remondo
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Re: Figures suggest computer science graduates face highest unemployment rate

Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:56 am

"Computer science graduates have struggled the most to find work post uni" with a 10% unemployment rate in the 6 months after graduation. Figures taken from 06/07 graduates.

Source

I find these figures quite hard to believe as I would assume there is high demand for qualified computer programmers. So the unemployment rate may boil down to laziness or graduates working freelance etc who are not included in the figures. What the figures don't show is the number of graduates per Degree so they may be quite biased.

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nick.mccloud
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Re: Figures suggest computer science graduates face highest unemployment rate

Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:41 am

The problem is that their qualifications bear no resemblance to real life which makes them pretty unemployable.

I've employed grads:

1. You have to teach them the real world programming language you are using.

2. You have to stop them being academic (case tools etc etc) and actually cut code.

3. They expect big money because that's the dream/right of all grads.

4. They have no idea about business processes so early projects for them are a real learning curve - they've heard of VAT but have no idea how it works in a business environment.

apart from that, most of them are alright!

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cnxsoft
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Re: Figures suggest computer science graduates face highest unemployment rate

Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:13 pm

But Linux skills are in high demand, at least in the US.

http://www.linuxfoundation.org.....obs-report

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rurwin
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Re: Figures suggest computer science graduates face highest unemployment rate

Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:13 pm

Another factor is that Computer Science graduates expect and are expected to work in the field they have been trained for without further training.

Art History, English and so on do not lead to such careers, at least not for 90% of the graduates. Maths might lead to investment banking, but not without training. New doctors have a couple of years of on-the-job training to complete. Even civil engineers are not going to be trusted to build a bridge without further honing of their skills.

But is seems to come as a surprise that computer graduates cannot step directly into industry as productive engineers.

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nick.mccloud
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Re: Figures suggest computer science graduates face highest unemployment rate

Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:27 pm

rurwin said:


Another factor is that Computer Science graduates expect and are expected to work in the field they have been trained for without further training.

But is seems to come as a surprise that computer graduates cannot step directly into industry as productive engineers.


I blame the course content & the tutors. I have had several meetings trying to explain the issues over the years but to no avail.

Computer science != career as programmer.

There are few if any vocational courses so I'd have to say students are being misled.

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Re: Figures suggest computer science graduates face highest unemployment rate

Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:54 pm

Can't say I'm too surprised.

Personally I would say course content is poor and very light on the useful skills (problem solving etc.). When I've interviewed, foreign graduates come across so much better and seem to be more clued up.

Plus of course, you get graduates who may be OK with the Visual studio style of working but who then suffer when confronted with something else, a command line for example.

When it comes to programming and software engineering I wonder if apprenticeships would be a better bet.

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Jongoleur
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Re: Figures suggest computer science graduates face highest unemployment rate

Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:59 pm

In straightened economic times, companies want to employ people who can "hit the ground running" and don't want to do any training or allow the new employee to find his/her feet.

Say a department wants a new bod.  They finally get clearance from high-up and fill out a list of requirements for HR.  Naturally they want to get someone who won't need any hand-holding so they put down all the things they do in the department, after all they want to be quite flexible with where they put the new person.

This then translates to the very real problem with HR/Personnel who do the job adverts and filter the job applications.  They take the departmental spec and fill the job advert with a soup of technology buzzwords and requirements, dragging in stuff they've used before because it sounds good. They then create person specs which are unrealistically high and send out the ensuing application pack. When the application period closes, HR then attempt to match applications with requirements, they filter most applicants out, even though they may match a good proportion of the requirements and end up with the the liars (sorry, creative CV writers) and one or two (perhaps) candidates who have skills that actually match.

Often they end up selecting one of the lemons.

Finally they cry "we can't get skilled personnel!!!"

In this environment, its difficult to get a job without the desired skill set or transfer from doing something with similar but not identical skills.

The answer?  God knows.

Here's something I saw advertised recently:

Technical Support Assistant (wage band starting at £14k)

Knowledge of computer programming, specifically Microsoft VB, SQL databases, SQL Server and MySQL. Computer Networking experience. Graphic Design and ability to use Adobe Photoshop, Video editing and manipulation using Adobe Premier or other related video editing software. Willingness to travel across the country and internationally. Must have full clean driving licence. Website design and management. Knowledge of Joomla and Virtuemart.  Knowledge and experience of the EPOS industry. Ability to cope under pressure.

Yes.  Ok......
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rurwin
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Re: Figures suggest computer science graduates face highest unemployment rate

Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:02 pm

nmcc said:

I blame the course content & the tutors. I have had several meetings trying to explain the issues over the years but to no avail.
The problem is not the course, it is the expectations.


Computer science != career as programmer.

