Calling all CS Graduates! are there any around?

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Every time i meet some one in another company they ask if you know some good graduates please refer them to us we have openings in our organization. after meeting at least 10 such people from 10 different organization. I wanted to analyze what is going wrong here, where are the CS graduates, for once there are so many jobs and no one to take them up. So all you good readers out there help me analyze this situation.

There are supposed to be 20000 (no this is not a typo its twenty thousand) being produced each year according to PSEB http://www.pseb.org.pk/page.php?pid=2  from 110 universities. so my question to all people hiring is where these students are going lets say you come up with that 20,000 is an inflated number and we cut it into half are we producing 10,000 jobs per year in the IT industry? are there more jobs in market than there are CS gradautes?

This all seems to point to a very flawed system, lets see what are we as an industry are doing to get the right people. I know its very easy to point fingers at the academia (this is most of the time i hear ohh the universities are turning our use less candidates it takes a lot of time to train them we don’t have time ) but lets analyze what we can do better to help out the universities in better preparing the talent for practical jobs. or how we can shape a good student as a better professionals before he hits the market. here are few reasons i see which are resulting in this vaccum

1. Previously (atleast the time i was in university ) there were a very good mixture of pure teachers who have been teaching all life and part time teachers, people who were working in the industry and were teaching part time. The full time teachers worked on the basics and building strong foundations and the part time teachers instilled the students with good uptodate knowledge of the technolgies which were hot in the market, so when the student hit the market he was sound on hi basics and sharp on the new technologies. With the amount of funding pouring into the universities all universities now has full time professors, these teachers give solid foundations but the student coming out don’t know the latest technologies which takes time to ramp up. We should talk with universities about having active collaboration/seminars to educate the student about whats the technology he needs to learn before going out.

2. There is no awareness in the market about the number of IT jobs being created and the amount of pays being taken home by CS graduates. i am sure if rightly communicated to the right stake holders parents will again start putting in their children in CS programs similarly the Students seeing such a high demand will choose CS as their first choice an not because they had to, and for a change they might realize that a CS job can also pay you more by sitting in an air conditioned room instead of sweating out on the field in a telecoms job or standing as a floor manager in a bank (Not that those are bad jobs just that this is also comparable)

3. There is no career guidance for students tech firms should take a little pain in educating these young people about the growth they can expect in different filed the rich alternatives available with in the filed of Computer Science and helping them select a choice of their liking.

4. Hold extensive internship programs so that the students are ready for the real world when they come out.

We already have a large talent pool available lets work on making it equally qualified and trained to help us go forward

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8 Comments

  • Well written points.

    The statics said that while 20,000 students are being produced, the extrapolations show demand for a much larger group of individuals.

    However, if that alone were the problem large companies wouldn’t be going around looking for people (which they are).

    We have been working to get some things like these organized for a while now — I would feel it necessary to provide quality career counseling as a service to them, but tech-firms doing that cannot do it for free. We’re not charities, and at the least we would hope to be able to cover the costs of doing this.

  • Good Point Qazi, this reminds me of the days when I was a sophomore at FAST (Karachi), we established a group (FAST Dot Net User Group) to promote Technical education, we arranged Workshops, Seminars etc on monthly basis. That really helped the students of FAST with the real world knowledge. So, after two years, my batch mates thanked us about all our efforts we did, this encouraged me to start the User Group at the professional level, so when I started my own company, we started a group called (DevNext User Group). Our main objective was to teach the students about what they should face during the professional life, helping them to select a Final Year Project etc etc.

    Moreover, this was just a community work we started back then with no funding etc. But now there are organizations like Microsoft, INETA, Culminis, Apress, Wrox which supports us to arrange these user group events. So, I think companies should encourage such events at the University Level.

    Coming back to the point, I must link to your previous post “Companies surely cant expect people to stick around if the work is BORING”, What’s the definition for a “good graduate”? A person who can work on boring project without saying anything? Or a person who is working till late nights to complete the Job ASAP?

