Leadership investigate

IT skills crisis? How coding and cool can crack it

Some deny its existence. Others can't agree on its nature. But regardless of your viewpoint on the IT skills crisis, a shake-up of certain attitudes could really make a difference.

The IT skills crisis is less to do with the quantity of candidates and more to do with the quality of their skills.

That was the conclusion of a recent TechRepublic CIO Jury analysis, which highlighted how IT leaders are concerned about the lack of young candidates with an aptitude for technology. So, how do you solve a problem like the IT skills crisis? Three experts offer their solutions.

1. Make computing cool

Paul Coby, IT director at retail giant John Lewis, admits he is concerned by the IT skills gap. He is chair of the CIO board of advisory body e-skills UK and wonders whether the upcoming cadre of IT graduates will satisfy economic demand.

The UK has a proud technological heritage, from the pioneering intelligence work carried out at Bletchley Park, to the first business computer in Lyons Electronic Office and on to Sir Tim Berners Lee's ground-breaking work on the World Wide Web. "IT is a UK success story but we really need to generate excitement about the future of technology," says Coby.

That failing, recognises Coby, is a significant part of the problem. While the younger generation is eager to get their hands on smartphones and social-networking apps, they are not necessarily as interested in the software that underlies such technologies.

Technology might have come out of the back office but in many countries, particularly the UK, IT is still too often perceived as the preserve of the uncool geek. A significant change in perception is required, suggests Coby.

"Why, given the position of UK IT and the great things we continue to do, isn't IT cool in Britain?" he says. "Why isn't IT revered, as it is in Berkeley, Beijing and Bangalore? IT isn't viewed as being cool among UK kids, but it should be."

Coby thinks we need role models. "We need to show how working in the cool areas of technology, such as the gaming industry, can provide a great and interesting career. Young people need to know that the cool stuff they use has come from somewhere. They need to know how IT is made."

And the simple fact, says Coby, is that being involved in the technology industry provides a great opportunity for any young person. "Working in IT means you can solve problems, invent new models and make business work much better," he says.

2. Listen to the demands of industry

London Business School professor Lynda Gratton has researched the future of work around the globe.

"The UK government has decided that dealing with the IT skills crisis is its challenge, but creating the right type of technology professional requires co-ordinated action," she says.

For context, she points to Asia and says her research work has helped to elucidate how a co-ordinated approach to education can produce business benefits. She says Indian firms, such as TCS and Wipro, engage direct with the education community and help ensure the right types of skills are embedded in the curriculum.

Gratton says the success of this co-ordinated approach means Indian IT companies are now advising the US government.

"The Indian story is inspirational," she says. "Intervention by industry has helped create the right type of training and developed a level of understanding that encourages people to learn."

Gratton's research has also taken her to other areas of Asia. In Singapore, for example, strong links between government officials, business executives and university academics ensure IT graduates have the right skills.

What emerges, says Gratton, is a continually evolving triangle of influence, where companies identify in-demand skills, government bodies provide relevant funding and end-user firms help hone specialist abilities.

"Maybe the triangle of influence is not working in the UK," questions Gratton, referring to concerns about the IT skills shortage. "Any country, or group of specialists, hoping to deal with a skills crisis really has to concentrate on building a case for intervention."

3. Get down and dirty with the code

Julian Self, group operations and IT director at real-estate information specialist IPD, says young people are interested in the benefits of technology but they are not necessarily interested in how or why an application works.

Creating a shift to an interest in the mechanics of IT will be tough. But Self, who operates at board-level for the global organisation, says a move towards the underlying mechanics of computing is essential for the long-term development of technology education.

Hope, he says, comes in the form of devices such as the recently released Raspberry Pi. The UK-developed single-board computer offers a platform for cheap programming, which many hope will inspire a new interest in computer science in schools.

"The Raspberry Pi brings back the memories of my early days of coding and I'd like to see my children do that, too. It was all new back then," says Self, who - like so many of his peers - looks back fondly to the Basic programming associated with early home computers, such as the BBC Micro, Sinclair ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64.

