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

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the welcome-to-the-real-world dept.

Security 609

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."

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It's Called 'Experience'! (5, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#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).

Re:It's Called 'Experience'! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#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:It's Called 'Experience'! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331400)

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, know what you're doing in your field, and know how to lead others well. IT also requires more confidence than a typical four-year-degree holder, because you have to believe in yourself more than the average person.

Re:It's Called 'Experience'! (2, Funny)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331584)

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

Re:It's Called 'Experience'! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331460)

That degree isn't all that important. I was a high school drop out and by the age most people my age were going into their first year of college, I was signing an $80k/yr contract for my first real job in the tech business. Fifteen years later, I'm doing just fine in this career and not once has anyone ever asked about college or my lack of a college degree, much less my lack of a high school diploma.

It may generally be easier with a degree, but it doesn't make you smarter or more ambitious or better qualified in any way. It's just another way to get your foot in the door and if you're passionate enough, you'll find another way to get your foot in, if you have to.

Re:It's Called 'Experience'! (2)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331730)

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.

Re:It's Called 'Experience'! (1)

muindaur (925372) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331402)

I completely agree. The program I came out of emphazied learning new technologies, programs, and programming languages quickly. Now, almost four years after graduating, I'm going into accounting because of all the insane job requirements.

Each company has 50 million different combinations of programs and programming languages. They should be looking for someone with a solid understanding of object oriented design, UML, database design, etc. Those are the things my school taught me in the limited time they had.

So here I am unable to get work in the field because some old idiots think we have enough time to learn all their antiquated systems. They NEED to train us on their particular systems because they don't have the same combination as others.

Did I mention that Windows Servers are so freakin easy that as A STUDENT at my college the asst director of IT spent five days with each student employee playing with a particular aspect of Windows Server 2003 each day? Yeah, that easy we were familiar with it in less than seven days, and a few of us trusted enough to be allowed to work on live servers.

The following week was replicating it on Linux with some mix and match work. So two weeks of hands on training. Imaging discs isn't hard either.

No, a company has to have someone with ONLY their skillset. So I'm out! That's the reason I moved towards accounting. A field with work AND reasonable job requirements.

Re:It's Called 'Experience'! (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331616)

Each company has 50 million different combinations of programs and programming languages. They should be looking for someone with a solid understanding of object oriented design, UML, database design, etc. Those are the things my school taught me in the limited time they had.

Congratulations! You know nothing but flavor-of-the-week "technologies" that are actually products and acts of windbaggery.

Pot-kettle black (4, Insightful)

microbox (704317) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:It's Called 'Experience'! (3, Insightful)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331602)

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).

Re:It's Called 'Experience'! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331642)

Agreed. Once upon a time the _company_ did the training; they hired someone that they believed had potential, knowing the new hire would --now get this, it's a radical concept-- _grow_ into the position. Now, the corporation the demands that universities be corporate training mills, rather than an institution of higher learning as universities were intended to be, so that the company doesn't have to spend time and resources on training. The most glaring example of this is the business school: corporations have pushed off their training on b-schools, with students not learning a whole hell of a lot in terms of critical thinking skills. Now they want the same b-school type of training to occur in other disciplines/majors.

Re:It's Called 'Experience'! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331648)

The great thing about automated popularity ranking [google.com] is that it cannot hide how people really feel [google.com] .

It's a good disconnect (5, Insightful)

DavidR1991 (1047748) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331204)

A degree is not a job training course.

End of.

Re:It's a good disconnect (2)

calzakk (1455889) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331246)

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.

Re:It's a good disconnect (1)

calzakk (1455889) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331256)

...Which some employees just aren't capable of...

potential employees

Re:It's a good disconnect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331362)

No, too often they're real employees....

Re:It's a good disconnect (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331358)

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 the IT jobs out there. Efficiency? Who cares, have our customers buy better machines rather than you spending another 3 hours to improve the efficiency of the algo. Yes, it certainly counts for Google to improve the database queries. It does not for almost every other company where you would be tasked with writing database apps, simply because they do not have thousands/millions of requests per second.

Re:It's a good disconnect (5, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331438)

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.

Re:It's a good disconnect (1)

morcego (260031) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331656)

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.

