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Skills Needed For a Future In IT

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the zeno's-arrow-points-to-the-help-desk dept.

Education 258

Lucas123 writes "An increase in the pace of change in IT has created new dynamics for jobs involving the Web, mobile computing and virtualization. For those looking to enter the marketplace in years to come, 30-somethings hoping to upgrade their skills, or those who'll be winding their careers down by 2020, skill sets are drastically changing. For example, graphics chips are doubling in capacity every six months. That translates into a thousandfold increase in capacity over a five-year period — the average shelf life of most game platforms. 'We've never seen anything like it in any industry.' Colleges are in continual catch-up mode and have only recently added project management and soft skills training to computer science programs. According to one expert, 'They're about five years behind where they need to be.'"

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258 comments

Nitpickaz Anonymous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33346724)

Five and a half years, turbodork (2^10 is eleven doublings)...

"For example, graphics chips are doubling in capacity every six months. That translates into a thousandfold increase in capacity over a five-year period"

Re:Nitpickaz Anonymous (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347446)

Five and a half years, turbodork (2^10 is eleven doublings)...

I have ONE right now, let's double:
1) 2
2) 4
3) 8
4) 16
5) 32
6) 64
7) 128
8) 256
9) 512
10) 1024

Satisfied?

Seriously now, the way graphics chips are growing is awesome, if you think in terms of using the GPU for calculations.

There have been a bunch of articles these last days on AI and I have posted on them that, by my calculations, a million cores machine has more or less the capacity needed to run a neural network equivalent to a human brain.

Today one could assemble a desktop computer with almost a thousand GPU cores, using two high end graphics cards. If (that's s big IF) we can extrapolate this trend for the next five years this means a desktop machine with a hardware capability on the same order of magnitude of a human brain.

Now lets start on the software...

Most important skill, IMHO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33346734)

ability to get a first post on demand. Really helps you stand out.

Skills needed in IT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33346736)

Don't you just need to know how to take a computer apart and put it back together?

So what? (1)

Xamusk (702162) | more than 3 years ago | (#33346748)

Well, then maybe one should just study project management and soft skills. So in a few years, all we'll have will be some soft managers, thinking they know something about computer science.

Re:So what? (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 3 years ago | (#33346772)

Of course, project management has actually been part of a "Software Engineering" course for a while.

Re:So what? (3, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347056)

and nowadays its more important that any knowledge of computing - once you know how to manage an outsourced team, you're golden. Who needs to know anything about actually doing anything after all.

Next week's lesson: how you never need to work again because your rising house price earns more than you do.

Re:So what? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347572)

I agree with you in the sense that for the last decade or two at least there's been a real disincentive provided for competence or knowledge of the field you're managing. Some people are genuinely able to manage workers that are doing things they don't get with great results, however usually it doesn't work out, the ego just gets in the way. If a particular manager can set aside his or her ego to get the people doing the work the resources to do a good job and can find genuine talent as well as deflect the criticism and problems from above, then that can definitely work out. It's just not common for managers to know anything about managing or to give a rat's ass about the output if it isn't directly linked into their banking account.

Mis-use of college, if you ask me (5, Insightful)

hessian (467078) | more than 3 years ago | (#33346750)

'They're about five years behind where they need to be.'

These days, anyone that industry likes is an "expert."

College works best when it functions as (a) a qualification program and (b) a general, background, theoretical and broad study of the subject matter.

Qualification in this case means that you go to college to endure an extended test that ultimately shows how dedicated and intelligent you were. Made it through four years of Harvard? You're pretty good, usually.

A general background means that you study the theory and a broad survey of the topic, so that you understand the underlying issues and the basic methods of addressing them.

I don't think it makes sense to teach specifics in college, except vocational colleges like community colleges. That's the kind of stuff you learn on your first few jobs anyway, and it's so rapidly changing that trying to get college to teach it is a moving target no one will hit.

Re:Mis-use of college, if you ask me (4, Insightful)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 3 years ago | (#33346892)

Not to mention that the amount of arrogance in calling academia some kind of industry training ground is ludicrous. Who is he to tell the universities where they "need to be?"

If you ask me, it's academia that is important and significant, and industry is just something you have to do for food.

Re:Mis-use of college, if you ask me (1)

BooRadley (3956) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347274)

If you ask me, it's academia that is important and significant, and industry is just something you have to do for food.

I'm guessing your work email address ends in .edu?

Re:Mis-use of college, if you ask me (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33347570)

Those who can do, those who can't teach. My guess is that you are either an educator or a career student, which is it?

The reality is that you have things backwards. Academia only exists to prepare people for an industry, and has become a bloated bureaucracy much in the same way politics evolved. This isn't a chicken and the egg situation as it is well understood that education systems exist to support industry, not vise versa. In recent history we have allowed them to stray drastically from the purpose, in the name of "broadening horizons" and are paying the consequences. When a person can spend four to six years in an educational system and not learn any applicable skill to be used in the real world, the education system has failed.

It is very much in the real of industry professionals to question the effectiveness of the education system, when the resulting graduates of said system are unable to function in the industry. Academia is a byproduct of industry that has derailed and become a festering pool of special interest and abused psychological programming. Tools that were intended to be used to program impressionable youth as skilled artists, engineers, and professionals, now are used to produce preprogrammed puppets and useless self-righteous idiots. With enough time, it will undoubtedly become a pseudo religion of it's own.... as demonstrated by it's dedicated clerics such as yourself.

Re:Mis-use of college, if you ask me (4, Insightful)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33346920)

Quit thinking like an academic and start thinking like a business... "on-the-job training" is a cost sink hole, because they don't want to pay enough or provide good enough benefits to keep people around long enough to make any investment in training worth it. So they want schools to do it, but the schools have this funny notion about how they're supposed to teach people who to learn and think, not how to work with technology X, because they know technology X is going to be obsolete in a few years anyway.

The HR people who don't know what they're talking about, look at a check list and can't think about how a skill in one thing might translate (odd, because they're philosophy degrees prepared them to ask big, important questions right out of school... like "do you want fries with that?" before they "translated" their skill set in to HR... hrm...). Case in point, this hosting company I used to work at got real corporate about the time I left, and actually got some HR people and whatnot. A friend of mine applied there, got an interview, and then was told no because he didn't know PHP, despite having a few years of Perl. Cause, you know, the sheet said PHP, and programming can't possibly just be programming, right?