"Attempting to inspire an interest in computer science in education is a great idea. But it's crucial to think about how the curriculum could be changed because of the Raspberry Pi. If the computer is not used in schools, it will have little influence over higher education and the business workplace."

Self hopes a change towards back-end coding will help young people think more carefully about why technology works. The high-quality platforms associated with many modern programs means people can often create web sites and apps by simply dragging and dropping widgets.

While the results can be impressive, Self is concerned that too little thought is given to the clever coding supporting such automation. "If people knew how the underlying stuff worked, they could extrapolate and make changes for the benefit of business in other areas of IT," he says.

"The way forwards has got to be to get more people focused on the teaching of IT in the early years of development. Get young people interested in computer science as early as possible, because it's too late to start thinking about coding once people get to university. We all need to be a bit more primitive."

About

Mark Samuels is a business journalist and editor at IT leadership organisation CIO Connect. He has written for various organisations, including the Economist Intelligence Unit, Guardian Government Computing and Times Higher Education.

54 comments
StevenDDeacon
StevenDDeacon

I have been preaching this mantra for decades! Today all I get in return is Techno Babble about Agile Application Lifecycle Management and Development or how comments and documentation is just as relevant as the actual code. Comments and documentation have a shelf life but the code never lies. People keep asking me how to become a competent IBM Assembler programmer. When I tell them to to learn binary two's compliment and hexadecimal numbering systems and arithmetic with Boolean Logic first they give me a blank stare! You can't read and understand the code until you know what it is actually doing under the hood. So take a peek. Computers talk binary and shorthand for binary is hexadecimal. You can't begin to understand conditional logic until you learn Boolean Logic. Then your ready to finally learn how to code modular structured programs that any competent programmer can maintain.

EricJPrice
EricJPrice

The tech industry is inundated with people who see this big ole lucrative pie and want a piece of it, but don't want to work for it. So many companies out there have become so litigation shy that they're afraid to fire someone for not doing their job because it's harder to quantify a tech employee's job. If someone is hired to build a house and the house is not getting built it's pretty obvious when work is not getting accomplished. This is true of many professions, but when you're programming it may take several days of research before you'll have anything of real quantifiable value other than the knowledge in your head. With support positions it's even worse; if three people are hired to perform a job and the job gets done it's hard to prove that two people did all the work. It is possible, but the time and effort involved in monitoring and tracking this information is sometimes more expensive than the lazy individuals compensation. The point being is that there are a lot of poor performing lazy people in the tech industry filling positions that could be filled by young up and comers, but those individuals are having to take crappy black box testing jobs that gain them little useful experience towards their future career goals and sometimes cripple them a little because they start to lose the useful information they learned in college doing less technical work for worse pay. While they're doing this the lazy people are gaining years of valuable resume tenure that makes it look like they're good at a job that they're horrible at. The solution to the tech skills crisis is to have stricter standards... 1) Get more technical during the interview process; find out if they have the base skills needed -OR- the intellectual aptitude to learn whatever they need. 2) When interviewing a recent college grad give them a little break due to the lack of industry experience, but make sure they're intelligent and have a good work ethic. 3) Build a trial period into every offer. If they're good at what they do it should not be a problem and it should act as a little extra incentive to start out firing on all cylinders. 4) If they are not cutting it fire them at the end of the trial period. A few of these on a resume and they'll end up finding a profession that better suits them. 5) If you find someone who is extremely talented, pay them! One amazing employee can be worth more than a handful of bad ones. I'm not saying to pay them six times the average salary, but if they're good enough one and a half to two times the standard salary is not unreasonable and it will keep them from jumping ship for someone willing to pay far more. The best way to keep talent from leaving is to keep them from looking because once they look they will find more money. Bottom line: The tech industry needs a little more darwinism and a little less charity.