Because people coming from a technical school (with is a lower level of education then college) do. They usually require 1/3 of the in-house training than a college graduate does before they start contributing to the company.

Re:It's a good disconnect (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331750)

They also lack an understanding of what they are actually doing and their work shows it.

Re:It's a good disconnect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331620)

One could then blame most employers for not keeping up on trends that we teach college students. I know that after completing my Masters degree, I assumed that most companies were really interested in moving towards using the standard best practices that they asked for in their ads. Nope. Discipline in software design and development is fine as long as management doesn't have to learn anything new.

Re:It's a good disconnect (1)

morcego (260031) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331638)

Thats wishful thinking, at best. College (not the degree) is only the foundation of the job if you know what to do during that time. Which, sadly, most colleges don't teach students. The only training you get during college (in most places) is how to work inside a college. On a good note, if you plan on following on a teaching career, you are in a good position.

Re:It's a good disconnect (5, Insightful)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:It's a good disconnect (0)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331544)

Sadly it has been confused from day one of modern education. The system is not about teaching, it is about programming the biodroids that slot into place inside the corporate machinery.

Re:It's a good disconnect (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331526)

A degree is not a job training course.

End of.

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

Re:It's a good disconnect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331560)

Except they IT employers have degrees and are working in the real world.

Re:It's a good disconnect (2)

ahoffer0 (1372847) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331532)

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.

Re:It's a good disconnect (1)

morcego (260031) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331626)

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 the companies. The "get people ready for the job market and what the companies need" model of technical schools is what is need. Several countries are starting to see that, and investing heavily on it (Brazil, Germany etc).

First and foremost, before "previous job experience", companies are looking for "usable skills". So you get out of college, with the ink still fresh in your certificate, with a ton of book knowledge and zero usable skills. Why would a company hire you ? Take a few hours every week, stop looks at books and how many certificates your college teacher has, and look at what the market need. Before you graduate, take the time and talk to some recruiters and see what they are looking for. I can give you a few key advices here:

- They are looking for people who can speak more than one language, or at least read/write on a second language
- They are looking for people with up-to-date knowledge of the market AS IT IS (not new tendencies and technologies)
- They are looking for people who can learn fast, and know how to learn by themselves, without needed another to spoon-feed them, hold their hands and all that
- They are looking for people who can process information fast, and make decisions
- They are looking for people who act
- They are looking for people with previous work experience, EVEN IF IT IS IN A NON RELATED AREA (people who experienced company dynamics); so yeah, working at McDonalds gives you a huge advantage over the other candidate that never worked at all.
- They are looking for people who don't like excuses, and don't give them (A degree is not a job training course => excuses)

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

Re:It's a good disconnect (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331754)

But isn't it supposed to be? Especially if it is a BS degree. Yeah, a BA degree means you have a well rounded liberal arts education and are theoretically trained in how to learn stuff and how to read Voltaire. But a BS degree, at least in every other field besides CS, means you are at least nominally ready to go. A trained engineer, a trained scientist, a trained nursing supervisor. Etc.

Any school that gives someone a BS degree who can't be hired, given maybe a week of orientation and then be able to start producing *something* ought to lose their accreditation. FFS, after three years working at McDonald's and going to the occasional 1 or 2 week training program, I had the experience to run an entire store, and almost all of the training to be a supervisor of multiple stores. Not just how to make hamburgers, but how to repair all the equipment; hire, fire, train; budgeting; significant food safety/science; operations, logistics and so on. At 23. If an educational system can't put someone out who is similarly trained in their field for that same time commitment, it is sorely fucked up.

Colleges aren't technical schools, that is true. They are supposed to be MORE. Technical skills plus general education.

Of course, any hiring manager that thinks someone with no experience will be able to RUN a non-trivial IT department is nuts. But in theory, if this person also had some degree in business administration, they ought to be able to make a good go of it.

Huh? (5, Insightful)

Bedouin X (254404) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331228)

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? (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331340)

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.

Re:Huh? (1)

Hairy1 (180056) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331424)

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.

