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4 Practical Skills Recent Computer Science Graduates Lack

With the advancement and development of technology, tech-related jobs have seen unprecedented growth. This unprecedented growth has resulted in a lot of job opportunities in the IT sector. Unlike in the past, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) related jobs have increased. According to the statistics, in the coming few years, 51% of new jobs will be related to STEM, and in those jobs, a major share will go to IT-related jobs. For example, vacancies like data scientists, network engineers, cloud engineers, mobile app developers, and AI experts were non-abundant in the past. But nowadays, they are high in demand.

However, over the course of time, employers have noticed a serious lack of IT skills from fresh computer science graduates. There is no doubt that there are plenty of jobs in this sector, but employers are complaining about the skills gap. According to them, recent computer science graduates lack in a number of IT skills. 

For example, for networking related jobs, when candidates are interviewed, they do know about the basics of networking, such as IP addressing, NAT and DNS but when asked to explain more complicated routing and switching concepts like configuring and troubleshooting VLANs, a serious skills gap is verified. This shows that there is a lack of liaising between academia and industry. The same is the case with graduates applying for Cloud computing/engineering jobs. They know what cloud computing is and how it works. But when asked to demonstrate some skills on Microsoft Azure or VMware, it’s obvious they lack hands-on experience.

Practical IT Skills where Fresh Graduates lack

It has been noted that the skills computer science graduates acquire during their studies are not always of practical nature. They are just confined to theoretical knowledge, and not much emphasis is put on learning the skills employers are asking for. Below is the summary of some of those IT skills where recent graduates have been observed to be lacking:

 

Networking
When it comes to designing and maintaining infrastructure, the installation and configuration of equipment like routers and switches, DHCP and DNS servers, play a vital role. In the networking sector, managing, configuring and troubleshooting a network is more or less of a daily task. However, it has been noted that the universities do not teach much about the actual skills required to perform the above tasks. HR recruiters and headhunters are complaining that fresh computer science graduates do not know enough about the actual configuration and maintenance of networks even though they do know the basics like IP v4 & IP v6 Addressing, subnet masks. What they lack is the hands-on experience in designing, configuring and troubleshooting networks. If these skills were part of their academic curriculum at University, companies would be able to employ them right out of Universities without the need to do any training.

 

Cybersecurity
Over the years, cybersecurity has evolved in many ways. With the growing cyber threats, there has been an unprecedented growth in the demand of cybersecurity professionals. But sadly, it seems as it will take much time for Academic institutions to catch up to this growing demand for cybersecurity professionals. Companies complain that to make their digital security water tight and free from any intrusion, they need skilled cybersecurity experts. They are even ready to pay them hefty salaries, but sadly there has been a big shortage in cybersecurity skills, such as intrusion detection, malware analysis, penetration testing, network security, access management, and IoT security. There are certain certifications, like the Cisco Cyberops Asscociate but also the Certified Information Security Manager and Certified Information Systems Security Professional, which graduates usually take up to get expertise in cybersecurity. Some universities has started offering Masters degrees in the field, which is welcome, however employers seem to prefer the industry certifications offered by well known vendors.

 

Systems
There are plenty of operating system skills that today’s computer science graduates have noted to fall short of. From the basic troubleshooting to the highly advanced skills such as server management, the skill gap is very much evident. Windows server is the most widely used server operating system. But still, it seems as universities are not teaching much about the Windows server management. Skills gap about Windows server management includes server configuration, server automation, server migration management, and tracing server action. To learn these skills, graduates have to do certain certifications like MCSA, MCSE and CompTIA Server+. The same is the case with Linux server management, where the skill gap is very much prominent, especially in the domains of user account management, managing jobs and processes, configuring network processes, toubleshooting Linux systems. Some of these are indeed taught at Universities, however advanced skills in Systems like Active Directory and Services, are completely absent from curricula and students are asked by potential employers to have such skills.

 

Cloud Computing and Virtualization

Cloud computing is enjoyed huge increase in usage around the world and businesses are opting for it due to many reasons. The prime reason is the flexibility and versatility it offers in terms of usage and cost. Besides that, data sharing, collaboration, accessibility, and other aspects make it an ideal choice for small and big companies. Similarly, cloud virtualization is another high demand skillset. But, looking at the current curricula at universities, no major course is established for IT graduates to have solid understanding and skills in cloud computing and virtualization. VMware and Microsoft Azure are two prominent technologies which have taken big market share in cloud services and potential employers consider graduates with skills in these areas as having an advantage to be recruited.

Final Note

Computer scientists are going to reshape the future of technology. They are at the frontline of the digital world. But to make this happen and to make sure that they meet the expectations, they need to equip themselves with the skills that employers need. Probably the best way to do this right now is by earning the professional certifications which prove mastery of these skills.
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