Envirowiz
Envirowiz

What a welcomed relief to read this blog today. I'm not hallucinating after all. I have an AA in Computer Programming and a BA in Public Admin; and recently completing another BA in Info Systems. I have about 2 years of QA and DB Analyst experience and I'm having to look nationwide for BA or QA jobs. Its looking like I'll be living out of a suitcase and leaving my spouse behind. What's the point in being married?

gabbynizri
gabbynizri

I agree only with the first part "The IT skills crisis is less to do with the quantity of candidates and more to do with the quality of their skills." This is a real problem, the number of the "scripts" guys declining every year, and i wrote in my blog some notes about that: Why your scripts are not real automation? http://runbook-automation.com/why-your-scripts-are-not-real-automation/

random2010
random2010

If you had teenage children, would you advise them to choose a career in IT? I told mine to avoid it. 1. I can't remember a time when employers were not claiming there is a skills shortage. Thing is, I can't remember once reading about an employer who added 'but that's not a problem because we value our current IT staff and will simply train them up'. 2. When I started working in IT the work was innovative and rewarding. There never really was job security, but there were more jobs out there in the UK because we did not have off-shoring which undercut salaries and significantly reduced the number of IT posts in the country. The trade-off for this has been ethics, standards etc. Offshoring jobs rips the heart of of a local economy so that the few at the top get bigger bonuses or dividends while committed IT workers get the chop. 3. Recruitment can be a horrible experience. So many times I have encountered HR staff who simply do not understand the post they are supposed to be filling. For example, on one occasion when trying to recruit a senior web developer HR graded they job ridiculously low salary and decided that 'strong keyboad skills' were the most important skill required. They seemed unwilling to listen to what the IT dept told them, and unable to understand the real technical skills requied for such a role. Another classic HR mistake I see over and over is when they advertise jobs and state that it is essential for the candidate to have 4-5 years of experience with a particular technology, blissfully ignorant of the fact that the technology in question has only been around for 1-2 years. So off they go, dismissing able candidates who do not meet the impossible criteria that HR imposed for a role. (And presumably telling senior management that there is a skills shortage!) I could go on and on. The real point is that those claiming there has been permanent skills shortage over the last few decades are largely responsible for it, with education taking the rest of the blame.

builder77777
builder77777

I noticed that the article said young programmers - can't older programmers also update and do what is recommended, or should companies only hire 'young' workers?! One point is that industry should decide what should be studied, but that is actually a bad idea. The reason I say that is because professors have a lot better view of which technologies will be prevalent in 5 to 10 years, when 'young' graduates will be using them. Industry is backward looking, preferring to be reactionary that proactive with technology. Of course they complain that they do not have this or that in the form of people that can do certain technologies, but why don't they train them. They seem to think that the other guy can train them and then they will hire them with no investment at all. The problem with all of this is that they are looking backward at technologies that have existed, rather than technologies that will exist. To constantly update your IT and programming force by rehiring or outsourcing is still not the answer. Although companies think that schooling is worthless, people get some experience there and learn the rudimentary things so that any industry training does not take as long. A student invests years and lots of money to meet the employer half-way, so industry needs to hire people for the long haul and train their people. This means all of them, not just the cream of the crop. Then they will have programmers that know that specific companies technologies and who keep up as the company progresses into the future. Oh yeah, to keep employees a company needs to treat them right and realize that 'young' people have families. They also have to realize that there are a lot of 'older' workers out there that can help them just as much as the young - and they also have families!

Professor8
Professor8

1. No evidence of a skill shortage has ever been presented. In the absence of any such evidence, continuing to assert the existence of a shortage is dishonest, hence unethical. 2. Computing has always been cool. 3. Take a refresher course in ethics. 4. We were up to our eye-brows in software design, implementation, and development, working 10, 12 and 30 hour shifts, before we were dumped for cheap, young, pliant foreign labor with questionable ethics.

liamfawcett
liamfawcett

Couldnt agree more, Theres not many companies that promote progressive training and growth in development. They're just expected to know all the answers to the problems and any new processes must be studied in your own time.

