hendridm asks: "Universities seem to push being well-rounded, or knowing a little bit about everything but nothing about anything in particular. They attempt to teach courses that could help you succeed in your lifelong career, whatever it might be. It seems to me that it would be better to teach skills that would help us in the first 10 years of employment. As a senior Information Systems major in a state university in the Midwest, I can think of countless examples that support this idea." Of course, a well-rounded education can be a good one, it just depends on your definition of 'rounded'. It doesn't exactly do students a favor by exposing them to the forrest until they have a good grasp of the concept of the "tree", which is hedridm's main point. Do any of you know of curriculums that are good examples of a true well-rounded education?
"In my Finance course, I learn how to balance a corporate stock portfolio, but I have no clue how to start a business or pay my employees.
In my System Analysis & Design course, I spend 3 hours constructing data-flow diagrams, entity-relationship diagrams, and Ghantt charts for programs that take around an hour to code!
In my Management course, my professor discusses techniques for being an effective CEO, but I don't even know how to manage a few subordinates, much less an entire company.
In my MIS course, we learn about client-server technology, but when I ask if my peers have tested their web pages on Macintosh, they reply, "Why would I have to do that?" Most of them don't even think of Linux as an operating system, but more as a hacker's toy. Forget about asking them to make it Mozilla or Lynx compatible. They don't want to waste their time. But the University will make sure it is ADA compliant, since any institution that receives federal funding must require this...
Don't most "big picture" lessons come with experience, through person's journey from entry-level employee to a skilled IT/business professional? Wouldn't it make more sense to teach things that will help students early in their careers, like technical skills and other trade/foundation skills that are often required of entry-level, non-management employees? Does the average entry-level IT person need to make the sort of decisions a CEO or CIO needs to make? Do companies really want me to spend more time diagramming a program than I need to program it in the first place? (What about just documenting the code?) Knowing the big picture is good, but how do you get to that level if you don't have any skills?
My question for Slashdot readers is: Is this really what companies want of today's graduates?"