Re:Mis-use of college, if you ask me (4, Insightful)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347136)

A friend of mine applied there, got an interview, and then was told no because he didn't know PHP, despite having a few years of Perl. Cause, you know, the sheet said PHP, and programming can't possibly just be programming, right?

That's not completely invalid, unless your friend was the only candidate.

Learning a new programming language is usually trivial. Learning all of the libraries, design ideas, best practices, hidden pitfalls, etc. around that language usually isn't. Hell, at an enterprise level I'm not an especially qualified Java developer today despite having a good 8 or so years of professional Java dev on my resume because so much of the constructs and practices around the language are constantly changing and I haven't done enough of it lately.

Sometimes someone who has the background to eventually learn how to do a job well is good enough -- but if you're competing with people who are ready to do it on day one because they do have the specific experience, don't be surprised if you don't get the offer.

Re:Mis-use of college, if you ask me (2, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347222)

Sometimes someone who has the background to eventually learn how to do a job well is good enough -- but if you're competing with people who are ready to do it on day one because they do have the specific experience, don't be surprised if you don't get the offer.

"specific experience". The primary goal should be to find the field you want to work in (telecom? medical? whats left of industry?) and get a minor in that area. The original poster should have been able to tell the HR guy he is an IT solutions provider with a minor and experience in biomedical electronics or whatever the company did. No one wants a PHP coder as an end result, they want a specific business goal achieved. Show some expertise in the business.

The other thing that kills me about this is new hires must be a perfect match, but anyone here longer than six months has already gone thru three complete reorgs to totally new platforms. So ... the entire current staff has to do OJT but new hires cannot? Anyone who's actually held an IT job longer than six months can back me up on this.

Re:Mis-use of college, if you ask me (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347268)

The other thing that kills me about this is new hires must be a perfect match, but anyone here longer than six months has already gone thru three complete reorgs to totally new platforms. So ... the entire current staff has to do OJT but new hires cannot? Anyone who's actually held an IT job longer than six months can back me up on this.

To be fair, the current staff already has knowledge of the company's business domain, practices, personnel, legacy projects, etc. that gives them value over a new hire.

(Not to argue that all or even most requirements on new hires are reasonable.)

Re:Mis-use of college, if you ask me (4, Insightful)

malkavian (9512) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347174)

Actually, Philosophy wouldn't be bad, as you could appeal to their logic. Philosophers are usually pretty decent at that.
The problem is that HR is frequently filled with arts, media and 'communication studies' graduates who fervently believe that as long as they keep talking and passing paper around, it'll all be alright.
They rarely have any idea of what the jobs they're advertising for are actually about, but hey, put a tick in the box, and what could possibly go wrong!

The biggest problem with HR is lots of power (they create the policies by which hirings and firings can be made), with very little accountability.

Re:Mis-use of college, if you ask me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33347252)

>A friend of mine applied there, got an interview, and then was told no because he didn't know PHP.
Anybody with a CS degree should be able to learn enough PHP before the interview inside of a couple of weeks to get past the interview without much difficulty. What stopped him?

Re:Mis-use of college, if you ask me (3, Funny)

Midnight's Shadow (1517137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33346972)

I was once told 'college is a great place to learn as long as you don't let classes get in the way.' It is a shame that they told me that AFTER college...

Re:Mis-use of college, if you ask me (2)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347018)

I don't think it makes sense to teach specifics in college, except vocational colleges like community colleges. That's the kind of stuff you learn on your first few jobs anyway, and it's so rapidly changing that trying to get college to teach it is a moving target no one will hit.

I don't think its as bad as everyone is saying (or at least in my anecdotal experience). I mean, yes, I was taught Object Oriented Programming in C# and VB.NET and we used Python and Perl and Java and Oracle and a whole smorgasborg of languages that will undoubtedly be trumped and obsolete in 5-10 years time.

But I think hands on experience with that kind of stuff is the best way to grasp the theory of it. I think its best that you are taught a wide variety of specific items so that you can draw the similarities to understand the theory.

It's one thing to visualize an object oriented system in your minds eye based on the diagrams they show you in a text book. You can be in awe and wonderment on how great a system like that is - but it won't do you much good without practice in its application. This is why I think its okay to spend a week learning the basics of something like C++, then you can program something Object Oriented in it. Then you can spend less than a Week learning Java, because the fundamentals are the same, its mostly syntax, and then you go even further into Object Oriented. Than you keep going further and further with a bunch of different specifics - but its easier and easier to grasp each time because everytime you do it differently you are building the foundation of the theory behind it.

So that when you graduate, you not only have a broader skillset but you have good experience in the theory. Now I know that when something better comes along (more and more people are talking about WPF for example), all I need to learn is the syntax, and its main design features, and how those will help my design and development process. The theory hasn't changed, just the process has been made more efficient. And this is what my school taught me to prepare me for work in IT.

YMMV.

Good! (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#33346760)

The last thing we need is for mundane society to catch up with the trend and stifle it like they did to the web and are trying to do with the internet. The more they catch up the more jobs they ship overseas, the more middle management we end up with, the slower growth becomes, the less profitable it is for small business owners, and the more big business monopolies corner the market.

I hope they never catch up. I hope it's wave after wave after wave. It's better to ride the waves and surf the trends than to let the internet become controlled by the MPAA/RIAA like TV, Radio and a lot of other technologies.

Mundane Society (2, Interesting)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 3 years ago | (#33346934)

The last thing we need is for mundane society to catch up with the trend...

Yes, what he said. Please, for the love of God, do not spread knowledge! Keep us elites strong, and let the masses rot! The last thing we want is an economy that can keep up. When the ship goes down, I want to be the rat sitting on the tallest mast.

Re:Mundane Society (2, Insightful)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347038)

The last thing we need is for mundane society to catch up with the trend...

Yes, what he said. Please, for the love of God, do not spread knowledge! Keep us elites strong, and let the masses rot! The last thing we want is an economy that can keep up. When the ship goes down, I want to be the rat sitting on the tallest mast.

College isn't free. The people who go to college who seek only knowledge are already elite enough to be able to pay for it. The people who educate themselves don't need to go to college to learn this stuff. So once again you assume all those college degrees have helped the economy or the internet ecosystem and they haven't. The only thing it has done was raise the barrier of entry. Now any kid who has talent and knowledge will be ignored in favor of the mediocre kid from mundane society with a degree or two.

Re:Mundane Society (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33347334)

Wow someones bitter and probably did not go to college himself.