richard.s
richard.s

Whenever this subject is discussed, different people are talking about completely different skills and completely different levels of expertise. So, precisely which skills are in short supply, and at precisely what professional level? And no, I'm not talking about the trivial difference between technologies; which seem to confuse HR folk, but which can be fixed rapidly by a short conversion course. Also, it does seem strange that we have to pay "world class" rates for executives... of whom there is a surplus... but we're not prepared to pay for people's technical expertise... when there is such a "shortage."

robertr64
robertr64

Among the many things that attracted me to IT from the early 80s on was the steady raises, job security, spirit of innovation, and sharing of useful coding hacks. It was moe tech-driven and less rules/process-driven. Since around 2005, it's been a lot less steady. As companies continue to move work off-shore to lower-cost countries, there's less incentive for young people in the US and UK to seek a career in IT, except maybe in the mobile phone arena. Also, colleges in the US tend to focus more on theoretical computer science rather than what business is looking for.

boogie-time
boogie-time

I've just turned 40 after being a Civil Engineer all my life, retrained in I.T a few years ago to follow a passion, guess what, no job available for me any price, Its not just the money, with I.T consultant sweatshops hogging all the work and slitting each others throats with no thought of preserving their own industry, its no wonder that the jobs just aint there.

RobertsMrtn1
RobertsMrtn1

I have skills in Delphi, PHP, MySQL, Javascript and Cobol and had to give up programming because of lack of work. I can earn more money painting and decorating.

cepal
cepal

Whaaat? How can someone talk about Wipro as a good example? Have Lynda Gratton ever talked to ANY of the former contractors having worked for them? I am 100% sure she hasn't done her homework properly, just full mouth of clever words but words which can't be further from the reality... And talking about motivation: IT has lower salary avg. than London underground drivers, who just pull/push one lever and one button! Maybe even lower than London Bus drivers! How's that motivating young people to become IT professionals? Yeah, there are no unions in IT fighting for senseless salaries... Why would one want to bother with 5+ years of University studies (actually first finishing their GCSEs right?), esp. girls when they can live on DSS and have easier and richer life for at least 10 years (at the age of 16) and who being 16yo things further than next 10 years??? You need to motivate young people for studies and demotivate them off the degenerative DSS lifestyle which is so common in UK nowadays! Well I can only be glad - the less experts there is in IT, the better they will be paid - but alas, IT doesn't have bloody Unions, so that's not true, onle those who are most loud and united and have plenty of time to go on strike end up havnig high salaries for pushing one button...

don.gulledge
don.gulledge

There's been a great evolution in the world, especially the US where folks like Lee Iacocca (?spelling) an Engineer at Ford moved up and became CEO and further with Chrysler. The only time nowadays where the technically qualified get to move up the ladder is if they start the company up themselves. The Bean Counters have taken over. That's why the School of Business has mushroomed into the largest departments of most schools while the Sciences/Engineering schools have remained the same or deminished. When you look at the field of Enginering and Computer Science as a young person compared to the Business side of industry, which would you prefer to go after. The one where you end up being a techie with someone with a MBA telling you what to do and think, or the MBA that gets to be the boss and the CFO and the CEO etc. The ones that promote the Geek idea are not those that work in the "Geek" fields. Its the ones that work in the Business fields because they know that it's more a competition of polictics instead of capabilities. Now that we do have all these MBAs and BAs in the world, business is the worst its been in decades. All thier leaning hasn't made things better, just worse. My offspring went that way and I can't blame them. They saw what my wrok life and career was like and wanted no part of it. MBA was the only way to go for them. When we're young, we don't just look at the future career for its "geekiness" like we're protrayed. We look at it just like everyone else for its economic benefit and future promise. In the technical fields, there is no future promise except that you'll be working hard, harder than a MBA/BA for less money with no possibility of improving your position. You get to make just enough money to live and keep working. In the early days, I knew BAs that moved over into Computer programming because it paid more and they found it interesting. I haven't seen that for a long time. If I had it to do all over I would have gotten an MBA and never thought about being technical and I'd have a lot better promise than I've gotten. Can you imagine, Bill Gates the MBA.

