn't as good as existing employees, the company may need that additional person badly so has to pay higher in order to get that person to switch jobs.

      Whereas most of the people already in the company aren't in the
    • I'd have an even worse translation for you: Why can't they teach the college kids the technology du jour so they can be used right now. We'll simply throw them away when the next technology comes around and expect a new batch of fully trained college kids. And they're cheaper too! It's so win-win...

    • by evilviper (135110)

      [...] douchebags like you collectively refuse to hire anyone who doesn't have four years experience in everything.

      My pet peeve is that companies are terribly reluctant to promote anyone, internally. If you want to go from Tech Support to Technician, you probably have to change companies to do so. And not because one has much higher standards than the other, but just because they seem to assume the people they hire will be better than the people they have, even when they're promoting them to a higher job f

  • by terraformer (617565) <tpb@pervici.com> on Sunday February 27, 2011 @01:25PM (#35331346) Journal

    If they would stop requiring CS degrees the problem would get better. They require the degree when it is not really required for the particular job they are hiring for. Of course some folks graduating from privately run IT training programs have relevant education, but the vast majority of CS degrees are fundamental math and theory. They don't train people to be IT workers, they train them to be programmers and theoreticians. Good IT workers have experience. Experience is not something school gives, especially in this field.

    • we need more tech / trade IT schools they can have better IT class work with less of the big university filler.

      • Ugh. I've tried recruiting employees from the local 2 year colleges, but what do they teach? Game programming. What the hell? There's a ton of good jobs for people that can write C# web apps pushing data in and out of a business data base. All it would take is a 2 year program that teaches web development, c#, sql, and business processes. That business process part is really important too. Your program specs are going to look like gibberish to you if you don't have a basic understanding of accounting

        • by vlm (69642)

          Ugh. I've tried recruiting employees from the local 2 year colleges, but what do they teach? Game programming. What the hell?

          That must mean game programming has now crashed. After the "multimedia cdrom" crash in the 90s, they set up a program for that. Then after the dot com crash they set up the "web designer" program. I suspect in a couple years we'll be seeing a "myspace social media technician" program.

    • My CS degree was at least 2/3 math and theory (maybe more). Calculus, Probability, Automata theory, Discrete math, Data Structures, Algorithms, Logic, Abstract Algebra. We could get some vocational type programming for electives (the building database apps with .net type) but the math prevailed. It was also disturbing that the article seemed to lump programmers and IT staff together. There are IT degrees out there now and they will prepare you pretty well, but they are basically vocational degrees that the
    • Or worse than that, EE degrees for application developers.

      I got bored with math courses and went across campus to the School of Business for an Information Systems degree. At the time, it had more programming classes than the CS department and the rest was business management, accounting, marketing, communication, etc. It really prepared me for working in the real world more than the pure math and theory of the CS program.

      I know I missed out on some of the advanced theory, but I code up the same old b
    • What privately run IT training programs? I hope you're not talking about Devry or some certification camp.
  • by overshoot (39700) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @01:25PM (#35331352)
    Many, many years ago the HR manager who hired me for my first job had a sign on his wall:

    A four-year degree means a man is trainable.

    Universities are not trade schools. Employers who are expecting any new employee to be instantly productive are deluded.

    Last week I interviewed a candidate with a Masters degree and 20 years of experience in the industry. We'll probably hire her, but we figure that she could be productive in three months and won't be worried if she takes six [1].

    [1] That's net. In other words, she'll be doing useful work fairly soon, but by the time she's 100% up to speed we'll have invested three to six months of her terminal productivity getting her oriented, etc.

  • IBM expects programmers coming out of college to act like experienced managers? That sounds pretty silly to me. As for having the skills "ready to go", you come out of university with a degree. You still need experience and seasoning. This whole thing is nonsense.

  • by russotto (537200) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @01:28PM (#35331376) Journal

    Some of the skills they are asking for are reasonable:

    77% want schools to provide programming skills

    OK, fair enough. A CS program from which you can graduate without knowing programming in some language is pretty useless.

    Some are less reasonable:

    76% would like schools to provide analysis and architectural skills

    Sorry guys, while a graduate should have some basics in this area, you really need real world experience to develop these skills to a useful extent. Or possibly an advanced degree in which the student studied real systems.

    And some are just too vague to figure out what they want:

    82% seek database skills
    80% seek problem solving and technical skills

    Database skills? You want them to know how to design a database using nth normal form? The basics of SQL syntax? How ISAM works? How to use Oracle Forms? It's not enough to say "database skills". The other one is even more vague.

    The list of "hard to fill" positions is pretty useless, too. Love the one about the security clearance... of course it's hard to fill, the only people with active clearances are those who are working or very recently were working on a job which required one. You want an employee with a security clearance, stop being cheap bastards and hire someone you can get cleared. New grads are probably easier here; less time for them to accumulate skeletons in their closet.