Re:Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33347226)

The last thing we need is for mundane society to catch up with the trend and stifle it like they did to the web and are trying to do with the internet. The more they catch up the more jobs they ship overseas, the more middle management we end up with, the slower growth becomes, the less profitable it is for small business owners, and the more big business monopolies corner the market.

I hope they never catch up. I hope it's wave after wave after wave. It's better to ride the waves and surf the trends than to let the internet become controlled by the MPAA/RIAA like TV, Radio and a lot of other technologies.

Lack of regulation and eternal catching up is a double edged sword, though.
1 - regulation means that rules against stupid stuff can be put in place, like banning stupid users who refuse to understand the tools that they are given... requiring competitors to acquire certificates to do the same job that you worked hard to earn. Remember that doctors, electricians, accountants and lawyers all cost a lot, unlike our cheap IT competitors from india who are stealing our jobs DESPITE the constant growth of the same industry that we need to remain alive.

2 - you must be constantly training to remain employed at large companies --each new guys they hire has skills that are more current and can be "easily" trained to replace you. The new guy hired to do your job AND integrate facebook into your corporation's revenue model will generate good publicity that eventually translates into "what are the old guys doing for us? why do we pay them so much more?" The older people (in both senses of the word) usually REFUSE to learning new tech WHILE they are busy with projects and expensive infrastructure already in place, as they know it means more work for the same pay and their decades of prior work @ company X has granted a pretty decent paycheck there.

IT is already saturated, and as wrong as it may sound, if it isn't artificially regulated it in some standard, driver-license-type way at least, then it will be new people (as usual) and not US keeping our jobs when the gray hairs start coming in. Just finding a job in this recession is proof of what staying too long at a stagnant company can do to you when others were in better equipped ones.

Five years behind? (4, Insightful)

Manip (656104) | more than 3 years ago | (#33346762)

They've been calling colleges out for being "five years behind" since the first Computer Science programs started. But truthfully they are always at least five years behind, but while true the skills most teach are already "soft" enough to transfer into the latest and greatest toys. Java? Now you can write PHP, or C#. C? Now you can write Object C, D, and C++.

There is always this interesting push between what I like to term the Computer Science Vs. Software Engineering people, in which the former always wants to play with new interesting toys, write code, and generally act like an impulsive teenager, while the latter wants to be an old man, being safe, writing plans, timetables, and those middle management bits that drive CS people up the wall.

I think when we're young (mentally) we're CS, and as we age we gradually turn into Software Engineers.

Re:Five years behind? (4, Informative)

vux984 (928602) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347012)

There is always this interesting push between what I like to term the Computer Science Vs. Software Engineering people, in which the former always wants to play with new interesting toys, write code, and generally act like an impulsive teenager, while the latter wants to be an old man, being safe, writing plans, timetables, and those middle management bits that drive CS people up the wall.

I think when we're young (mentally) we're CS, and as we age we gradually turn into Software Engineers.

Agreed - except for the terminology. The group you call CS are just 'software hackers' (in the good sense of the word).

CS is a completely separate item...its actual computer science (algorithms, complexity theory, logic, network topology, relational calculus, etc...).

Hackers and engineers both benefit from CS... but it really has no bearing on whether you hack a ruby on rails (lanuage selected as place holder for 'trendy new language you also learned while doing the project') project together in an afternoon based on the 'specs in your head' or take a month to architect it in java (language selected as place holder for older language developer has lots of experience with) with defined project milestones, spec's documentation, interface documentation, etc.

CS is orthoganal to project management.

Re:Five years behind? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33347120)

the skills most teach are already "soft" enough to transfer into the latest and greatest toys

That's not what the expert is talking about by "soft": "Soft skills is a sociological term relating to a person's "EQ" (Emotional Intelligence Quotient), the cluster of personality traits, social graces, communication, language, personal habits, friendliness, and optimism that characterize relationships with other people." [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soft_skills]

Re:Five years behind? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347138)

agreed - but.. the "CS" guys are just hackers who want to play with their toys, the "Software engineers" have gotten bored with cool new stuff turning out to be the same old crap.

Real business needs the old guys more - but always ends up hiring the new guys. That'd be completely crazy.. in any industry but IT.

Anyway, it turns out students aren't interested in IT anyway, I'd like to say its because of the "churn" - every year you have to learn some new language, framework, feature. Often for no good reason other than MS wanting to sell you new crap to use, and that's if you're not outsourced anyway, so its no wonder the students of today prefer a more stable career.

Re:Five years behind? (2, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347152)

It's called "learning the basics". It's not like we're dealing with quantum computers yet. The basic principles that worked 20 years ago are still applicable today. It's just bloody hardware folks. Yes, there are some newer concepts, or rather old concepts pioneered in the 1960s and 1970s are finally being put into gear. But for a guy like me, who does network administration, WTF do I care how many cores the GPU has? If someone needs to do some big-time 3D modeling, okay, I'll do a bit of reading, figure out where the best bang for the buck (or whatever metric I'm told to use), and recommend its purchase.

I mean, we've just started rolling out Windows 7 in the last couple of months on some new workstations, and it's close enough to Vista that I haven't heard anyone go "OMG! WTF is that?!?!?" In the networking world, we're just looking at faster switches, smarter routers, but you know what, it's still a bloody routing table, looks exactly like the ones I was building fifteen years ago.

I'm sure there will be major shifts, but 99% of the industry is still gonna be stuck keeping Windows XP boxes going five years from now.

Specialization is not the future (5, Insightful)

bjackson1 (953136) | more than 3 years ago | (#33346764)

I've been working in IT for some time now, and I think that that any specialized hard-skils are pointless. Most of my success has been able to adapt to new technologies, languages, ideas, etc. IT is constantly changing (which is what attracted me to it). What you need is a solid background in IT concepts (how to program in A language, how to understand the TCP/IP stack, what a protocol is, etc), a solid understanding of interpersonal communication, and a willingness to change and adapt.

Re:Specialization is not the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33346866)

You forgot a willingness to accept constant and repetitive cornholing.

Tell that to HR and hiring managers... (4, Insightful)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347004)

Until then, it's the hard skills that most companies use as the prime determinate for whether or not a given application gets a first-level interview.

IT is one of the absolutely worst industries for pigeonholing, and your last job is the one that gets tattooed on your forehead, not the stuff you know (or think you know) the best.

Welcome to reality ... for the past 20+ years, sadly. I don't see it changing soon, as that requires an actual level of understanding on the part of those that be hiring.

