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Sorry State of IT Education: Readers Propose Fixes
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batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
5/10/2014 | 1:38:18 AM
Re: what we expect from college
interesting point... but in some cases it like catch 22... you have good degree but no exp... or you have good exp... but no college degree...
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
5/8/2014 | 4:34:18 AM
Re: what we expect from college
I think it is very true that many institutions are nowadays looking for money rather than educating students; many institutions doesn't care if a student is able or unable to undertake any course relabeled to IT. If a student is capable of paying the tuition fee, they will automatically get admitted. Most institutions also are just training students on how to make there ways and get employment instead of giving students the real knowledge that will help them in future either as an employee or an employer.
LawrenceGarvin
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LawrenceGarvin,
User Rank: Author
5/7/2014 | 4:59:10 PM
Re: Why shift from development to operational?
I think there's two aspects to the "first job" question: There's the question of "no IT experience", which is enough of a challenge in itself, and possibly also the question of "no employment experience".

Having "no IT experience" but some work history is a much better position than having "no employment experience" at all, which is a question I raised in the article. Although I'd also think that even somebody looking for their first paid IT job, probably has "IT experience" that can be documented. Who hasn't been roped into fixing mom's computer at least once?

This is also a question of how one presents themself for that "first IT job" position. It may be that those resumes are better written from a skills assessment position than a work history position. (But then, isn't that how everybody is supposed to write their resume?)

Personally, I think internships ought to be part of the academic requirements in a four-year IT program, and some places it is.

Work-Study Programs could also be a great opportunity, and at only nominally more cost to an organization than an unpaid internship, but that's likely going to take some outreach effort on the part of universities and the computer industry to find organizations willing to create such positions.

 
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
5/7/2014 | 4:32:49 PM
Re: Why shift from development to operational?
How does anyone get a first job without internships to demonstrate competence? We're not just talking about IT. If you don't seek out internships, I can't imagine getting through the initial screening hurdles. The non-profit volunteer suggestion is a good one, as well.
petey
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petey,
User Rank: Strategist
5/7/2014 | 3:08:12 PM
Re: IT Education vs Training
I respectfully disagree with your premise about critical thinking skills. First, these represent to me, what I would call 'analysis'. Second, I would suggest liberal arts classes and especially literature would be the exact place to learn them. Multi-layered plots and twists, incorrect deductions and assumptions, and incorrect decisions have been around since Shakespeare introduced them 450 years ago. Computerization and the internet have speeded up the need to recognize them. 
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
5/7/2014 | 2:29:12 PM
Re: Why shift from development to operational?
Yeah, this company I work for now used to use interns helping the Win admin guy who was here. Because of constant dictated turnover and, by nature, they needed a lot of direction, it is counter productive for the business. In some cases though, they were better than IT guy we had. ;-)

As a 55 year old (sole) developer here who is 10 years from retirement, I've given some thought to how the passing of torch should take place. Intern won't work because they can't stay. Hire too soon, they get bored and move on, creating churn. But wait until 1-2 years before, then you better be right about who you bring in, no time to do it again.
LawrenceGarvin
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LawrenceGarvin,
User Rank: Author
5/7/2014 | 2:18:17 PM
Re: Why shift from development to operational?
Well, it's certainly an accurate statement that there has been a shift in the disciplines where the majority of IT professionals work. This effectively occurred with the shift from centralized (mainframe) computing to distributed (client-server) computing, which required significantly more operational/administrative workers than previously. The other shift that occurred as a result of that paradigm change is that organizations became more dependent upon commercially developed software, rather than building software in-house, so yes, to a lesser extent we also saw a shift of programmers from working directly for a "customer" to working for software development companies. I doubt there are less programming jobs today than there were then, they're just not on the payroll of the end-user.

Regardless of where the shifts in employment have occurred, both developers and administrators need to be educated. But this is where the breakdown has occurred. Universities, which have had programming curricula for dozens of years (and some of those curricula have even been updated to reflect contemporary development environments, but I do know of at least one university still teaching COBOL), have been less responsive in implementing curricula targeted at server operations and administration. That gap was filled by community colleges and trade schools and the resulting focus of those programs was on "job training", not on technology education.

As for the "first job" question, I don't really know the answer to that. For many years I've been asked that question: How do I get an entry-level job in IT when all of the job descriptions require experience? My best answer has been to volunteer. Experience does not need to be paid to count, and there are gazillions of non-profits who would be very grateful for the help. Shucks, there's probably quite a few SMBs who would be happy as well.

Which begs the question.... perhaps we should be promoting the idea of unpaid or min-wage internships as entry-level opportunities. Of course, that also requires a committment on the part of the employer to mentor that intern.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
5/7/2014 | 2:00:48 PM
Why shift from development to operational?
Is your point that there are simply more jobs in operational things like network support versus old days I came from where companies were looking for developers to write their systems and support ERP?

Now, with the "in the cloud" and "off the shelf" mentality, are you just suggesting that most development jobs are only at software companies, and not that many to go around? If so, I get your point. But somebody still has to educate the developers who do work at software companies.

You point about lack of entry level is right on. I've often wondered how anyone gets their first job in IT these days, whether development or operational.

Good followup to your original article, nice work.
LawrenceGarvin
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LawrenceGarvin,
User Rank: Author
5/6/2014 | 9:31:01 PM
Re: IT Education vs Training
I disagree. I also submit that your conclusions are based on premises not readily discernable.

The employer may or may not have invested any time or money in the employee; that is, of course, one of the primary tenets of these articles.

As for switching providers... that's likely subject to contractual obligations with the service provider, and even then, in most cases the damage will have already been done.
Zman7
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Zman7,
User Rank: Strategist
5/6/2014 | 8:10:01 PM
Re: IT Education vs Training
"It's irrelevant whether I hire a full-time employee and put them at a desk in the workplace, or I higher a service-provider to take those calls. I still have the need, as a business owner, for exactly the same level of competence and service in meeting the needs of my staff."

Ahhh...but there's a big difference between the two. In one instance, the company has invested time and money in the employee without getting a good return; while in the case of the service-provider, the company can simply switch to another provider that will give the desired service.
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