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back to article Tech grads least likely to find a job

The number of graduates unable to find work in the UK continues to grow, and IT grads are among the worst hit. The figures come from the Higher Education Careers Services Unit which got responses from over 80 per cent of graduates. The total percentage of graduates in work continued to fall - from 63.3 per cent to 61.4 per cent …

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Unhappy

Oh no...

>> The quango said grads needed softer skills such as communication and

>> literacy skills and business awareness in order to impress recruiters.

Well duh? I would expect literacy as a requirement to get to University in the first place. If they can;t read or write, it s not a Tech Schools place to teach them. Tell them to go back and get an English O-Level (sorry, showing my age, GCSE). Presentation skills? This is a TECH JOB, not a marketing droids position.

What these Tech Grads need is some basic knowledge of Technology. Do they know how memory works? How CPU's boot? What a device driver is for? Hell, half of them can't even use Excel, let alone work in low level C.

What we need are Tech Grads who can light up the world with how they are going to use the revolutionary new stuff to make money. Am I going to employ yet-another-2nd-rate-Java-Programmer, or some wizz kid who says "I can save you loads of money by utilizing GPUs for high speed processing of you most time consuming tasks"? And if I employ them, what am I going to pay? Java skills are cheap (though judging by the quality of CS grads in Java, its not surprsing)

The best tech grads are the ones who you leave in the corner, feed them pizza, and watch amazed as they come up with brilliant ideas and implement them.

Adrian

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Pseudo-anonymous

And here come the straw-graduates with no skills arguments.

The best graduates are assumed to have the potential based on their results, judged a good fit for the company based upon their interview performance, and then spend around two years being inducted in to the company in such a way that the potential is realised or mistakes are highlighted and the graduates are fast tracked towards unemployment. Of course now you need to have five years experience for entry level jobs, in which case I'll happily rent my references to those needing a leg up on to the first rung of your IT career.

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And UK Government is helping by....

Opening up further opportunities for the industry to offshore IT systems and services in order to reduce costs to the public.

They probably still think there is a skill shortage.

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IT grads

As a sign of the times, graduates in Chinese are reported as having the highest starting salary.

In the meantime, with the news that new IT graduates have the highest unemployment rate, one wonders if IT skills will be still seen as justification for entry into the UK. Yes, it might well be that the particular skills aren't there, but that's as much a reflection of the failure of BT industry to develop staff skills as anything else. However, the real truth is that UK businesses just see UK IT people as too expensive.

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Unhappy

£20k per annum

£15-20k student debt to payback

£30-50k deposit required for 200k one bed flat

£800-1400 per month London 2 bed flat rent

Seriously, why bother?

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fch
WTF?

I understand you don't want a response, yet ...

... why bother ?

Better match your lifestyle to your income, as it's your lifestyle you can control not the other way round. If you're making 20k/y then a 2-bed to rent for 800+ seems pricey. You can get a 1-bed/studio for 450+ almost anywhere in zone 2 London. Use busses instead of the tube and save another 400 a year. Go out drinking twice a week instead of four times a week and save another 200 a month. Make that once a month at a pub and six of seven times at a friends place with self-made pizza and wine/beer from Tesco's and you're saving another 200 a month (and are learning to cook). Accept that you're unlikely to buy a flat / house before you're 30, and suddenly that 30k+ deposit seems achievable, even after paying down the student debt.

There's a justified need for enjoying life, granted, but many of us seem to have lost touch with how to achieve that without spending, spending, spending.

In a way, you're right. Your reward/work ratio is tiny compared to being on benefits (for which it is infinite by definition - reward for zero work). But for that, you gain a sense of achievement, a purpose, the ability to fight hard and budget wisely, you become more marketable and valuable by the year, and you learn how to have fun without having to splash it.

That's why.

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Stop

Perhaps...

...a knowledge of the jobs they're going for, an interest in the topic they spent years studying - beyond what pay they imagine they should have, a lessening of the arrogance that comes with thinking they know it all, some hygiene standards and a modicum of respect for their potential employers would really help?

Jeesh, I sound like such a geezer, but really - am I wrong?