Re:Tell that to HR and hiring managers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33347176)

Until then, it's the hard skills that most companies use as the prime determinate for whether or not a given application gets a first-level interview.

IT is one of the absolutely worst industries for pigeonholing, and your last job is the one that gets tattooed on your forehead, not the stuff you know (or think you know) the best.

Welcome to reality ... for the past 20+ years, sadly. I don't see it changing soon, as that requires an actual level of understanding on the part of those that be hiring.

Its not going to change anytime soon. I don't care how well you an implement a linked list, I'm not going to pay you to learn how to write an EBJ; if you can't get those skills in your current position, take a cert on your time and your dollar.

Re:Tell that to HR and hiring managers... (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347552)

Scary for a newbie too. Looking at all the jobs you could do given 2-3 weeks of research since they all require weird specific experience. Jobs pop up and then vanish before the 2-3week period. And even if they didn't if you don't get that job then you wasted your time learning a framework or app or coding style or testing suite that you may never ever need to use again.

And it only gets more frustrating from there. "Requires 3-5 years experience." - the most common line you'll see on a programming job posting. means that if you did end up getting pigeonholed into a narrow field like.... making e-commerce websites switching to something like making dynamic game sites is hard. Even though the skills involved are almost the exact same things.

I guarantee that the economic downturn caused tons of coders to take any job they could get and as the economy improves they will find themselves trapped.

Don't get me wrong this is true for all jobs. Especially the huge importance put on what work you've done in the last 4 months. Why the last 4 months are more important than your whole life before than is beyond me. My mother is a teacher, she didn't get a job one term so she decided to do be a nurse on a temporary basis (she was fully qualified already and was a nurse when she was younger). Since then it has been hell for her to get back into a teaching career. They are all so suspicious of her term nursing. As if it took away her ability to teach... when really it'd probably help as she teaches health-care.

Re:Specialization is not the future (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347126)

Most jobs I apply for have a silly long list of skills that seem to have nothing to do with one another. I don't see how any one can apply for a job when the list of skills is over a page long and ranges from 'knowledge of random proprietary software used only by big corporations' to Must know how to program in 'these 20 languages'. I don't see how most of these companies can expect to find a single person who can do all these things and then do it for 15 dollars and hour. Maybe the job market got more competitive or maybe people are just really good at lying about what they can and can't do but it just doesn't seem realistic to expect someone to do 40 things that are only loosely related with their 'job' as it's described.

Re:Specialization is not the future (4, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347314)

Being in IT, there are some concepts that just stand the test of time, regardless if it was the 90s and working with IRIX or today where one is using Nexus switches as SAN heads:

1: The concept of production equipment. This is a fact that a lot of people don't understand. Production machines don't get packages du jour installed on them. Any changes are well documented both to help other co-workers as well as for CYA reasons. This is a concept that a lot of people don't get until well-bloodied in the IT arenas. There is a reason why xroach and xbaby are likely not present on the production SAP cluster, and it is a good one.

2: The concept of the fact that sometimes a commercial product has a price tag, but it will more than pay for itself with time and effort saved. For example, I can cobble a backup solution together with rsync that all the machines on a network can dump to a device. Or I can use a chargeable backup product like Networker, NetBackup, TSM, or another utility that can do D2D2T, keep track of what media is where, generate recovery plans, ensure media is encrypted, and keep track of the rotation of media coming and going from Iron Maiden's offsite facility. For production critical stuff, the commercial program may cost a lot, but if deployed correctly, will be worth the price tag.

3: The concept of OS agnosticism. Yes, a person may like a certain platform, but in IT, various operating systems are best for different tasks.

4: Basic data center stuff. Don't store your beer in the CRAC ducts. Don't lift up the molly guard on the EPO switch as a joke because there is a chance of getting bumped and falling into it. Put the raised floor tiles back so the other people don't fall down. Don't use your tongue on the Ethernet cables to check for carrier because it corrodes contacts. Don't bring the 44 ounce Big Guzzles with lids that are not firmly in place. Same with uncovered coffee mugs. Don't stand on the racks to try to get something at the ceiling. Don't haul a 400 pound rack of Sun equipment with multiple disk arrays up the stairs because the elevator is slow. This is common sense stuff, but there are people who don't get this, and there is nothing worse than sitting in a server room as the room goes absolutely silent, since someone mashed the EPO button on a dare.

5: Common courtesy. Yes, someone may have root/Admin access, but if they are on systems they don't own trying to fix stuff, it causes big problems due to communication. If someone is on a system that isn't "theirs" and spots an issue, try communicating first.

6: Stuff changes. The days of remembering how easy and BSD-like SunOS 4.1.4 are long since past. Same with the days of SONET, dual-ring FDDI, ATM rings, and 4/16 mbps token ring networks. One has to adapt, remember the old stuff fondly, and realize that those technologies are history, replaced by Solaris, switched core/edge fabric, and cat 6a drops.

7: The ability to spend time wisely. There may be some issue that comes up that may take a lot of time to solve. However, it might be that that has to be handed over to someone else, or *GASP* company tech support must be called. Time for an IT person is precious, so tinkering with a problem may be fun, but it may land one into hot water as other things are left unfinished.

None of this stuff is taught in a classroom.

newfangled thingy (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#33346766)

I was trying to read TFA but this newfangled whatchacallit, where you put lines to make pictures that together make words? I am in my thirties, I couldn't understand it, it was too hard. Also the thingies on the bottom of the pages, with numbers where you place the mouse-cross and switch the button to open a new page, I could barely figure it out!

Clearly, the story is too complex and good that those 50 year olds don't have to read it, cause obviously they are going to die off soon and won't have to work, and the 20 year olds must be feeling right at home with all those pictures of thingies that make up words, it's us, the 30-40 year olds who are fucked.

What can I say, we belong in the dumpster of history.

Most companies (3, Interesting)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 3 years ago | (#33346802)

Most jobs I apply for have a silly long list of skills that seem to have nothing to do with one another. I don't see how any one can apply for a job when the list of skills is over a page long and ranges from 'knowledge of random proprietary software used only by big corporations' to Must know how to program in 'these 20 languages'. I don't see how most of these companies can expect to find a single person who can do all these things and then do it for 15 dollars and hour. Maybe the job market got more competitive or maybe people are just really good at lying about what they can and can't do but it just doesn't seem realistic to expect someone to do 40 things that are only loosely related with their 'job' as it's described.