Who's suprised? (5, Insightful)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | more than 3 years ago | (#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? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Who's suprised? (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331632)

The difference between aerospace and IT is that a competent IT person is more than able to hone up on their experience prior to graduation: building clusters, writing programs, debugging, administering their own equipment, and reading. Most of IT is reading (and applying as you go, based on experience). There's nothing to stop someone from honing up their IT skills and experience prior to becoming a 'graduate'. (In fact, due to the nature of the career, I'd personally not hire someone who hasn't - though I'd also expect the wages to be commensurate.)

That said, companies expect to pay the same amount for a 'someone who did the coursework' graduate as they do for 'someone who worked in IT while in college' graduate or a 'has prior experience' graduate. Hell, they'll try to shank someone with 5+ years of experience with graduate wages, if they can - I've seen it time and again.

I am not sure who these people are (5, Insightful)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Companies need to do their part too (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331260)

It used to be a degree was paper that proved you were trainable. Now it seems the expectation is the paper proves you're trained. Its about as ridiculous to expect higher education to pump out fully trained systems people as it is to expect higher education to pump out fully trained executives. Higher education is to provide a well rounded education, and training to learn how to learn. The other thing I couldn't help but notice is many of the jobs on this list are the very items companies had outsourced to death. Nobody in their right mind would spend time training in these areas knowing their careers would be short lived. I think outsourcing is no longer the cheap form of labor it once was and wouldn't you know it....there is a shortage of skilled people her to fall back on. Is that a failure of education? Or a failure of management? I view it very much as the latter.

They're scientists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331266)

It's called "computer science" for a reason. If you want IT (information technology) people, you're looking in the wrong place. Of course that's a symptom of a society in which vocational training alone is a dead end career decision. All reasonably smart kids therefore aim for a college degree and that means they're going to become scientists first and have to be retrained for practical careers. Unless businesses start considering candidates without college degrees (and pay them based on the job they do, not on the formal education), the situation isn't going to change.

Re:They're scientists (1)

gomiam (587421) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331472)

I guess all graduates in other engineering degrees know all that there is to know about their field, let alone all the tools and machines available for them.

Reasonably smart kids may aim for a college degree. Smart kids also know that it provides them with the means to quickly learn applications of it in their field of engineering, the same way getting a driver's license means you are ready to get experience with real life driving. Reasonably smart businesses know that too and invest on getting smart kids up to snuff on their internal processes, some of which wouldn't be even available to study out those same businesses (secret production methods still exist).

Of course graduates lack what IT managers want (4, Interesting)

Dracos (107777) | more than 3 years ago | (#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).

Alternate reality requirements (4, Insightful)

overshoot (39700) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Of course graduates lack what IT managers want (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331408)

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.

Re:Of course graduates lack what IT managers want (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331444)

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...

Re:Of course graduates lack what IT managers want (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331468)

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 not in the only IT department built this way).

One of our hires I had zero input on, and the result was someone who, while very kind and very eager, requires a shitload of hand-holding, even for a junior admin. She has a degree, but little experience in the actual portions of her job duties - yes, she knows Windows, but barely beyond the desktop stage ("...thanks, HR - you fucktards"). :/

Point is, it's a balancing act. You have to set sane requirements, but you do have to have people who are confident, and able to get on with the job after a short period of finding out where everything is.

Re:Of course graduates lack what IT managers want (5, Insightful)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331650)

if you need "I need folks who are able to hit the ground running" you don't hire new graduates you hire old hands who have a few years of experience. This is just the old whining of companies not wanting to pay for training.

Re:Of course graduates lack what IT managers want (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331652)

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 not in the only IT department built this way).

Operations like yours should accept the reality of training people up to your spec or pay a premium for people who "can hit the ground running" with the applicable experience and initiative.

If you can't do either, its time to take your business model back to the drawing board. It seems likely that your expectations of contribution WRT compensation may be out of whack.

Re:Of course graduates lack what IT managers want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331492)

Don't forget, these days, if a job posting goes unfulfilled long enough, you can back it up with an H1-b. It is illegal to request H1-b candidates only. Listing the requirements in this way allows the hiring entity to dissmiss a candidate for *any* reason, only to cite "not qualified" officially. Lots of operating between the lines here. No cluelessness here at all.... /cynicism

Re:Of course graduates lack what IT managers want (1, Interesting)

VoidEngineer (633446) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331510)

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 specifies, "must have real experience with Breaks, Transmission, Steering, Engines, Air Filters, Air Conditioning, Fuel Filters, Suspension, Radiators, Stereos, and Upholstery." It would be reasonable to expect an auto mechanic to be familiar with all of those systems. Similarly, it's reasonable to expect IT professionals to be familiar with a long string of technologies.

