CNN: Computer degrees losing appeal

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by MTarant, May 24, 2005.

  1. MTarant

    MTarant New Member

  2. Splas

    Splas New Member

    I just graduated a couple of weeks ago with a BA in Business Administration with a technology concentration. To me, that seemed like the better way to go as companies have decided that cheap tech labor is the way to go.

    In the article it states that tech companies are concerned, well they didn't seem too concerned when they were shipping all the support and programming jobs over to India did they? :rolleyes:
  3. JoAnnP38

    JoAnnP38 Member

    I've been a software engineer since 1982 and I make more money than I ever though possible. In predicting the job market I fully believe that that are parallels to investing in the stock market. In other words you buy on bad news and sell on good. The IT job market has seen a good share of bad news and basic human behavior is driving people from the profession. However, the wise ones are sticking it out because they know this is only fueling future opportunity for those of us remaining.

    All I've got to say is Computer Science/Information Technology is doooooomed. ;-)

    (ka-ching, ka-ching)
  4. Jeff Walker

    Jeff Walker New Member

    There has always been a slight shortage of competent IT professionals. In the .com boom, this became a huge shortage, leading anyone with an IT degree (or simply certification) to be able to get a high-paying IT job. In my experience, 50% of the new people being hired, even by companies that should have known better, were basically incompetent. People needed bodies.

    Non-IT folks recognized this and flooded IT training of all sorts, from universities to private training firms. One major problem with this training was that too many people were able to complete the training without really having a clue what they were doing. I even saw cases where people were earning bachelor's in computer science from RA universities who couldn't program their way out of a wet paper bag.

    So once the .com bubble burst, companies fired the incompentents first. On top of this, the hiring that was going on suddenly was able to be far more discriminating. All of a sudden, an IT degree was no guarantee of employment. Not surprisingly, people have noticed and enrollments in IT are down. We're back to a situation where only the truly committed are going into formal IT training.

    That's the history. My real objection to the article comes from the idea that lower enrollments will somehow lead to future shortages. Historically, this has never been the case. The reason for this is because the majority of IT professionals were not IT majors in college. Many are self-taught hackers or geeks. Many are professionals from other fields. I have met more programmers who majored in math or biology or physics or engineering or even music or philosophy than programmers who majored in CS. I don't see this changing anytime soon, so regardless of current enrollment, future demand will likely be filled, unless another .com-like bubble skews the market.
  5. marcuscarey

    marcuscarey New Member

    He's 100% right

    Couldn't have said it better. Well done Jeff!
  6. jimnagrom

    jimnagrom New Member


    Buy of bad news and sell on good...


    "Based on the volume of job advertisements online and in newspapers, the IT job market has not suffered as badly as many media outlets would have us believe. However, gone are the days when English literature graduates with some HTML knowledge could get high-paying IT jobs. That's a good thing, really, because such ill-prepared candidates didn't deserve those jobs.

    Although employers have raised the qualification bar for IT employees, well-trained students can still find good jobs. A recent study by the Canadian Information Processing Society revealed that on average it takes approximately three months for CS graduates to find a job instead of the immediate employment they enjoyed during the dot-com boom. In contrast, on average it takes nine months for a biology graduate to find work."
  7. Online Student

    Online Student New Member

  8. jimnagrom

    jimnagrom New Member

    Buzzzz...thank you very much for playing...

    That is not, in fact. what the article said - but its interesting that that's what you got out of it.

    "As IT becomes a more integral part of every business function, there will be increasing numbers of people outside the (information systems organization) whose work involves IT," Gartner said in the report, "and as IT skills become a more important component of business professionalism, in-house IS staff will be displaced."
  9. PaulC

    PaulC Member

    First, the need for skilled IT workers is still as prevalent as it ever was, it is just that much of those needs now reside within the business units and not specifically in an IT department.

    Second, it is still a very good market for those programmers and network professionals that have the legitimate, high level skills to get things done. In the Late 90's, anyone that could spell programmer could get hired as one. This gave the false impression that the potential workforce that fit into this category was much bigger than it really was.

    Those that were pretenders fell by the wayside when the country woke up from its drunken binge pie-in-the-sky dreams of how the internet would make everyone rich. What has remained is a very solid economy for those professionals that live, eat, and sleep programming and left no room for those that took a one week course in VB and called themselves a programmer. Many of those people can still do very well with solid IT generalist skills and additional domain application knowledge and experience.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2005
  10. sentinel

    sentinel New Member

    In fact the need for skilled IT workers is greater now than during the dot-com boom. Competent IT staff are not easy to find and those who are available are becoming more selective about their potential employers.

    There are still many a pretender among us. Most of the pretenders tend to have better developed interpersonal skills than the average professional IT worker to compensate for other difficencies. Smoozing can carry you along way.

    Yes, the opporunties that initially drew programmers into the field are slowly returning.
  11. Actually, I think you hit on one of the reasons, but probably not as intented.

    Business no longer tolerates IT professionals who can't communicate or who have poor interpersonal skills. It's no longer sufficient to be a good programmer or technologist, you also need to be able to work with others around the company. I used to have guys work for me that had poor hygiene, no social skills, etc. but were kept on because they had specialized knowledge. If I were hiring today I'd get to pick and choose from a lot of candidates, including those who had good social skills as well as programming ability.

    I'd bet that if you look at many people laid off who can't find work again that they're lacking the "full package" that employers are seeking.

    It doesn't have to be schmoozing, just the ability to actually translate geek into business speak.

  12. sentinel

    sentinel New Member

    I agree with your observations. Technical skills are important but without the ability to communicate ideas with others in the organization there is not much future these days.

    By schoomzing I was actually meaning political manuevering as opposed to general social and interpersonal skills. These were the pretenders to which I was alluding not those with well-developed interpersonal skills that complement their technical skills.

    Thanks for pointing out the need to clarify the precise definition.

    Well rounded individuals they used to be called I think.
  13. guy_smiley

    guy_smiley New Member

    Even during the worst months of 2002, we had a hard time finding qualified IT people. Despite hundreds of resumes, most were either trash, wrong fit, inexperienced, or failed miserably on questionaire exams. For example, we had one guy who was applying for a programming position who couldn't write a function to swap two integers.

    Then, once they were hired, sometimes we found they weren't as great as they said they were. We've hired several programmers who did well on the interviews, but once it came to producing work, they couldn't seem to keep up. They were either to slow to produce or their work quality was abysmal.

    IT isn't a panacea. It's often high stress, long hours, and requires constant dedication to learning new technology. These are qualities many people shirk from.

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