Re:Most companies (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 3 years ago | (#33346870)

It is called FISHING. They are actually trying to catch a shark with...let's say one little sardina, without any real result of course, but just imagine if they actually catch even one shark!!! It will be like winning the lottery, lol.

Re:Most companies (2, Funny)

toxonix (1793960) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347088)

Correct. Headhunters. If you talk to them the don't know what any of those things are. But they can bullshit pretty good and before you know it you're drunk and shanghai'd into a platform X integration death march!!

Re:Most companies (3, Interesting)

malkavian (9512) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347258)

Often, it's a role they have someone lined up for internally, but are forced to send out to advertisement due to policy (especially the case in the public sector).
When setting up a job description, you tailor it to exactly the skillset of the person you're hiring; it'll be highly unlikely anyone else matching it would apply (or succeed even if they get to interview).
The big problem is that HR just take out this old job description and send it out again once said person moves on, ending up with a morass of unlikely skills that are hard to fit to a single person.

Re:Most companies (0, Redundant)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347312)

I don't see how any one can apply for a job when the list of skills is over a page long and ranges from 'knowledge of random proprietary software used only by big corporations' to Must know how to program in 'these 20 languages'. I don't see how most of these companies can expect to find a single person who can do all these things and then do it for 15 dollars and hour.

Actually, they already have found someone. Either a H1B or bosses son or "promotion from within". Its a game to give HR a skillset that coincidentally perfectly matches a person already selected. Don't bother even sending a resume there, because its evidence of a rigged game.

In fact, look at 30-40+ (2, Insightful)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 3 years ago | (#33346804)

It is funny that the the future skills that you need to develop are in fact the past one, like C (only, not C++), assembler, embedded OS (uClinuc, linux), RTOS....all of them require the good old C only skills...... Funny, ain't?

soft skills != science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33346834)

wankers

Ummm... (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33346842)

From TFA

"You bring a programmer or network administrator on board, and they don't have the big-picture view of how the business runs," he says. One recent hire, he notes, could program user interfaces but had no concept of a database. Another didn't know what an invoice was.

Where the heck are you finding your graduates? e-Click online university? I only skimmed this article, but it seems to be along the lines of "You'll need soft skills such as communication and adaptation". I thought this was already the situation, surely one can't get a job on server management skills alone right? They had to go through at least 1 interview.

Seriously, things are only changing as much as we expected them too. 5 years from now people will be as ill prepared for a career as they are now compared to 5 years ago.

Re:Ummm... (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347022)

From the article:

These are the college students who are getting degrees now and will fill payrolls in 2020.

What kind of Comp Sci or related degree takes 10+ years. I would hope that someone currently in college is on a payroll (at least trying to be) well before 2020.

From the article:

Another didn't know what an invoice was.

Of course not, the Warez 'r' Us.com generally doesn't send those out to their "customers."

They seem to be looking at the really slooooow kids, the PhD candidates (are they really a different group) and those who have never purchased anything. No wonder they are finding a general lack of usable skills.

Nonsense (2, Insightful)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 3 years ago | (#33346850)

> Consider, he says, that graphics chips are doubling in capacity every six months. That translates into a thousandfold increase in capacity over a five-year period -- the average shelf life of most game platforms. "We've never seen anything like it in any industry," he says.

Yes. I definitely remember my XBox 360 being 3 orders of magnitude more powerful than the XBox. I hate to cite Wikipedia, but this appears to show a 5 times increase in 4 years: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Transistor_count&oldid=374101890#GPUs [wikipedia.org]

> At the same time, colleges can't adapt their curricula fast enough to prepare students for the complexities of cloud computing and virtualization, not to mention specific technologies such as Microsoft SharePoint, observers say. Recent graduates also seem naive when it comes to business basics and how computing foundations apply to the real world, says David Buzzell, CIO at The Sedona Group, a Moline, Ill.-based workforce management services provider.

That's not new. Most colleges/universities do theory-heavy courses designed to let you learn the next big technology. If you want a MS certificate to say you grok Sharepoint, you can get that for a LOT less than a college degree.

> Another didn't know what an invoice was.

If you advertise for a someone with 2-5 years experience of a software package with 2007 in the name... http://seeker.dice.com/jobsearch/servlet/JobSearch?op=101&dockey=xml/0/5/0598524509067860fbf7aef52a6ae982@endecaindex&c=1&source=20 [dice.com]

Re:Nonsense (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33346998)

That's not new. Most colleges/universities do theory-heavy courses designed to let you learn the next big technology.

True, but universities could choose to provide more of a practical or business-useful tilt. (I don't want to get into the argument of whether or not they should.)

The example I always use is that in four years of undergrad classes at a top-rated (at the time, I have no idea if it still is) American university for computer science, I never encountered a database. In industry, I'm not sure I've encountered a project that didn't use a database for something. And, sure, I was taught a lot more complicated things than basic SQL, but as far as the business world is concerned that's a hell of an omission.

Skill #1 (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33346862)

Speak Indian or Chinese

One essential skill that never changes (5, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#33346878)

The ability to bullshit people into thinking that you know what you are doing despite the fact that half your job consists of trial-and-error attempts to work around the constraints imposed by other people that managed to bullshit people into thinking they knew what they were doing.

Re:One essential skill that never changes (2, Funny)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347048)

Sounds like the makings of the best Successories poster ever.

Re:One essential skill that never changes (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33347232)

Mod parent up!
Bit pessimistic, but very true.
The key to getting a job, especially entry level, is having the confidence in your abilities to pick up the job and letting your mouth twisting of the truth during the interview.

Again for the young bucks out there:
1. An interview is not about being honest, friendly, team-player, web2.0, 10 languages, the endless corporate and HR crap, blah blah blah.
It's about:
1. Are you confident in your abilities to perform/learn this job? If No, work either on self-confidence or polish up some skills.
2. Do you fit the mold of a person they are looking for? This is where you BS, pouring honey into their ears for their own comfort as for you know you can perform this job. This is the core skill in selling yourself. The sooner you get over your moral stance on this, the better off you'll be. You are doing yourself and them a favor. Put yourself in their shoes, they are interested in finding a person to satisfy this inaccurate mold they've constructed.

As you obtain more experience in the field, you'll have to BS little less. You will also know not to go into another job you dislike if you haven't figured this out already.
Lastly, never approach any career decision with fear or avoiding of discomfort. Be blunt. You don't oil a wheel that doesn't squeak. Don't overestimate the superficial corporate care the HR team has dedicated to your growth, only you and you alone are responsible for your career.

