Programming Grads Meet a Skills Gap in the Real World

Posted on September 10, 2007  Comments (5)

Programming Grads Meet a Skills Gap in the Real World

Ari Zilka, chief technology officer at Terracotta, in San Francisco, said he knows very well about the skills gap, as he worked his way through college in the high-tech business while attending the University of California, Berkeley. “I found that UC Berkeley had an excellent curriculum but not only was my schooling lagging behind work, it became very hard to even go to school because work had me learning the concepts and their applicability and nuances that teachers didn’t even seem to know.”

Zilka noted that many of the new hires he’s seen during his career continue to echo the same sentiments as he did. Some of the things the school didn’t teach Zilka and many who are now entering the work force include issues around communication, development skills, and business and product design. On the communication front, Zilka said, “Presentation skills are critical, and selling and influencing peers is critical.”

“When graduates join organizations [after college] they are often shocked to realize they are dealing with limited resources, deadlines, fuzz requirements, requirements that change weekly, applications that scale, the use of frameworks and libraries, existing code—that may be bad code with bad design decisions, issues of interaction within and among teams, and having to develop code that is secure,” Scherlis said.

via: Sean Stickle. Related: High School Students Interest in Computer ProgramingA Career in Computer ProgrammingHiring Software Developerssoftware programming posts on our management blog

5 Responses to “Programming Grads Meet a Skills Gap in the Real World”

  1. Aaron
    October 8th, 2007 @ 9:23 pm

    This is not the first time I’ve heard that there is a skills gap coming out of college for CS majors- it makes sense, also, as most classes CS majors take are theoretical, and do not have much, if any, business application. It’s too bad- people with business know-how and programming skills are much more versatile than programmers without business sense.

  2. Simon
    July 10th, 2008 @ 6:21 am

    Okay, I’m biased (because I train people to make presentations, as a living), but this is a problem I see on this side of the Atlantic too. Rest assured though, that it’s not just engineers who don’t like making presentations – it’s a problem for social scientists, medics and… well, pretty much across the board!

    Interestingly, some places (like Imperial College, London) now run “transferable skills” training to try and counter the problem, but have to do so in the face of resistance from the students, who say “What’s this got to do with getting my PhD?” and don’t attend. Such a shame!


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