  • Ali, my definition of a good graduate is some one who is willing to learn before he stereo types a work as boring. every thing an employee does is integral to the organizations need that is why they are paying him. but saying i wont do coding and wont do QA job can’t do testing means you are limiting your learning options, i know some of the people who started as QA worked up the ladder are now not even earning more but doing exciting process engineering work. so a graduate must be eager to learn in any role he can learn, not start a job by thinking ok i am doing this just because i don’t have another job so i wont take this seriously (this is closing your mind to an opportunity)

  • Perhaps this has some relation to the fact that people are not choosing their professions based on their interests rather purely on the basis of the currrent market demands et al. I did a post of my own on it:
    http://razzita.blogspot.com/2007/09/choosing-career-path.html

  • well Raza, your article nicely explains the problem we have as a nation. but there are still limitations, i know a friend who is an excellent artist(photographer sketcher) but did not pursue his career in arts due to the obvious problems of feeding the family by an artist. he went to CS but in CS he went to the creative side, so necessarily its some times not easy to go against the society (you were lucky the CS paid off Arts has a very high risk) but what you can do is find your own niche in your field each field has hundreds of domains which you can choose to your liking,
    read the http://greenwhite.org/2007/05/08/building-a-career-choosing-your-specialization-and-sticking-to-it-2/
    post on this site it talks about what you can do in your own domain, but i agree to you completely do some thing which you like don’t do it because its good money

  • well qazi, very well written points.

    my two cents here are that people are going towards other ‘attractive jobs’ (read: sales, marketing and banks) than putting their education to good use.

    this follows from a cultural trend we have to get jobs based on marriage. For guys, its get a high paying executive job in a MNC or you will never be able to support a family. For girls, its get a bachelors or masters if you want to get married in a good family.

    i see this happening in my own family, and raise a voice against it. not only do i see the CS industry suffer from this, i see the medical industry suffer as well.

    one other reason people get education here is to go abroad and work. there may be a lot many people coming back after spending their life in foreign countries, but there are still much more trying to leave on a daily basis, contributing to a brain drain. i, myself, would be guilty of this and would’ve left had i not been so lazy :p

    my last and final point of this rant, is glamor! IT may become highly paying but is it as glamorous as a blackberry holding, laptop swinging sales/marketing exec of an MNC? or is it as glamorous as the media industry with their dinners and functions and dance parties and what not?

    given half the choice, many would switch over to become camera operators for a TV channel for the glamor factor….

    just my two cents and then some 😀

  • When you will make your graduates technology dependant then you shouldn’t expect to produce something good for the industry.

    Regarding switching of profession/job which Mansoor mentioned, I witness myself when I see my teacher of Robotics at SSUET is now a _famous_ compare at AAJ TV. I am talking about Zubair Ahmed who were an excellent teacher who worked with SEIMENS. His knowledge about his own subject was imaginary awesome and commendable. I got surprised when I saw him first on QTV and now AAJ. Must be earning more that he switched his field.

  • Nice points Qazi!

    There’s always been a gap in the supply and demand in our IT sector. Back when I enrolled in the CS program at LUMS in 2002, there weren’t a lot of CS jobs around. But by the time I graduated, the job market and pay scales had grown considerably.

    And now that the job market is there, the pool of CS graduates has shrunk immensely. For perspective, the 2007 CS batch at LUMS was only about 20% of the 2006 batch. That’s a HUGE chunk missing.

    Lack of awareness again is the main culprit here IMO. Although I think job fairs and Tech. companies advertising on university campuses is a good thing, they need to highlight those factors in the industry that will attract more graduates, like rising pays, growth, exciting and innovative work (in startups mostly :p) and international exposure. These factors need to be communicated to all stakeholders namely students, their peers and parents.

    I wonder what role the government can (and should) play in this problem, apart from giving out ludicrous numbers…

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