Btw, most of the time you'll realize that it's BS on the first few weeks on the job. You'll be deserted while they slowly "set you up with stuff". Most folks don't have the big picture of what's what in an organization let alone a concrete orientation program (and I don't mean an HR orientation). Seek out the big picture, ask questions and seek knowledge from those who are good at and like explaining things. Go through documentation, API, DB schema, etc. Get the bigger picture, get business knowledge of why you do what you do and how it fits into to the revenue stream of the company. Most importantly, make sure you remember these times when newcomers come to you. Apprenticeship is primary education, academics is secondary and mostly theoretical.

Re:One essential skill that never changes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33347454)

Looks like Poltics.

It's college. (2, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#33346914)

College is not supposed to be vocational training. College ensures a good foundation, and hopefully some work ethic and study skills. Nobody comes out of college knowing everything they need to do their job. They come out of college knowing everything they need to be readily trained.

So college is now highschool. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347094)

College is not supposed to be vocational training. College ensures a good foundation, and hopefully some work ethic and study skills. Nobody comes out of college knowing everything they need to do their job. They come out of college knowing everything they need to be readily trained.

College for my generation is what highschool was to previous generations. Only college costs $50,000 while highschool was free. Yeah thats progress...

Re:It's college. (3, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347188)

They come out of college knowing everything they need to be readily trained.

More importantly, they come out of college knowing people they will need to know to get job referrals.

Re:It's college. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33347202)

mod parent up! This is really true in most cases. Most college grads we see have a pretty all round education. When we look to fill expert positions , we look for vocational school grads with maybe some sort of certification on top of that LPI is a really good example. As a IT manager for an entry level position I would rather hire (this is educational standpoint only, this does not speak for character) a 2 year voc tech grad (school depending) with an lpi over a 4 year bach degree in computer science.

Re:It's college. (1)

malkavian (9512) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347424)

Yep, my Real Time Systems course tutors told me when we all graduated "We've not been trying to teach you things, we've been trying to teach you how to learn for yourselves".
The point being that we'd got all the theory we needed to match the syntax of programming languages to the base theory, and run with it. Whatever we came across that was new, it would likely have similarities to the old that we could latch on to and have a valid frame of reference, letting us pick it up faster than most.
That to me is vastly superior to being taught some product in the market, and just taught to use that tool; I'm using different tools now to the ones I did when I left Uni, so if they'd spent time teaching me things, that would all have been wasted time. However, I do pick things up very fast by knowing the areas of theory to apply to them so I can do the right thing.

Tomorrow will be like yesterday (5, Insightful)

ChefInnocent (667809) | more than 3 years ago | (#33346930)

10 years ago when I was in college, I asked what the future of computing was going to be like. I was told that linear algebra would probably become much more important because quantum computing was on the horizon. Quantum computing still hasn't materialized, but linear algebra is looking to be more important anyway. The cool bit about linear algebra: it's always been useful. 10 years ago, we were talking about resource problems. Today those problems still exist. A good algorithm is just as important, and understanding the computability of a problem. 10 years ago, we were talking about the importance of having a deep understanding of the languages, not just knowing "C, C++, or Java". Today, a deep understanding will still help, and knowing only the fad-language-of-the-day will still get you in trouble. 10 years ago we talked about multi-processor programming. Today we talk about mutli-core programming. Multi-threaded applications have been around for a long time. Other issues: security, project management, and software lifecycle. I've yet to see a new issue, just an old one in a different way.

6 years ago, I wrote a software requirement spec, and software design spec. In it I said the web application had to be able to run efficiently on a 300MHz processor over a 56K modem. I didn't realize that in 6 years, smart phones were going to be so predominant that people would still be using 300MHz processors over 56K connections.

Today, tomorrow, yesterday; it's all about understanding the fundamentals. The details may change, but the foundation is the same.

Interesting (1)

AequitasVeritas (712728) | more than 3 years ago | (#33346936)

I find it interesting that they categorize traditional business management roles in with computer science. Perhaps the university I went to was something of a novelty, but there were two distinctly different majors. One was Information Technology, and one was Computer Science. They were not even in the same college within the university. IT was more business (classes like managerial communications, data communications, and ITIL), while CS was programming.

Hype (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 3 years ago | (#33346940)

"...are doubling in capacity every six months. That translates into a thousandfold increase in..."

No. This is wrong. If you FOLD something, you double it. So in five years, with ten folds, that makes an increase by a factor of 512. Nice and easy. But it's not 1000 (that would take another 6 months), and it's nowhere near a "thousandfold", which would be a factor of 5.3E300.
While it may sound good for the marketers, please don't use descriptors that are factually wrong on Slashdot.

Also, people are behind the cutting edge of technology? I am shocked.
Let's make a template for this story that takes in keywords, and shuffles the order around a bit. That way we can publish it every other year and hardly anyone will notice.

Re:Hype (1)

sribe (304414) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347124)

So in five years, with ten folds, that makes an increase by a factor of 512.

Uhm, no, it's 1024.

...nowhere near a "thousandfold", which would be a factor of 5.3E300.

Uhm, no, you're making up your own (unusual) definition for a common word. Thousandfold means "a thousand times as great or as much", not "a thousand folds in two".

While it may sound good for the marketers, please don't use descriptors that are factually wrong on Slashdot.

Yeah, well...

Re:Hype (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347332)

naw, you're thinking 2^10, which does equal 1024, but if you double one, ten times, then it's only 512. The initial unit doesn't start at two.

no, you're making up your own (unusual) definition for a common word.

Damnit, you're right...
ok, fine.
But I contend that it SHOULD be more like actual folding. Which, yeah, doesn't count for much.

Future, past, whenever (2, Insightful)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 3 years ago | (#33346952)

After my latest round of interviews for an open developer spot on my team, I decided the skills I'm looking for in IT can be identified by this test:

http://www.drunkmenworkhere.org/170 [drunkmenworkhere.org]

Notice there's no mention of code, development methodology, or any other IT concepts.

And that's fine by me, because all those things change. I don't need a Windows IIS guru, because we're likely to switch over to Apache Tomcat next year. I don't care how l33t your PHP skillz are, I want to know how useful you are going to be when we need to move all the code over to JAVA.