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UK tech grads even exist?

A leading UK tech recruitment firm sent over CV's last week for a contract web developer role based in London within the public sector.

CV's arrived from a South African, Two Indians, a Greek and a German. What's worse is they were without exception terrible resumes - one from a non-native English speaker full of glaring spelling / grammer mistakes, another who claimed to be an expert in pretty much every technology going, another had created a few gimmiky Facebook marketing promos...

This is the third time in as many months a new recruit has been sought to help out on contract with web work and each time the sample of CV's has been similar to the above.

Are there even any decent UK tech grads out there? Do they get excluded at the agency stage? What is going on here?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: UK tech grads even exist?

I fear you may not be the best judge of these CVs.

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Anonymous Coward

Hello?

Would that be because you're the one with a degree in software engineering and 15 years commercial development experience and I'm the editor of an online red top comment blog?

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Messy

Ohhhh no you didn't!!!

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Troll

Ohhhh yes they did!

How about this for the first line of a CV -

"Objective: To be part of an organisation this can bring out the best in me and were my expert knowlege can be shared and I enriched."

Another candidate claims to be an expert C/C++, Java, Python, Unix developer (his CV says he's got several PHD's from various Asian academic institutions) and yet his only demonstrated experience is putting together a few awful looking hobby html web pages?

Finally, a degree in fine art studies distinguished another who felt his passion for the great masters and years experience working as a graphic designer would stand him in good stead for the transition to object orrientated programming, MCV application architectures and multithreaded coding.

All these were guys ready to hit the ground running on a £1500 per week software development contract. Is this the much discussed skills shortage or do they save these guys for the UK public sector jobs? With highly skilled IT workers like this its no suprise large public sector IT projects run on budget, on time and never go completely wrong?

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Unhappy

AC@15:09

""Objective: To be part of an organisation this can bring out the best in me and were my expert knowlege can be shared and I enriched."

Another candidate claims to be an expert C/C++, Java, Python, Unix developer (his CV says he's got several PHD's from various Asian academic institutions) and yet his only demonstrated experience is putting together a few awful looking hobby html web pages?

Finally, a degree in fine art studies distinguished another who felt his passion for the great masters and years experience working as a graphic designer would stand him in good stead for the transition to object orrientated programming, MCV application architectures and multithreaded coding."

You've got to making this s$%t up.

No one can *that* f£$king clueless.

Can they?

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Stop

Source of the data?

Your article misses out that the data is collected from a survey performed just 6 months after graduation, based on data sourced from the 08/09 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DHLE) survey. ( I know, I work in a HE Careers Service).

http://www.hecsu.ac.uk/research_reports_what_do_graduates_do_november_2010.htm

This 6 months time scale is very important because in my opinion it is not a very good indicator of the longer term employment prospects of graduates, it may be that they are just taking longer to find work.

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Paris Hilton

Ah but ah!

There may be an insecurity matter to factor in (or two) but in this post I'll focus on management insecurity.

Often (especially in publicly funded organisations?) there is an insecurity about a manager employing a new, raw recruit who might have higher skills and knowledge levels than the manager himself.

What usually happens is an insecurely skilled manager will always recruit in a way that does not further challenge the manager's skills and knowledge insecurity.

Add to that a robust round of redundancies and there is not way an insecure manager is going to appoint a highly skilled, knowledgeable recruit.

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happened to me once

it's not just managers, you get arse wipes even in the engineering ladder who are not sound technically and yet conduct interviews. These are the type who can sweet talk and make it seem that they know more than they do. this particular specimen had his crosstalk concepts all wrong and I told him as much. I didn't get the job, but in retrospect it would probably have been worse to get the job and suffer the fool everyday.

Sometimes though, if you really need the job it may be necessary to actually appear less capable then you really are especially in this era of insecurity.

if you're really good at your job though, you will still get a job cleaning up the mess primates such as the specimen quoted above make.

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Anonymous Coward

happened to me once

"if you're really good at your job though, you will still get a job cleaning up the mess primates such as the specimen quoted above make."