There are few if any vocational courses


Computer Science is not, is not intended to be, and should not be, vocational. A vocational course would be something different, probably including a sandwich component. The best way to ensure that such a course exists might be for you to get together with other local businesses and sponsor one... if you can agree which languages and industry knowledge should be taught. Otherwise bring it in-house and spend six to nine months training new hires, just like every other industry does.

remondo
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Re: Figures suggest computer science graduates face highest unemployment rate

Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:38 pm

Agreed, I'm recently graduated and was lucky to land a web design/development job after 8 months of searching.

The trouble with 3-4 year courses such as these is that software/languages you learn in the first year may have been superseded by the final year of study rendering everything you learned obsolete. This is exaggerated by the fact that curriculums are often out of date.

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nick.mccloud
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Re: Figures suggest computer science graduates face highest unemployment rate

Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:24 pm

It's a complex issue so I've been a bit broad in my comments.

I agree, CS is not vocational. However too many uni's 'sell' their courses as being a route to employment.

If you want to study the abstract, that's fine. But the average 17/18 year old wants some fun, their brain expanding and end up with a job at the end of the degree.

Apprenticeships are OK for larger firms but smaller firms can't support someone whilst getting them up to speed. The last time I did that, one left directly after training ended for a 'proper job'.

I would vote for two years of abstract, third year a mix and final year of vocational - then the student would get the best of both worlds.

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Re: Figures suggest computer science graduates face highest unemployment rate

Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:28 pm

remondo said:


Agreed, I'm recently graduated and was lucky to land a web design/development job after 8 months of searching.

The trouble with 3-4 year courses such as these is that software/languages you learn in the first year may have been superseded by the final year of study rendering everything you learned obsolete. This is exaggerated by the fact that curriculums are often out of date.


Finding a job  in the middle of a recession was never going to be easy anyway.

I learnt/was taught 'C' at University. Left in 1986. C is still used today, a lot. Learn C.
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nick.mccloud
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Re: Figures suggest computer science graduates face highest unemployment rate

Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:42 pm

JamesH said:


I learnt/was taught 'C' at University. Left in 1986. C is still used today, a lot. Learn C.


Hedge your bets, do HTML/CSS/JavaScript as well!

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rurwin
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Re: Figures suggest computer science graduates face highest unemployment rate

Wed Mar 07, 2012 3:16 pm

By the time I left Uni I'd learned four dialects of Basic, Pascal, Z80, 6502 and PDP-11 assembler, FORTRAN 77 and something used nowhere else called MUSL. I've always regretted not choosing the option to learn Algol-68.

A year later when I came across C for the first time, I learned it from the Unix manuals in less than a week. Then two years after that I did the same thing again with PL/M-86.

Could I have done the same thing if the university course only covered COBOL? I doubt it.

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Re: Figures suggest computer science graduates face highest unemployment rate

Wed Mar 07, 2012 3:48 pm

Jongoleur said:


In straightened economic times, companies want to employ people who can "hit the ground running" and don't want to do any training or allow the new employee to find his/her feet.

...

Finally they cry "we can't get skilled personnel!!!"

...
The answer?  God knows.


I read a lot of articles and commentary on this subject.  I read a lot about skilled, experienced programmers who cannot find work, and also about tech companies who cannot find skilled candidates.  As a number of people have pointed out in this thread, a big problem is that nobody wants to hire somebody they'll have to train.  So your skilled, experienced candidate is dropped because his or she isn't experienced in the latest buzzwords and the company doesn't want to spend a couple thousand to send him or her to a 1-week training class in (say) Linux kernel or web technology.  Your inexperienced, new grad is dropped because he or she has not made the mistakes that any inexperienced candidate will make, and the company doesn't want the new grad to make those mistakes at their company.

I also read that most companies do not want to hire:

1.  Candidates who are "too old", even though that's illegal discrimination.

2.  PhD's, because they're "too expensive", "have forgotten all the fundamentals", and "only want to pursue their dissertation research".  Then they complain when their engineers don't want to write or cannot write.

3.  Candidates who have been working for more than 5 years, because they're "too expensive".  Never mind that an experienced worker who has "already made the 30 or so most common errors and knows how to avoid them" is IMO at least 3X more productive than the new guy who costs 50% less.

The answer?  This used to work for a lot of companies, especially IBM and Bell Labs:


Hire the smartest people you can find.  They'll be able to train themselves and quickly adapt themselves to new problems and new technologies.  You may not get immediate results but in the long run you'll win.  At the very least, they're not working for your competitors.


Another word of advice: take a long hard honest look at your company and a year's worth of Dilbert cartoons.  If you see a lot of correlation, you need to do something different.

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Re: Figures suggest computer science graduates face highest unemployment rate

Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:33 pm

rurwin said:


Could I have done the same thing if the university course only covered COBOL? I doubt it.


Lol – the complete opposite of my experience. I left University with an MSc and a whole load of whizzy programming languages into a previous recession. It took me 6 months to get a job offer – and ended up programming in COBOL for nearly 20 years!

It paid the bills. I had to do "interesting" code stuff at lunchtimes and in the evening.