fsilber
fsilber

Doing software requires great intelligence and a willingness to do hard mental work. Most people like this have traditionally been able to earn much more money working in other fields. Doing software also means a low level of human interaction; for most people this is a negative for which they would yet further add to their compensation demands. What the industry needs are more people with intelligence and mental energy who, so they can be paid less, _don't_ have other options and who don't even want more human interaction than developers experience. What industry needs is more people with light levels of Aspergers Syndrome. The problem is that businessmen do not have a reliable way of inducing autism in children. Childhood inocculations were once thought to do it, but as it turned out it wasn't so.

PMPsicle
PMPsicle

This article is mostly about the U.K.. My comments are about Canada & the U.S. Literacy amongst Canadians and Americans has been dropping steadily (based on U.N. studies) with an alarming drop off following graduation. (Basically we're losing our smarts) A recent study by an education association has found that much of this problem can be laid at the door of business. (The study is Canadian based but presumably applies to the U.S. as well). The study also assigns responsibility for repair to government. This is to be expected given their focus. However, a less biased review of the results indicates that business has stopped carrying their burden in the on-going education process. Effectively they are demanding skills but are unwilling to provide training or reward for training. Therefore there is no incentive for individuals to provide for their own retraining. When combined with other literature (e.g. "Why Good People Can't Get Jobs." by Dr. Peter Cappelli) it becomes obvious that the skills crisis is actually a case of "I want too much and I'm want it for free". Those of us over the age of forty recognize this as the bad form of greed often referred to as the entitlement syndrom And a very childish way of looking at the world, it is.

arlkay
arlkay

Is the lack of qualifications of the people interviewing candidates If the do at all or just just review applicatilons and resumes on the internet. I know many coders and sys admins who have been denied jobs they applied for because they don't have direct experienc (what ever that means). Then some one finally gets wise (or desperate) and hires them to finally find that they are very competent even at new processes. I blieve we need smarter HR personnel and less hiring by script.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Quality of candidates has nothing to do with it. Not being able to get them as cheap as they want to is the real "skills" crisis. Why would a bright young thing want to go into IT at the moment? Respect, remuneration, Job security (rolls about laughing) ? You lot have made your bed, enjoy the crumbs, bugs and toe nail clippings...

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

The whole point of a high level abstraction is you don't need to immure yourself in the fundamentals, or is that details? :( Thing is, back when things like boolean algebra, binary representation and so on were an inescapable requirement for a programmer, getting a little coloured light to come on if some condition was true was exciting. Now they want Multiplayer first person RPG shooters with AI opponents, and do not want to know, that these are composed of a lot more coloured lights and conditions.... The worst of it is you'll get people agreeing with us and then saying things like, you don't need to know SQL, just use LINQ, which again misses the point entirely.

Envirowiz
Envirowiz

The problem with business' mentality is that they don't want to train (that's the charity part) and they want to hire only experienced candidates where the experience is only gained through on-the-job training. The same people get all the jobs and there is no "fresh blood." What stupid short sightedness!

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

is very minor factor in surviving in corporateville.... Things like knowing the mission statement and telling management what they want to hear are far more of a factor. Compared to the 90s the incompetence count is way down in my experience, besides even if you were right, swapping a few jobsworths for newbies is going to address very little isn't it. Probably make things worse in many places fresh out of university junior cobol developers are a bit thin on the ground...

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Nope, in fact hell nope. Any one who tells you what's coming down the pipe in our industry in 5 - 10 years time, also does horoscopes and will tell you your sex life is about to improve in return for crossing their palm with silver. I'd put as much faith in some professor's prediction of teh future as I would in Gartners. There is a huge disconnect between academia and the real world (always has been), but that could be addressed ina very simple way. They just need to divorce tool from skill. For instance if academia turned out competent programmers who could apply their skills using a number of tools and business's realised that a competent programmer can learn a specific tool very quickly. Neither has been happening for a long time...