Basically, I want to know how well you can answer the questions I don't yet know to ask. New technologies, new challenges, new bugs. I need to know how well you can think.

There you are. That's the skill need in IT--past, present, and future. Can you think?

Re:Future, past, whenever (1)

Rhys (96510) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347264)

Not just think. You need to be able to learn and remember at least some of it. Also a willingness to ask questions, because at least half the time what you're being asked to do is what someone thinks they need done, but not what they actually need done. Some social skills there doesn't hurt, especially with convincing someone they don't want what they asked for.

Re:Future, past, whenever (1)

malkavian (9512) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347524)

That, in a nutshell, is the crux of the matter. However, this is always pitted against glossy advertising and people who don't actually understand what they're hiring for (and don't have the mental leanings to find out).
It's far easier for HR departments to disengage the brain and pluck words from a glossy brochure than it is to actually discover what'll be best for long term growth.

About five years behind? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33346966)

How can colleges be five years behind? Easy.
- They don't jump on all the silly and pointless trends that die within the first year.
- They have to wait for new things to take hold in the markets to see which ones are worth studying.
- They have to learn the subjects correctly before being able to prepare courses material.

Five years may be a huge delay, however. I bet they can shorten that to at least three years.

I LOL'd (2, Funny)

toxonix (1793960) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347032)

"Keeping up with change can be as simple as experimenting with the latest consumer devices. Druby carries an iPad, and Sims uses three different smartphones and recently ordered an Android-based tablet. Chesnais says that at a recent meeting, half the people in the room had iPads."

Let me summarize. If you want to stay Relevant and Make More Money at work:
- Buy new gadgets and put them through their paces vigorously. Devices without touch screens == irrelevant.
- The cool people at work have iPads and bring them to meetings. Being cool == relevant.
- Technical skills are for kids. You should move into project management or some kind of leadership position now that you're ~30.
- Know how to navigate through the company. Don't do work, Navigate.


The real Take Aways here are:
- you should be thinking "Who do I have to fuck to get a management position around here?"
- iPads, Androids, smart phones are the future and graphics are so goddamn fast!. Programmers aren't.

What are your skills? (1)

DoubleParadoxx (928992) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347052)

You know, like nunchuku skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills... Employers only want employees who have great skills.

The same article, over and over (1)

crgrace (220738) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347098)

I've been reading articles like this since I was a teenager. The first one had some stuff in it about how "Tomorrow's systems analysts need to be learning dBASE but Universities are behind". A few years later, "Schools aren't teaching Rational Rose techniques". Give me a break. You should be learning *concepts* in school, not *tools*. When I was in college, I learned a lot of engineering concepts, and only the tools I needed to do the labs. Today, the tools have changed completely, as they always do. I'm quite glad I took a course in Digital Logic Design, rather than in something like "Espresso Logic Minimizer", which hasn't been used in years.

And what is up with that guy studying Six Sigma and businesses processes (and "lean manufacturing"). Why would he think purposefully giving himself brain damage would be good for his career? Is he getting a Certificate in Buzzwords?

Re:The same article, over and over (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347144)

How will concepts get you a job? All the concepts are meaningless when the employer wants specific knowledge of specific tools.

Re:The same article, over and over (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347204)

In the current job I'm in, one of the requirements was knowledge of some CRM software. I downloaded the free copy, poked around in it for twenty minutes, and updated my resume to say I had experience in it. It wasn't any different than the five other CRMs I had messed around in one capacity or another over the preceding ten years. It would be one thing if they were demanding experience in Netware, or something like that that I had minimal experience in, so I wouldn't pull that kind of a stunt in that category, but all in all, it's all the same. You don't want guys with just niche knowledge, unless you're dealing with pretty esoteric systems. You want guys with good familiarity in whatever area you require them in.

Re:The same article, over and over (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347240)

In the current job I'm in, one of the requirements was knowledge of some CRM software. I downloaded the free copy, poked around in it for twenty minutes, and updated my resume to say I had experience in it. It wasn't any different than the five other CRMs I had messed around in one capacity or another over the preceding ten years. It would be one thing if they were demanding experience in Netware, or something like that that I had minimal experience in, so I wouldn't pull that kind of a stunt in that category, but all in all, it's all the same. You don't want guys with just niche knowledge, unless you're dealing with pretty esoteric systems. You want guys with good familiarity in whatever area you require them in.

I'm talking a new college graduate. If you have 10 years experience already you aren't the one I'm talking about. Also usually they want experience in software which is proprietary and they want you to have very esoteric business specific knowledge.

The only way to get it is to intern or volunteer.

Re:The same article, over and over (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347560)

Not true. I've worked most of my adult life in proprietary software/hardware support, development, installation, and configuration. None of these employers(2 multinational Fortune 100 types, 2 nationally recognized/utilized small businesses) required knowledge of the proprietary software beforehand. Instead, they ask for industry knowledge(of the software target) and/or related IT knowledge and/or certifications(CRM, IPT, MCSE/A+, etc). In my experience, this is the case across most of the IT world(unless you talk about fields like the Defense industry and government work).

Re:The same article, over and over (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33347214)

Nonsense. An employer wants someone that can adapt to a moving field. HR are the problem, they want 10 years of languages X, Y and Z that have only been out for 1, 3 and 5 years. A Computer Science degree has no business training people to be code-monkeys and project managers, you can pick that shit up in a few weeks, or one of those "IT" training centers.

Re:The same article, over and over (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33347568)

How will concepts get you a job? All the concepts are meaningless when the employer wants specific knowledge of specific tools.

Yes, employers always want it all. I want ten years' experience in a technology that has only been around for five years. I'm paying entry-level wages and want an experienced hire. I want you to come in on day 1 and know everything about our closely-held proprietary practices.

If you have a good understanding of fundamentals, you'll at least have a chance. If you're a certified expert in AcmeSoft SuperPro 11.0, you'll be obsolete as soon as version 12 comes out.

Re:The same article, over and over (2, Interesting)

jythie (914043) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347186)

While I agree I have been seeing pieces like this for years, I think since the 80s they have gotten louder.

Many companies have moved from 'find long term employee with solid fundamentals' to 'find employee with exact needed skills already so we do not have to invest in them'... so many schools that in the past focused on fundamentals have shifted to more tool based training since that is what has been getting them the highest employed/graduated ratio.

I got to watch the process first hand in my engineering school, as classes I had taken on things like programming languages (learning functional vs procedural vs oop etc) were swapped out for 'learn the fundamental web languages!'

