The good news is more employers are looking for people who’ve got skills in new technologies. The bad news is many fresh graduates don’t have key skills that IT employers want and need. Computerworld’s Mary K. Pratt talked to recruiters and employers to compile this a list of talents—technological, educational and interpersonal—that they haven’t developed, in great part because the schools simply don’t teach them. The big six:
1. Knowledge of Business Basics
Today, IT is often considered a business function. Yet most CIS/IT/MIS students don’t learn business basics, which can hurt when other departments ask them to participate in projects, or the CIO wants budgets projections for the next four quarters. Though some grad programs are beginning to address this, recruiters say there’s still a knowledge gap.
2. Experience with Systems Integration
Employers find that new grads may be great at building a system from scratch but haven’t learned how to integrate a new system into an existing legacy infrastructure. This is hard to teach and hard to learn quickly on the job. It’s a real sticking point for inexperienced developers.
3. Emerging Technologies Expertise
Which of tomorrow’s potentially winning technologies should colleges teach? It can be a tough call. Luckily, some employers put new hires through developer boot camps to get them familiar with the technologies they’re most immersed in.
4. The Tech Basics
People born in 1988 have no reason to be familiar with a blinking command prompt, but if they want to work in IT they should. New hires need to know things like batch scripting or how to fix a PC when it’s not responding to input from the mouse, the really basic stuff. Some employers just force people to learn by trial and error. (That’s where Google can come in handy.)
5. Familiarity with Legacy Systems
Though employers want workers who know Cobol, Customer Information Control System (CICS) and other mainframe skills, colleges don’t teach them anymore. (If they did, who would want to take the classes?) It’s a big problem because as baby boomers retire, they’re taking their mainframe experience with them.
6. The Ability to Work on a Team
The cliché of the solitary programmer is true. Many IT pros prefer to work alone, especially when they’re coding. But the real world is full of team projects and meetings, and the ability to function in that kind of environment has to be learned. Some schools–but not all–force students to work on team projects to address this particular skills gap.