Blag your high paying role based on qualifications / experience gained overseas (might get caught out at interview a couple of times but wont be long till you get a break, usually when the hiring manager is non technical or the techie has jumped ship). Start work. 2 months browsing Facebook while blaming your predecessor for the mess they left. Then blame obscure technical issues and befuddle management while you spend 3 weeks browsing jobserve for a higher paying contract. Quit a week early before they find out how little you've done or can actually blame you for anything. Finally after repeating this over several years retire back to your home country before the UK taxman asks where his share of your hard earned is?

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Anonymous Coward

Ah but ah!

> Often (especially in publicly funded organisations?) there is an insecurity about a manager employing a new, raw recruit who might have higher skills and knowledge levels than the manager himself.

The hiring manager's principle concern is getting the project completed and reporting back up the chain to his superiors. He's bringing someone else in to do the work so his interests are served by choosing a capable and skilled underling.

I have seen an instance once (in a public funded organisation) of a team tech lead deliberately bringing in incompetent unskilled idiots, presumably to try and safeguard his own position (and/or to hide his lack of skills). Seemed like a flawed strategy. What happend? As the project ran late and seriously overbudget lack of delivery was brought into question by those up the food chain around the same time a finance controller started asking why so much was being spent. The guy had shot himself in the foot and was fired shortly afterwards.

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Unhappy

AC@13:58

"Often (especially in publicly funded organisations?) there is an insecurity about a manager employing a new, raw recruit who might have higher skills and knowledge levels than the manager himself."

Certainly not limited to public sector roles.

I went for an interview with a certain company. I was solid on the core computer hardware but weak on their specific network. I tried to sound interested, enthusiastic and that I'd wanted to work for them since I was a fetus (all that s£$t recruiters recommend you appear even when you rather eat your own entrails than spend a minute with this crew of scum bags. As it happened I quite liked them).

Feedback was I seemed "Too eager. I think he might take my job."

Thanks for that.

I like to think that anyone *that* defensive about their job is probably (over a decade later) *still* doing it.

At not much more than what I was being offered back in the day.

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Megaphone

LOOK MUM, I'M COMMUNICATING

"The quango said grads needed softer skills such as communication and literacy skills and business awareness in order to impress recruiters."

Yes but recruiters are idiots. You need real skills to get a job, not pretend ones. Every CV in the world starts off with "I have great communication skills" (or in my case, "I fucking love communicating"). It's not impressive. If you can't communicate then how would you ever have applied for a job in the first place? You might as well state that "employers love to hire people who can breath and who are alive". Wow, really? Whodathunkit.

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Happy

AC@14:38

"Every CV in the world starts off with "I have great communication skills"

True. Nevertheless companies actually *want* you to tell them that you are not deeply introverted type with borderline Aspergers Syndrome (Well would you have wanted to work with Gary McKinnon)?

The fact that the UK has some of the least professional management in the *world* might have something to do with some of their more stupid requirements.

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stop bashing people you know nothing about ...

... like Asperger affected workers.

They have far richer inner lives than those facade-only talkers that made it into middle management by no other skills than smooth talking and backstabbing.

People with Asperger's syndrome are just far too honest and direct in the little they say to ever make it to management level.

Give me a bag full of Asperger co-workers any day. Definitely preferrable to a boss whose only raison d'etre is to be a carbon emission source.

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AC@10:36

Hmm. I seem to have struck a raw nerve.

While software development has a *reputation* for being a solitary process conducted in near silence by people who communicate in monosyllables *my* experience in development shops in commercial companies (software to get a job *done* not for sale) is that social interaction is a fairly key part of the job both internally and externally.

That starts from your interview. Guess what, management types tend to hire people who are (sort of ) like themselves. Yes it's unfair and yes they probably waste *huge* amounts of time and effort when they would have gotten a *much* better result from someone who was a bit less socially adept. Amateur managers tend to make amateur management decisions.

*Real* managers can build such awkward personalities into a strength of a team rather than a problem to be dealt with.

Perhaps it's different at a site whose purpose is software development rather than a support activity. I've never worked in a software house. The one time I met such a developer I discovered he'd got an excellent CS degree but was earning substantially less than me with substantially more experience.

