Many companies and college IT departments are ready to hire as the economy thaws, but more than nine in 10 college graduates who majored in information technology (IT) aren’t prepared for life in the workforce, according to a national survey.
Eight percent of new IT hires are “well trained” and “ready to go,” while 44 percent are “well trained” but have “gaps” in their skill set, according to respondents to a survey conducted by SHARE, an association of IT industry professionals, including colleges and universities.
Three in 10 IT companies said new hires were “severely deficient” business skills and are often in need of remedial training from superiors.
IT know-how wasn’t the problem for many recent IT college graduates, according to the report and a SHARE official, but rather interpersonal skills that proved lacking. Problem solving was the most critical area of need for IT companies, with 77 percent of respondents saying new hires needed that skill.
Seven in 10 said new IT workers needed critical thinking skills, and 61 percent pointed to writing and communication skills.
College and university IT professors are providing students with essential technical skills, but educators could help students develop business acumen, said Ray Sun, director of marketing for SHARE, which has more than 2,000 member companies in its association.
“These are skills that you can practice,” Sun said. “[Colleges need to] create an environment where that can be practiced and coached. I don’t think that’s something that you can stand up and lecture about. … It’s just like a management skill, but until you actually practice it I don’t think you really absorb it.”