The bottom line is that my daughter never developed any real IT skills. She remains a power user and, as it seems most young people are today, a fearless one at that (reinstalling Windows on her personal home PC is a frequent activity of mine). I realized there was little chance of her landing an IT job and was glad she didn't because she clearly had developed no genuine, useful, marketable IT skills. She would have been found out very quickly.
But there is always someone who knows less about technology than an actual power user, and many are happy to pay for even just that talent. She's basically a secretary, but the only one in the office who is capable of figuring out that the reason some document is not printing is because the printer (which can't take legal-size paper) doesn't have any legal-size paper in it, or the reason "the Internet" is down is because the DSL phone line is dead or the RJ45 cord unplugged from the jack in the wall. As such, she'll always have a job, but I don't consider it to be an IT job -- and neither does she.
A hundred others like her also graduated with a degree in computer science that hot day in May several years ago. By then, she'd realized her own limitations, but she said that she was still the one that many, if not most, of the others came to when they had a problem with some application on their computer or didn't grok some HTML construct.
This seems to be a trend: In an effort to widen and deepen my own skill set, I have had occasion to examine computer science course material available online from a number of top-tier colleges and some from the lower rungs. In most instances, what I remember from my nearly 40-year-old computer science education still places me far ahead of what they are now teaching; I had to search elsewhere (mostly in open source offerings or even now-old, but graduate-level textbooks) for suitable material.
We've had trouble finding qualified U.S. job applicants who want to do the work we need done. I wonder if there's a connection.
- Concerned Citizen
This story, "The sad standards of computer-related college degrees," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Bob Lewis's Advice Line blog on InfoWorld.com.