If you’re a recent computer science grad, you may not be prepared to succeed in the business world – at least in the opinion of some CIOs. ComputerWorld’s Julia King explored the gap between your skills – well, at least those of your fellow graduates – and what CIOs need. Her conclusion: While you may know simulation, modeling, parallel computation and Internet software development, you may lack hands-on technical experience and exposure to real work environments.
What should you do? Participate in internships, where you can marry practical experience with classroom knowledge and then hit the ground running once you’re hired.
Here’s a summary of key, as outlined by King.
1. Inadequate Grip on Business Realities: Most of the college graduates that Cindy Warkentin talks to have what she considers "unrealistic expectations." "I had one young man tell me that unless I could offer him $75,000 or above, he’s not interested. That’s way above what’s normal for a trainee," says the CIO at Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund in Annapolis.
2. A Narrow Worldview: As a global real-estate brokerage and consulting firm, Cushman & Wakefield Inc. does business around the world. CIO Craig Cuyar needs and expects IT professionals to be aware of and knowledgeable about cultural differences.
3. Social Networking Skills but Wobbly Relational Skills: Rare is the new college hire who lacks skills involving Facebook, texting or any other form of electronic communication. But face to face, many of these same people have difficulty reading interpersonal signals and communicating, especially in the increasingly multigenerational workplace, says Warkentin. "Most of the gaps I see are on the social, soft skills side," she says.
4. Lack of Career Focus: To CIOs, it seems as though college grads don’t get any advice about how to match their talents and interests with specific IT jobs.
If you’re still in college, network with alumni, professors and the campus career center to acquire practical experience by participating in an internship before graduation.
— Leslie Stevens-Huffman