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

the logic behind programming or learning one language that will quickly be supplanted by another? Learning new languages is easy, once you understand the logic to the process. Colleges might be a little too theory-based and not enough hands-on, and Heaven help college kids who are being cheated by these places, and few of them are union-based so that usual avenue can't really be brought up as an excuse... And if colleges are using grade inflation, teaching less and saving the needed stuff for higher degrees, just so everyone can be in debt $200k for a $10/hr job, you can bet the farm that the system is horrendously broken. Indeed, there should be class actions suits with justice and refunds for any college student who has been toyed around with, especially false promises and being told the US has a lack of x type employees and that we need more... But there is less incentive to work if they pay isn't there. I know - let's bring back whips, chains, and get nets set up around the big dorms where workers live. That'll bring back freedom and prosperity! At least for the owners... who said we the workers have freedoms or rights?

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

Especially when political shock jock DJs who make a living off of whining claim art isn't real work... but who said those folks are in touch with the rest of the country or world?

arlkay
arlkay

Example of what I cited in my previous post!!

lehnerus2000
lehnerus2000

Agreed. "Responsibility and low pay" vs "Impunity and high pay"

Professor8
Professor8

"When you look at the field of Enginering and Computer Science as a young person compared to the Business side of industry, which would you prefer to go after." Neither of the above. And, though until a couple decades ago, law would have been a viable third option, that profession has also been attacked and, to a large extent, destroyed. Medicine? Ditto with NHS and ObummerDoesn'tCare.

builder77777
builder77777

You are right, software requires intelligence, but it also requires something else,and that is aptitude. Not every smart person is a software developer. With that said, there is 80 (at least) different fields that IT people do, not including business. Even if somebody is not a developer, and they have a degree in IS or computer science, there are other things that they can do. Companies are doing a disservice to these people by not letting them do other things rather than nothing by sitting at home. Companies are also not training people, so how is it possible that they can get what they want in the long run?

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

People prefer the emotional rubbing perks and points given in video games than monetary rewards in real work. Some companies shoehorn workers or pigeonhole them, that's VERY true... but Oh, to say "so they can be paid less" - that's an insult. Do we not value labor? Abraham Lincoln did or at least claimed to, but he's dead now and probably deemed a "RINO" anyway... I have a form of autism... hasn't gotten me on some high pedestal so it's sad that any one of us with AS would be deemed as such... And why blanket definitions? Some people are neurotypicals but hide behind AS and other issues while playing video games way too long. There's nothing wrong with wind-down time to relax or distract, but with cell phones in schools and everywhere else with - I dare say - zero oversight... there ARE other problems afoot...

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

vaccines...and more Asperger's. The studies that may or may not placate public concern have not kept up with the products' newer ingredients. Perhaps it's safer to say (and the eugenics crowd may chuckle here) that they're in the same range as your cell phone, baking in aluminum(!), city/county tap water, or that bottle of bleach under the kitchen sink next to the bug killer/weed killer. Most Americans are pretty OK with that level of 'toxin-absorption to convenience' ratio, and can joke fatalistically that with early-onset Alzhiemer's, they'll have no awareness of what all's falling apart--within or without. You're so right about would-be IT pros: with the acumen to be good at it, there's lots more lucrative trades(/careers/dodges) to which they can apply themselves. As was pointed out elsewhere here, with 10-15 years (max) before the relevance of your education to systems and tech then in development/use evaporates completely, many folks will not even clear their student loan. That (more than the panache of 'geek' or anything else) makes bright, analytical students look up the street somewhere for a career that more substantially remunerates their type of intellect. It used to be called a 'brain drain', and business has sort of brought one on itself....

builder77777
builder77777

Yeah, I know, I am even older than that and have only achieved one BS, one MS, and one MBA - all in technological endeavors!

lehnerus2000
lehnerus2000

Every dollar spent on staff, training and equipment, is a dollar less for the BoD "performance" bonuses. The BoD also give the middle finger to the shareholders. This is just standard business practice. - Refuse to train employees. - Demand unrealistic experience/qualifications. - Complain to the Government that there is a skill shortage. - Demand compensation (paid for by the tax payer). - Import workers and underpay them (or offshore the business). - Award the BoD huge "performance" bonuses. - Repeat ad nauseam. @Professor8 If you think welfare payments are excessive, quit your job.