An intense lack of communication is also actually *scary* to some managers. One of the *great* unspoken IT *management* fears is the developer who

1) Doesn't speak.

2) Writes critical core functions of the system very well.

3) Documents and comments very badly.

Not because they can't be replaced (although that would be *very* difficult) but because they have the *potential* to render the manager powerless.

Unless you work *entirely* from home and interact through email and talk through a speech synthesiser you'll going to have confront the whole talking-to-people-on-the-job thing.

What I'm trying to say in my inarticulate, introverted way is that managers (some times aided and abetted by recruiters) can ask for some *very* stupid requirements and (in the UK at least) seem to have *very* low tolerance for people who have a different view of the world, even in fields which tend to attract different viewing people.

Personally I couldn't care less what any one's problems are.

The leader of the pack on my computer language training was a young women with some fairly serious issues who had to withdraw before graduation. Any employer would have been lucky to have her skills *if* they could deal with her character.

If someone can deliver the work at the rate needed to the documentation standard needed I can live with the odd bit of drama in an office. It's only serious when they try to set fire to you.

However I'm sure there are plenty of shops where *phenomenal* and *extraordinary* developers are merely synonyms for quick ("It's amazing. He wrote that whole package in 3 days." Great. No comments, 1 character variable names and f&*k all clue *anywhere* how it works. A real *pleasure* for the various programmers over the years who will have to support his "amazing" code).

In an ideal world professional managers would fairly assess *any* candidates total skills and work out a way to fit them into the the team they are trying to build *regardless* of their issues.

But this is not an ideal world.

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Anonymous Coward

The Guaduate

Have you ever *met* an IT graduate? Have you ever met an IT **lecturer*?!

What would you expect to get if Stevie Wonder was tasked with teaching a bunch of common senseless dopes how to paint? The best you could hope for would be a batch of robots who only knew how to paint by numbers - And that's exactly what IT too many graduates are.

Those who actually know their job learnt it from messing about on home PCs and warez in their bedrooms. If they even went to college, it was only to pander to the formality of getting a qualification so that some automaton manager would actually employ them, otherwise the common-senseless dope would get it instead, leading to Plusnet trashing all their customers' email - AGAIN!

Then the lecturer stays behind in la-la land, assuming the credit and basking in the glory of having taught the self-taught student all they know in the couple of years they were in their class.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: The Guaduate

That is funny because Stevie Wonder is blind and cannot see for painting.

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Paris Hilton

Re: The Mary Whitehouse Experience

Yep, you got the jist of it. Some impressionist bloke in the 80s did a good one where he kept getting his tongue caught in a harmonica (due to the lack of eye-tongue coordination, you see), but I can't remember who? You might like Eddie Murphy's instead:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Avh2QdAxQjw&t=01m02s

I bet Stephen Fry won't, though. He's also a tad politically correct, at least when he isn't publishing Kinsey-esque surveys of Ana Flavia's attitudes toward men.

Why's there no icon of Gene Hunt wearing only his snakeskin boots? I'll have to go with Paris instead.

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Happy

That's not polite

Making fun of a guy with a speech-impediment. For shame.

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Anonymous Coward

Ttir,amcla/od

"What these Tech Grads need is some basic knowledge of Technology. Do they know how memory works? How CPU's boot? What a device driver is for? Hell, half of them can't even use Excel, let alone work in low level C."

I'm a second year undergrad doing Software Development and I covered all this in the first semester of the first year. so I have NO idea what you're basing this opinion on but remember, you're only ever a google away from proving yourself wrong.

As an IT student, I'd like to say that this article has disheartened me, that it has made me worry about my prospects when leaving university, but frankly it hasn't. I'm already making money from my applications and technological ventures, and provided the mobile app phenomenon doesn't collapse in on itself I'll be making a good sum even after I graduate.

However...

"hose who actually know their job learnt it from messing about on home PCs and warez in their bedrooms. If they even went to college, it was only to pander to the formality of getting a qualification so that some automaton manager would actually employ them"

This I agree with. My real development skills come from working hard at creating great software in my spare time. Any chump can go to university and pass CS101 through 301 and still come out without a solid understanding of how machines work. To sum up, if you want the lessons of university to help you, then you have to help yourself by supplementing your knowledge with a great deal more through applied development and extensive reading around important topics.