The trick, I find, is to understand that people can gain that experience in a variety of different ways, and not to expect people who have that kind of experience to have written books on the subject. Those lists of technologies indicate the need for a generalist, rather than a specialist. And that's where the miscommunication usually occurs. Those IT managers aren't seeking for a specialist in each of those technologies. Rather, they're describing their environment, and saying 'we need somebody who can function in this environment with these technologies'.

Re:Of course graduates lack what IT managers want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331580)

Except that HR/other people will ask for 1/2/5 years experience in each one. Now you said your self "one-off Ruby site somewhere". I would not consider that 1 year of ruby experience or 5 years/whatever those brain dead morons put the job offer...

Also each of those requirements is a different job, often people do PHP for a job, or Ruby/Ruby on Rails/other frameworks for a job, or Python and things like DJango for a job. Also typically Cisco is handled by someone with IT. Anyway I think you are an idiot.

Most smarter companies (I see amazon does this too) look for something like...x years experience in object oriented programming with one of Java/C#/C++/etc. and x years experience in one or more scripting languages (Perl/Python/Ruby). Because in reality there is a learning curve but if you learn one scripting language, it doesn't take that much longer to learn another. The same is true of the jump from C# to Java or even C++ to C# or Java. I could see where the jump to C++ would be a bit harder than the other way around.

It's like my first job, when I left they crafted such a set of requirements that I wouldn't even apply. Then they whined that they couldn't find anyone. In reality I touched R once for doing a linear regression, somehow the requirement came out to 1+ years of R even though they don't use it anymore. And it just went on from there. They were idiots just like you.

Re:Of course graduates lack what IT managers want (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331738)

this is a very poor analogy IT is not a trade like 'auto mechanic' its a profession. And having come into IT via a vocational route I and all the other students on my mech eng BTEC course regarded the auto mechanics with horror we seriously doubted if more than 50% of the could open the box containing a new component at the right end. and in no way would a 'auto mechanic' know anything about upholstery. and the average programmer isn't going to know that much about Cisco ok I do having done the cisco academy CCNA and the Wireless equivalent but i was the UK's OSI X.400 thirdline support for BT back in the day - I am a very atypical programmer. so pop quiz from memory whats the process for recoving a bricked 2600 ? or whats the default serial port settings ?

Re:Of course graduates lack what IT managers want (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331646)

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.

Re:Of course graduates lack what IT managers want (2)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331736)

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 about it, and expect you to know something about it. I will ask about things that have nothing to do with the job you're interviewing for if you list them on your resume. Sadly, I haven't even bothered to get to this point of the interview in our recent batch of candidates -- none of them have done well enough with the softball questions to make it worth grilling them on harder stuff.

I see your problem (5, Insightful)

IICV (652597) | more than 3 years ago | (#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:I see your problem (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331422)

<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 process of switching jobs :).

That's why if you want your salary to keep going up, you forget about long term loyalty and switch jobs regularly for a raise (but not too often that it makes you look bad).

Re:I see your problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331458)

Protip : Give them payraises the more experienced they get.

When you're paying someone with a 4+ year college degree peanuts for pay, no shit they're going to leave when they get a better offer. Thats not something unique to the IT industry. I've seen people hop around retail jobs because they would get 50 or 75 cents raises if they changed jobs.

Re:I see your problem (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331578)

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...

WHAT THE FUCK??? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331310)

I went into the article expecting the usual bone-headed incompetent management drivel, but the last item on the list of jobs that are hard to fill still blew me away:

10. Active Federal Government Security Clearance

Seriously, any hiring manager that thinks it's the universities' responsibility to get security clearances for students as part of a degree, wow, that's a hiring manager that somebody should drag out back and shoot.