Professor8
Professor8

"Literacy amongst Canadians and Americans has been dropping steadily" Nope. We have about as many high achievers as ever. OTOH, our governments' illfare systems have changed incentives to encourage the continuing existence of a dependent under-class... and, in this context, to drive able and willing STEM workers out of work.

builder77777
builder77777

It is odd that the people that do the hiring are people who are dysfunctional with their own degrees - if they have one. One guy I talked to was marginal at best, but he was a full fledged recruiter who was in charge of my destiny. These people have no idea about what these IT skill actually are, but they act like they do. They have no idea if someone actually possesses them and if you say you don't they won't even consider you for a job that you are actually a good fit for. How can people who do this be in charge of so many people's destiny who have a lot of talent? Another scam that Indian recruiters are running is asking people that aren't qualified to apply for positions around the country. When companies (big Indian technology ones) say that they are unable to find anybody with the required skills, the government then gives them their right to visas. Then they send their countrymen here to do our work. Why do companies even need these drivel to filter applicants, when most of them already have HR departments? Why don't they put their own HR departments to work finding people, instead of relying on agencies that have hidden agendas and really do not know if somebody is a good employee or not. References do not tell the whole story because people can be malicious and usually if your last job was so good you would probably still be there. A little assessment test of obscure knowledge points of something that you may have not done for a while are also not good, because somebody that doesn't know how to use references are not valuable in today's changing environment. Somebody that knows the answers to trick questions is somebody that is an expert at one program and what are they going to do when the next version comes out?

builder77777
builder77777

I talked to one guy from India and he said that most of the software is farmed out to small shops there and that they have rats and bugs running around in them. The places where coding is actually being done is despicable, but in the long run how good will it actually turn out to be. There are plenty of IT and software folks with good educations in America sitting around on unemployment who can do this work but they won't hire them. Somebody ought to ask American companies which country do they belong to - and then send them there lock, stock, and barrel!

tarose.trevor
tarose.trevor

Hi Tony, I do agree, but I saw even more of why the quality is often not there in the candidates, and it comes back to university for a start, where the resourcing of the education sector is so bad, that you can often be lucky to make it through (depending on the university) without the help of your classmates, because the lessons given & materials supplied on each topic are neither coherent nor consistent nor anything else you might expect them to be... I asked the course coordinator for my double degree in electronic engineering & computer science (which I was unable to finish for financial reasons) why the quality of education was so bad, to which he replied (off the record) "...we only get money for additional research, nothing for improving course content etc... so we do research (and lots of it) which we know is complete lies & bullshit, because it is the only thing we get additional funds for..." - and to top all this off, another student who was at our uni from another country (who came from a wealthy family), had failed to complete subjects, failed others completely (grades), and yet had still been graduated by the uni when deciding to go home to their family... making a joke out of the efforts of everyone else... and the story goes on like this for ages... ...so if I was to start on the problems of the graduate employment market, and the employment market in general, and how the failings there exacerbate the problems, it would be hard for anyone to deny we have a thoroughly broken system... it is no wonder at all that the skills are not there the way industry expects, they have funded a failed political agenda with respect to education.

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

do bring in real world practices. Academia, especially the private organizations, are more interested in profit. And they don't care how the profit is made. I've seen people there who've been reported but are never kicked out. Why? Because warm bodies = walking wallets to be emptied. On many levels, our society is so grossly broken... When's the last time you were in college and what field(s) did you study? I'm fairly recently involved, and I'd agree with you on some issues, but absolutely disagree with you regarding others.