JIT Education (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347154)

Our (US) position in the world of commerce is specializing in things that change quickly and often. Commodity products and tasks tend to drift overseas where the labor is cheaper.

Given this situation, we need a Just-In-Time higher education system. The degree system is insufficient for this niche. Something akin to technical certificates could perhaps be melded with traditional education. Degrees would focus mostly on timeless theories (if there are such things), and certificates on recent trends and specific tools and languages.

A "degree" student would be required to select so many certificates to get the 4-year degree; and at the same time seasoned practitioners could get the certificates from the same school.
 

Virtualization, a lovely racket (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347166)

Virtualization is a required skill nowadays(as I unfortunately found out during a 9 month unemployment period), and to go with that required skill, in order to be certified by VMWare(which regardless of what people feel about them/the product they are a market leader), you need to take their required courses to qualify. The required courses cost $3500. You don't directly need to take a course to qualify for an Advanced cert, but since you need a VCP to qualify for an Advanced cert, you need to take the course anyways. It's really a lovely racket. Not even Microsoft stoops to that level

Oh, no: no this again! (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347184)

Let me summarize. If you want to stay Relevant and Make More Money at work:
- Buy new gadgets and put them through their paces vigorously. Devices without touch screens == irrelevant.
- The cool people at work have iPads and bring them to meetings. Being cool == relevant.
- Technical skills are for kids. You should move into project management or some kind of leadership position now that you're ~30.
- Know how to navigate through the company. Don't do work, Navigate.

The real Take Aways here are:
- you should be thinking "Who do I have to fuck to get a management position around here?"
- iPads, Androids, smart phones are the future and graphics are so goddamn fast!. Programmers aren't.

3 words: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33347190)

APPLE
APPLE
APPLE

The future of computing. No one else matters.

Good skills last and and are rare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33347266)

I've been working in IT for almost 20 years and what I notice are there are people that are good, there are people that get by, and there are people the flounder. The people who flounder should find a new line of work (though sometimes they can make a career out of it). The difference between the people that get by and the people that are good is more mentality than anything. The people that get by acquire skillsets but can't relate their different skillsets unless it is specifically taught to them. The people that are good see it more as a continuous flow, that skills are acquired and lost, but 1 && 1 is always 1 (i.e. the fundamentals stay the same)

Skills you need in IT:

The ability to solve complicated problems by breaking them it to manageable pieces (Work as an mechanic or in construction to hone this skill)
The ability to solve complicated problems with practical and workable solutions (Again, work as an mechanic or in construction to hone this skill)
A desire to build and an imagination (Play with Legos)
Cross-platform Scripting (I'd go with Perl, but Python works too)
A lower-level programming language (C or C++)
Basic OS administration (Learn Windows and Linux, you'll need them both)

Everything else can vary. Technically you don't even need the lower-level programming language, but it helps, try to at least be able to read it.

Maybe I left something out. I'm sure some other slashdotters will let me know :)

There is no future in IT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33347276)

The IT labor market has been intentionally tanked by the US government. It's expensive to train up and pays shit. There is no future in IT.

Two mutually exclusive skills, REQUIRED (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347290)

A) People skills. You HAVE to be able to work with other people. There is nothing in 'information technology' that does not require you to operate in a collective. The point of IT is making hardware and software communicate to allow people to communicate. This starts with people communicating without technology or with prior technology and most certainly includes you. The people hiring you to provide IT services require that you are capable of communicating well with them and with others associated to the project. This is not language alone. It includes understanding, compassion, and the ability to stand your ground when you know you are right.

B) The skill of acquiring new information, knowledge, abilities and skills that pertain to completing the task at hand. Staying relevant is what keeps a person or business alive.

People Skills (2, Insightful)

MrTripps (1306469) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347296)

"Well look, I already told you! I deal with the goddamn customers so the engineers don't have to! I have people skills! I am good at dealing with people! Can't you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?"

Welcome to our world (1)

Superdarion (1286310) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347382)

I'm a physics grad student. I have a bachelor degree in physics and I can tell you that by the time you finish that programme, you're barely familiar with stuff that was developed 70 years ago! 50 if you're lucky.

You think IT guys have it hard? Try catching up as a physics student!

My bones to pick with this article (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347400)

"You bring a programmer or network administrator on board, and they don't have the big-picture view of how the business runs," he says. One recent hire, he notes, could program user interfaces but had no concept of a database. Another didn't know what an invoice was.

Business rules are the business analyst's job - not a programmer's. A programmer's job really isn't the big picture. His job is to implement a design. It's one thing if the job description is a business analyst who can code but it's another to expect a programmer to also be a business analyst.

The key, he says, is to keep investing in yourself, through reading and training, in both IT and business areas. One rule of thumb suggests spending 3% of your salary and time in self-training, he says. Buzzell attends industry conferences and has been doing research in lean manufacturing, Six Sigma and business processes.The key, he says, is to keep investing in yourself, through reading and training, in both IT and business areas. One rule of thumb suggests spending 3% of your salary and time in self-training, he says. Buzzell attends industry conferences and has been doing research in lean manufacturing, Six Sigma and business processes.

When I mention self training, I am always asked, "How much on the job experience you have with that?"

"None"

"Sorry, we need people with experience."

Here's the only decent advice I saw in the article:

Silver emphasizes the importance of diversifying your skill set, possibly through job rotation programs. "If you've been writing code for a while, maybe there's a project management rotation you can take, or you can work in different business units," he suggests. There will be a growing need for people with business intelligence skills, as well as leadership and communication capabilities, he adds.

Yep. Here's the sucky thing about it, though: everyone else will be trying to do the same thing. There's only so many management positions available. If you're lucky, you'll be with a bunch of folks who have this attitude, "I'm technical. I don't do the business shit."

Who is behind? (1)

janwedekind (778872) | more than 3 years ago | (#33347420)

It's not the purpose of a university to keep up with whatever happens to be the fashion of the day in IT industry. If you want to educate yourself about that you can watch product advertisments from Microsoft and IBM. Academia should focus on underlying concepts, theoretical computer science, and mathematics. At the core there are topics such as Turing completeness, computational complexity, Gödel's incompleteness theorem, algorithms, numerics, program verification, chomsky hierarchy, computer algebra, predicate logic, and the like.

However the IT industry (like the rest of the industry) is ruinously short sighted and extremely conservative when it comes to adopting/learning "new" technology which has been around for decades.

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