    • by alvinrod (889928) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @02:15PM (#35331716)
      I wouldn't classify problem solving as vague. Hell, I would consider good problem solving as the ability to examine a problem and determine a good course of action to approach it. Even if 90% of the time that approach is doing some Google searching to see if there's already a solution, that's not bad. Entirely too many people run into a problem, have no idea how to solve it, and give up at that point.

      People who can solve problems and grow from the experience are exactly that kind of workers you'd like to have. It doesn't matter if they don't know everything when they start, but they're willing and able to tackle issues that they've never experienced before. Anyone who's unable to do this is going to be the first sorry sod replaced by computers, robots, etc. as they're just the functional equivalent and a lot more expensive to keep around.

      On a general note, of course employers always want more. In a down economy where jobs are tight, they can even expect to get a little more than they usually would. Some of it's just HR pie-in-the-sky requirements, but that doesn't mean all of it is unrealistic. If a job lists problem solving skills, make sure to be ready to give an example of how you've solved a problem during the interview.
    • by JAlexoi (1085785)
      Sorry, but architectural and analysis skills are very much academical skills. That is exactly what the academic institutions have to provide. And the fact that they are not providing that knowledge is the worst part. Specially when you are a graduate of a proper 4+ year university. Because analysis and architecture should be the most important part of the thesis.
  • by gizit (1411887) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @01:33PM (#35331414)
    Seriously, IT graduates are not capable? No shit, maybe we should be asking why capitalist don't know shit either?
  • IT should have apprenticeship like other trades you don't see plumbers needing 4 years just in a class room to get a job.

    The old university systems is not a good fit for the IT field.

  • Not university graduates.

    • Yup. But once you start looking at the position as something you can get out of a trade school, the position is no longer FLSA-exempt, and you gotta pay them overtime. That can't happen, since they'll probably be expecting them to work lots of (uncompensated) overtime.
  • by wdhowellsr (530924) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @02:08PM (#35331666)
    Unfortunately the market does expect more experience than any college graduate can get in four years. I started programming at fourteen as a freshman in HS and at 45 can honestly say I have thirty years of coding experience. I also jumped in on the beta of the up and coming MS .Net technology circa 2000 so actually have ten years experience with .Net.

    I can only speak to programming but we should be exposing kids in middle school to all of the different languages and let them go to town if it is something that they like. Summer interning in High School would probably lead to a direct hire on graduation and they can get their degree on the company's dime. At the very least they will be three or four years ahead of any other graduate when they are out looking for work.

    On a final note I can say definitely that no cares about a college degree if you have the required experience.
  • by The Cosmist (1990578) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @02:23PM (#35331774) Homepage
    Readers of Slashdot, you need to ask yourselves what is more important: servitude to corporations who have zero loyalty to anything but their own bottom lines, or being members of an educated civilization which values critical thinking and creativity. If corporations start dictating educational policy and turning universities into glorified vocational training schools, we will have taken a giant step backward toward a feudal society. Repeat this again and again until you understand it: EDUCATION IS NOT JOB TRAINING! CITIZENSHIP IS NOT CORPORATE SLAVERY! Until you really appreciate this fact and act upon it, you will be nothing but a glorified cubicle serf. Without free, critical thinkers there can be no real progress, and we’re all living in a shiny, high tech Dark Age.
  • by vinn (4370) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @02:26PM (#35331786) Homepage Journal

    I think everyone should be required to take a year of shop class in high school and learn to use basic power tools. It really pisses me off when I hire someone and they can't even use a simple tool like a drill. Latest example: we hired a kid who's still in school doing some kind IT background. About a week and half ago I asked him to hang up some coat hooks in the office. It didn't get done, it didn't get done, and then this morning I get an email that says something like, "I tried to do it, but I don't know how and I think you'll be better." Alright kids, putting a drywall anchor in a wall and screwing in a coat hook ain't rocket science.

    • I suggest replacing IT with Construction and replace 'hang some coat hooks' with 'replace a hard drive' ?

      Will the result be any better?

  • by Frightened_Turtle (592418) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @04:46PM (#35332694)

    So– Managers of businesses are complaining that these college graduates aren't well prepared for the workplace, yet why do they seem to hold onto the notion that any high school kid can do the work they are asking of these professionals? Or at least, they seem to insist on paying their professional IT staff like they were only high school graduates.

    I did some work with one company where the CEO brought in his fourteen-year-old son to build the company's web site. Later, he dragged in the IT staff on the carpet and gave them a forty-minute long tongue lashing because the web site wasn't working. There was no javascript menus, the purchasing system was non-existent. He complained that it looked amateurish! They all walked out on him after his tirade was complete. I guess it is needless to say that the company no longer exists.

  • by simoncpu was here (1601629) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @05:44PM (#35333032)
    If you look at recent job postings, you'll discover that the problem is because companies are looking for so-called "Drupalist" or "Wordpress/Joomla Engineer". If schools would include this in the curriculum, then the IT industry would be in a big trouble. Teaching specific languages to prepare students for the industry is bad enough. Schools should not teach CMS to Computer Science students. Time is better spent teaching the fundamentals of programming and architecture design.

In a consumer society there are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy.

Working...