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nick.mccloud
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Re: Figures suggest computer science graduates face highest unemployment rate

Wed Mar 07, 2012 5:29 pm

rurwin said:


Could I have done the same thing if the university course only covered COBOL? I doubt it.


Some of my secret sauce? A wide variety of different languages. Helps with tackling problems rather than cut n paste coding.

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Re: Figures suggest computer science graduates face highest unemployment rate

Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:40 pm

John Beetem said:


Another word of advice: take a long hard honest look at your company and a year's worth of Dilbert cartoons.  If you see a lot of correlation, you need to do something different.


There are companies that DON'T bear similiarites to Dilbert?  I've been in and out of both big and small. My experence is that if Dilbert doesn't have some familarity, you aren't paying attention..

Now if your being asked to work on MUMPS...

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Re: Figures suggest computer science graduates face highest unemployment rate

Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:32 pm

Isn't this similar to the 'discussion' which caused the problem that the Raspberry Pi Foundation are determined resolve ...at school level.

I remember when Parent-Governers and local businesses were demanding that schools taught 'what industry wanted':..it saw the end of Arm/RiscOS in schools in favour of 'PCs' running windows ...even though the programs they were likely to be learning would have been superceded several times by 'this year's latest' bloatware.

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nick.mccloud
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Re: Figures suggest computer science graduates face highest unemployment rate

Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:34 pm

Phil Spiegel said:


Isn't this similar to the 'discussion' which caused the problem that the Raspberry Pi Foundation are determined resolve ...at school level.


It certainly is.

And I hope that we can direct some of the enthusiasm for educating the kids towards educating the educators so that we can have work ready graduates.

nichobb
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Re: Figures suggest computer science graduates face highest unemployment rate

Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:48 pm

Have to admit I avoid hiring fresh computet graduates for a number of reasons.
1) They seem to be spoon fed, I spend first 2 months teaching them to google and look for answers to problems.
2) A lack of understanding about working with someone to get what they want, not what"s asked for or you think they want.
3) They dislike the repetitive parts of jobs.
4) Won"t stick headup when all hands to pumps (linked to 3, think they are above that).
4) Have to teach them the workings and jargon of the business.

My preference now is to recruit a "junior" who knows the business (from data entry or the like) and teach them the technical skills.

Hint for anyone that wants to get a job in IT and go far, learn social skills (or even how to fake them), stereotypes exist for a reason.

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Re: Figures suggest computer science graduates face highest unemployment rate

Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:47 pm

nmcc said:


The problem is that their qualifications bear no resemblance to real life which makes them pretty unemployable.

I've employed grads:

1. You have to teach them the real world programming language you are using.

2. You have to stop them being academic (case tools etc etc) and actually cut code.

3. They expect big money because that's the dream/right of all grads.

4. They have no idea about business processes so early projects for them are a real learning curve - they've heard of VAT but have no idea how it works in a business environment.

apart from that, most of them are alright!



My cousin just finished a Bsc and Masters in Computers, etc and he know's sod all about real world computers, can't even install and configure Windows correctly.

Most medium to low class UK universities are teaching nothing useful that would be needed in the real world. He's struggled to find a job and only just got one but had to move 300 miles to get it, and even then the company was really desperate for staff they could train up as they just won a new contract.

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Re: Figures suggest computer science graduates face highest unemployment rate

Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:08 pm

nmcc said:


I agree, CS is not vocational. However too many uni's 'sell' their courses as being a route to employment.


I have no opinion on what uni syllabi are these days, but am a huge supporter of RasPi as I figure it enables folks to follow the path I did. Uni taught only Pascal. No big deal, they were not trying to be vocational. First job was FORTRAN, closely followed by Assembler and Macro Assembler (on Perkin-Elmer 16 bit minis - this was 35 years ago!) FORTRAN I had an opportunity to learn extra-curricular at school, assembly language was a doddle after playing with my ZX80 at home.

Certainly over the years have been plagued by job applicants who are focussed on what the company can do for them. (Sure it is relevant, but not top priority.) And graduates with little business process savvy. But the exceptions were brilliant - they are not all daft but it took a lot of sifting.
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Re: Figures suggest computer science graduates face highest unemployment rate

Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:26 am

DeeLondon said:


My cousin just finished a Bsc and Masters in Computers, etc and he know's sod all about real world computers, can't even install and configure Windows correctly.

Most medium to low class UK universities are teaching nothing useful that would be needed in the real world. He's struggled to find a job and only just got one but had to move 300 miles to get it, and even then the company was really desperate for staff they could train up as they just won a new contract.


This is true - my cousin is doing a BSc in Applied Computing - but he just doesn't have the logical mindset that he needs to be a programmer.

I expect he'll struggle through the course and then end up with some lower paid computer maintainence etc. job

The thing to remember is that just because you like using computers doesn't mean computer science is the best degree and a career in IT is for you

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