There's a disconnect allright (1)

folderol (1965326) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331318)

... and it's in the heads of the employers. How on earth can anyone train to be 'ready to go' when IT in particular, and engineering in general, is such a vast shifting quicksand. Are universities supposed to re-write their course material every 3 months? Where will they get information about new hardware/software being developed (secretly) now and due to be released before the students graduate? Do students have to decide before they actually start study which specific manufacturer of which specific industry they will be 'ready to go' to?

tiny babies perfect in every way ready to be loved (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331332)

try to get the flow of that, as we'll never be able to be trained properly to match the 'experience' of inadvertently aiding unprecedented evile in it's life0cidal cause.

we'll be able to see the new chores opening up coinciding with remarkable spontaneous outbreaks of caring for one another, & the aforementioned little ones, whilst rejecting all forms of weaponization/destruction. see you there? there's nowhere left to hide.

What IT managers want... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331334)

I someone with 20 years of expertise with 0-1 calendar years of experience/paygrade.

Stop require CS degrees for all positions... (3, Insightful)

terraformer (617565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331346)

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 (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331418)

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

Re:we need more tech / trade IT schools they can h (2)

NewWorldDan (899800) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331582)

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, purchasing, and billing.

The 4 year programs aren't any better, and often worse. There aren't any in my area that teach on Microsoft. Lots of theory, little practicality. They, at least generally get some training on source control. They don't, however, teach business processes. Absolutely vital. You can't help the user if you don't speak their language.

(ok, rant over)

Re:Stop require CS degrees for all positions... (1)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331434)

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 course material will have changed every 5 years. Today's CS degree has mostly the same theory it did 20 years ago.

Re:Stop require CS degrees for all positions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331728)

My degree was similar except we did not have building database apps. The majority of the programs were for numerical methods or to illustrate algorithms/basic concepts. I did have a database class back in 2002 but most assignments were related to working within the database, not hooking up a web app.

In any case figuring out how to hook a web app to a database was simple. At my first job I did a .NET interface to a database in 3 days. So really it's a waste of time in a CS program. I'd prefer it stuck to theory.

Although my Masters degree (finished this year) did cover some new developments in Data Mining/Distributed Systems. In particular Google's MapReduce, Amazon's Dynamo, Yahoo's PiG, Microsoft's Dryad, etc.. And most of those developments are within the past ten years...

Re:Stop require CS degrees for all positions... (2)

ShavedOrangutan (1930630) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331446)

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 boring windows apps that all the EE's and CS's do. I end up teaching OO Design to a lot of EE's.

Re:Stop require CS degrees for all positions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331704)

Or worse than that, EE degrees for application developers.

I worked with a guy who had a BSEE. He was just their programming because he needed a job and in the meantime, he was interviewing constantly for an engineering job.

He resented being "just a programmer". He would exclaim in a soft voice so that the boss couldn't hear, "I'm an engineer! I shouldn't be doing this shit work!"

His work was OK. It worked - mostly - and he was slow. It wasn't that he was incapable it was just that he didn't give a shit. He eventually got laid off during a house cleaning.

Me, OTOH, I wasn't engineering material, many of the CS stuff was really hard for me (CS minor: biz degree), but at the time, I really loved it - I was constantly studying on my free time to keep up. I had to leave because of changes in the industry - what I did became obsolete and what work was left was only done by hard core CS people.

I left the industry because there's no place for people like me anymore.

Re:Stop require CS degrees for all positions... (1)

WrongMonkey (1027334) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331562)

What privately run IT training programs? I hope you're not talking about Devry or some certification camp.

Re:Stop require CS degrees for all positions... (1)

ahoffer0 (1372847) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331570)

Agreed. There are about half a dozen people in my department with Master's degrees in comp sci who spend their days testing business systems. It's a sad waste of their education and intelligence.

Re:Stop require CS degrees for all positions... (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331668)

Here's the problem. While an IT/CS degree is not a pedigree of competence, it does indicate that the person is able to teach themselves (to some limited degree) - something a high school or trade school diploma usually does not indicate. It gives them a broader brush with which to paint, and is an indicating factor as to the person's drive and ability to perform the job at hand.

Sure, someone without a degree can do the job, probably. But it's much more of a crap shoot.