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Piece of cake finding a job I found.

And quite ironic that the adds in the page are IBM. Plenty of IT companies hiring record numbers of grads now.

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Anonymous Coward

That's probably because

Nearly every recent grad I've met just wants to be a consultant, and have seemingly overlooked the fact that generally you actually have to build or work on a system first.

I hadn't worked on much the stuff I'm currently doing when I started a year ago, but I managed because my attitude was "I guess I'll just have to work it out, won't I?", but then I applied to a technical company because I wanted to work with technology, rather than being another well paid man in a suit.

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FAIL

The Biggest Fail

The biggest fail of this whole bit? CompSci is a software development degree. Server management, networking, etc are all had under DIFFERENT degrees. Want to learn Web Programming? Computer Information Systems. Java/C++? Computer Science. Care to learn how to install network cabling and properly terminate? That's a electrical or communcations engineer degree. CS majors won't learn about a device driver unless they're learning to program one. They won't learn how to configure DNS on a *nix box. Their coursework is too crammed with Java I, Java II, and Java III crap to cover anything else. There's only 1 uni within 250miles of me that even has a "networking" subset of their CS Bachelors. The rest? Programming. Period. It's a sad world really when you can churn out Java/C++ monkeys that don't even know what a DLL is for....

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Anonymous Coward

uh oh

Never mind IT, did I see that the most likely to be unemployed were engineering graduates ?

ah

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Happy

cliche time.

It's 6 of 1, 1/2 doz of the other.

Yes some of those degrees *are* rubbish and the skills they teach (ever if you get a 1st) have limited use in the real world.

But is that because academic institutions know *nothing* about the real world or do the employers know *nothing* about how to describe what they need *from* an academic institution?

Strangely given the connection to numbers and maths *very* few under grads seems to actually check what the earning stats are for their specialty (Computer weekly is your friend) to find out weather their carefully sculpted end of course Java project will make them actually *employable* or IRL the job description would be knocked out to some 3rd world hive. Good skills in a popular language improve your chances of eating on a regular basis. Great skills in a specialist area and/or language will put you at a table at a 5 star restaurant on a regular basis.

As for the selection process the most honest I have experienced was the 2 stage one.

Stage 1 is HR. Prove you can walk without dragging your knuckles along the ground.

Stage 2. "Here is an office with a link to our server, language manuals, login and task description. We'll be back in 2 hours. It runs you're in."

I'm fairly sure such a process could be adapted to test more complex aspects of the development process.

For the record.

My end of course project used embedded hardware programmed in Pascal. Most of my grasp of English grammar picked up studying compiler construction. 3 years as a programmer from skills taught on a vocational training course. C skills good enough to subclass Windows controls within my app without crashing and growing data structures using dynamic memory allocation. The last completely off the job for my own interest and no doubt completely obsolete because of course Java uses automatic garbage collection.

Got to go as my bladder is giving me gyp and my bag is starting to fill but If I sit down on the pot too long the hemorrhoids will become excruciating. *

*Some of the symptoms of my old git hood might be a little exaggerated.

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Go

Drinking the [original] Kool-Aid ...

... or shooting oneself in the foot. Looks like all those articles telling teenagers all the best jobs, highest demand and highest pay was in the IT field paid off. From the corporations viewpoint that is.

Now the corps have, what, dozens of applicants for every job so they just pick the best of the best and leave the rest. Maybe it's hundreds of applicants for each job. Whatever, but the fish sure took that bait and now maybe wished they hadn't. What did they (you) expect to happen? Did you expect the boom to last forever? Probably.

Never hurts to have a backup plan. "Backup", now there's a term every IT guy should know and respect. Sure glad I got my business degree, engineering license. and teacher's certificate. Made things very nice and flexible.

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Do you fatten a pig by weighing it

Psst, CamerBlair - ditch this quango, pass on the tax savings to the Britains' Business, and watch the magic of job creation happen.

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