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

He was suggesting that AS symptoms in bright folks make them more the 'IT-pro' type, and mused on how 'BigBusiness' might arrange for there to be more of them avaliable. His belief that the connection between innoculations and AS had been 'debunked' was all I addressed, not whether Industry would knowingly do ill to the public in their own interest (ask GE how much the bill actually was after Love Canal....). I don't think they'd balk for a second if the price of a bright, introverted, screen-staring workforce was 'a higher per-capita incidence of autism in all its forms'. I'm just not convinced that a study of 10 years ago's vaccine ingredients on autism incidence has *any* relevance to the vaccines of today (monkey genes, anyone? Oops; I mean 'bird/swine flu panic' shot?....). They'll have to hold me down to give me mine; I read that the Austrian firm that 'accidentally spread the flu' was thereafter selling *the vaccine* worldwide. Isn't that the sort of scheme thought up by the unhinged arch-villains in James Bond thrillers?!

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

I have relatives who wonder why my workplace isn't paying for my going back to college and I've told them the rules in which I have to abide. I have seen real examples of outlandish qualifications, even "5 years worth of visual basic 2008 experience" for a job ad that came out in 2010. I will have more to say on 'qualified worker shortage' as I saw somebody responding about higher education... there are other sides to this... Shareholders, if they don't see real growth, then demand it by seeing worker wages shrink. One day, this system will bite them as well.

builder77777
builder77777

They are turning the achievers into an underclass - probably because they feel guilty!

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

You seem to forget corporate handouts, tax cuts, subsidy, and bailout, all paid for by us, as they offshore and use every excuse in the book and then some. I want to work, but we live in a system that values work - to see that be whittled away by the same supply side that takes bailouts to be propped up while they continue spitting on us - plenty of sites and articles discuss stagnating wages, H1B fraud, and other issues, so I suggest you spend some time to research other facets apart from the one you cherish. I do, believe it or not, but the demand side issue is stronger - as the supply side treats everything as "cost" and seems to believe we get our money from trees we grow in our back yards. And, as was said to you and I second it, if you think welfare is oh-so-great, put your money where your mouth is and quit your job. If you think corporations are benevolent then be "competitive" and work for 50 cents an hour to keep them profitable. I'm sure things will change when their predatory tactics wipe out smaller competitors anyhow. Big corporations are people. Workers are apparently not.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

But what's their percentage of the population? Given the steadily increasing populations of both countries, "as many as ever" implies a constant level of high achievers, thus implying the percentage of high achievers relative to the rest of the population has been dropping and, by extension, tending to confirm that, overall, literacy amongst Canadians and Americans has been dropping steadily. As for your other assertion, I can't speak for your area,but where I am, the same people complaining about the welfare and the "underclass" also want to gut education, thus making any underclass even more permanent. Pretty effing stupid, IMO.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

There's always been a significant disconnect between "IT" education and IT in the real world. Haven't [particularly noticed it getting worse either. Too much theory, not enough fundamentals seems to be the problem. Loads of people waffling about O notation, yet they can't give their variables decent names or stop using global ones... Much larger factors are things like how outsourcing / H1Bing have took away all the starter roles, so no one is taking these grads and showing them what IT is outside the classroom, where efficiency is KISS and comprehensibility. The other major factor is how the much more powerful tools we have which were meant to make the competent more efficient have been used to make the less competent less inefficient... Last and far from least. I learnt IT in industry not academia, (some academic stuff I was sponsored for). They invested in me and made into what they needed. It's not just us employee types who can suffer from an entitlement problem. Invest in training or expect to remunerate the trained, not this somfin' for nothing crap, business woudl never countenance if it was their sumfin'

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Seeing as it's totally off topic. You should also bear in mind some of us have been round the block a time or two. In general the more powerful an automation suite is, the more likely configuring it, requires something that looks extremely like a script...

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

But I'm judging them based on their product. Still same bad practices, and a total lack of cope with real world development practices. Give them a 7 day assignment , then on day six put your someone important hat on and change the assignment. Or have them start some thing non -trivial. Iterate the design but after it's been handed over to another student. Do collaborative designs. They'll learn more about real world development from stuff like this, than they ever will from figuring out what a five line snippet's O notation is.