Re:Stop require CS degrees for all positions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331720)

I see where you are going but it is not reality. Someone without a degree and accomplished in the field has to have two qualities by default. The first being that this person is capable of training him or her self. The second being that they have a true passion for what he or her is doing. Some people require a structured and forced environment that a college provides, others do not.

Education vs. Training (5, Informative)

overshoot (39700) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

"essential skills required to run IT departments" (1)

PinchDuck (199974) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331354)

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.

Duh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331368)

In other words, "Only 8% of hiring managers rate recent graduates as having 5+ years experience in the three common technologies, five esoteric products, and specific industry they're hiring for." Not exactly news.

Article is dead on (1, Redundant)

Bandit0013 (738137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331374)

I am a development director for a business. It is astonishing to me how ill prepared new grads are. Most do not know SQL, most have never used a webservice, CSS, or any number if common relevant skills. I give a coding test to candidates. It involves a solution that requires a dictionary class and about 15 lines of code to loop through a flat file. It is open help files. 80% of new grads fail it. It is easier than most classroom assignments I had coming up.

Re:Article is dead on (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331436)

I've taken database classes and I've programmed websites to interact with databases.

However, it's been a long time since I've actually written any SQL. My current employer would flip out if I did, we hired pure Database people for a reason.

So, would I fail your test? Because I'm unable to spew out SQL statements on command?

Re:Article is dead on (4, Insightful)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331484)

The point of a degree isn't to learn language X, then language Y, then language Z so that five years later their training is useless because things have moved on to language A, lanugage B, and langugage C. The point is to learn how a RDMS works, so you can pick up whatever particular flavor a given shop is using quick as well as easily move on to whatever "the next big thing is". The problem here is that you're expecting the university to make up for the fact your company has no training budget even if it causes long term damage to their students careers. You should be asking questions like: "Given a particular problem description, show me how you'd develop a properly normalized set of relations to capture the database". That's where the value is. Figuring out how to translate that table schema into whatever syntax your database tool uses is relatively trivial once that happens.

Re:Article is dead on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331576)

The point of a degree isn't to learn technology X, then technology Y, then technology Z so that five years later their training is useless because things have moved on to technology A, technology B, and technology C. The point is to learn the underlying concepts like set theory, relations and cartesian products, so you can pick up whatever particular technology (like relational databases) a given shop is using quick as well as easily move on to whatever "the next big thing is".

Re:Article is dead on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331528)

You're being wasteful. The few graduates who have all the hands-on experience that you require in addition to a college degree know that they're a rare breed and expect to get paid accordingly. If you're looking for someone who's proficient with SQL and CSS, then stop requiring a college degree. You don't hire a waste management engineer to drive a garbage truck, do you? Of all the cogs in the system, you're the one who needs to change, not the universities or the graduates.

mod up a 2 year tech degree + on the job work is b (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331718)

mod up a 2 year tech degree + on the job work is better then a 4 year degree that has a lot of bloat that is not needed to a basic level that is needed on the job. Most of the time you should not even need the 2 year part.

What a waste of electrons... (5, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331376)

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.

Re:What a waste of electrons... (3, Insightful)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

What about the other 92%? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331394)

8% of hiring managers would rate IT graduates hired as 'well-trained, ready-to-go,'.
92% of hiring manages prefer out sourcing of IT departments because they can get it cheaper so they are willing to overlook well-trained.

while(capitalist != knowledge) graduates == null (3, Funny)

gizit (1411887) | more than 3 years ago | (#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 yo (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331456)

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.

Re:IT should have apprenticeship like other trades (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331574)

Whatever, how often does anything change in plumbing? Almost never. Don't even try to tell me it does. What you are saying is an employer should be able to legally treat new hires like shit. The fact is they already do, but you want a legal way to get work for basically free from new hires. That's what an apprentice plumber is, "almost free" labor. Think architects. Maybe after 10 years they get to design something different than bathrooms.

http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/7429337/

Re:IT should have apprenticeship like other trades (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331596)

Strangely, many European countries have just that. For example, Deutsche Telekom and Siemens even have their own training divisions in place to raise new for their needs and many countries run their own vocational school system alongside to teach the common groundwork while the actual specialisation happens on the job in the students' company.

Re:IT should have apprenticeship like other trades (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331696)

I agree to a certain extent. The 'old university' approach isn't necessarily bad, it's just how business has latched onto it and expects the moon. They're still operating in a pre-2000 mentality, to a large degree: "someone with an IT/CS degree must be a computer genius".

Honestly, I'd like to see IT take the following approaches (in abstract):
* A two year degree gets you a technician job
* A four year degree gets you an junior engineer/administrator apprentice
* A two year degree with 2-3 years of experience is akin to a 4-year degree (in terms of experience)
* Six years of experience is akin to a 4-year degree

And so on. The problem arises where companies expect to hire someone with a 4-year degree and 4+ years of experience for trade school graduate rates (eg. 2 years school + 2 years of experience).

since when... (1)

ohzero (525786) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331478)

has college graduation been the equivalent of "training" ? I don't know a single doctor who, even after acquiring their MD would suggest that they are "trained" in a given specialty.

They want trade-school gradutates. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331524)

Not university graduates.

Re:They want trade-school gradutates. (1)

Matt_Bennett (79107) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331628)

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.

knowledge is the only capital left (0)

gizit (1411887) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331552)

Face it, american capitalism died 3 years ago due to the fact that it was enforced with guns and run by crooks. The financial markets have never been free because intermediaries learned how to game the system without understand what money is for (psychopaths). The most valuable product of western civilization is knowledge and its free! IT IS FREE! so should you!

Computer Scientists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331612)

if (IT== ComputerScience) {
      print('you are lying');
}

Colleges teach computer science. Computer scientists work on academia, not in the "market". The market needs to push for a new major: Software engineer that teaches what they need the most (ie less math).

Not everyone (1)

Skorpfox (830069) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331634)

Owning a company with many IT employees I do see this a lot, people are not prepared for real world situations coming from Universities. BUT the classes in Colleges and Universities aren't there to teach how to deal with specific situations, they're almost always theory and very little hands on.

The requirements that I now employ in my hiring process, after going through a lot of IT grads, is for people to demonstrate their capability to trace problems and be systematic about troubleshooting issues. That's more of a thought process than it is something that can be taught. The employers that believe people are going to have the perfect training just out of school are just ignorant to the diversity of the term IT.

Universities know they are not doing this right. (1)

OFnow (1098151) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331660)

The February 2011 "Communications of the ACM" describes recent research showing that Computing and Computer Science education is not succeeding at teaching the basics. The good news is that the problem is now beginning to get useful attention in the form of actually figuring out how to teach programming (etc). Essentially they are beginning to use the scientific method to determine what works for teaching CS. Instead of guessing.

Start at 14 and code code code (4, Insightful)

wdhowellsr (530924) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

A mixed bag of nuts (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331692)

In my experience, the quickest folks to get "up and running", are those with team experience. One of my profs, Arthur Lo, once said of his course, "Most students say that they get the most out of the lab exercises . . . I think that they get the most out of their lab partner." It sounds trivial, but it is rather insightful . . . the best newbies that I have worked with, had experience in working in teams.

"Hey, let's all of us work on a project together. We'll use a system like CVS so we can all see what's up. If some folks are better at programming, and others better at management stuff, we will divide the responsibilities, accordingly."

The worst case that I had, was a work student intern, who couldn't program himself out of a paper bag. I asked him why he chose to study CS. His answer: "Because I heard that you can earn a lot of money there."

Wrong answer.

I dont have a degree in IT (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331702)

but it sounds like I started off better. You can get experience on campus, that is what I did. Find a student job in IT or another department that runs its IT. But companies still weren't hiring me with my experience. I guess the degree in photography threw them off. I could have developed 1 job into a systems management job and another into a business analyst job after working as a contractor temporarily.

HR People with a Clue ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331706)

Why even report this as a problem with IT college training.

The HR guys are just working off a form from pointy haired bosses in the internal IT department.

So the better question is how would you rate your companies IT management ?

Compsci degree without programming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331746)

When I employee someone as a software developer, _I expect them to be able to code_. That is an entry-level requirement: I will not pay you to learn fricking C or Java on my time, especially when that is one of the job requirements. Furthermore, I am at a complete loss to explain how someone can get through a computer science degree _without_ knowing how to program (at all: I'm talking about writing "strstr()" here, nothing complicated).

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