Some days ago, there’s a vacancy offer in my undergraduate department mailing list. A company is looking for a programmer. I didn’t pay much attention to this email. Okay, here’s the email:
Mr. XXX, my office needs a programmer with this qualification:
- Have knowledge in VB, Java, and PHP
- Have any experiences as a programmer/developer for at least 1 year in IT division or in IT company or software house
- Have an ability to give product presentation to potential clients
- Have knowledge in CorelDRAW and Photoshop
- Have knowledge in Linux
- Have knowledge in building computer networks
- Have knowledge in hardware
Like I said earlier, I didn’t pay much attention to the email. Until one of my friend, Andreas, gave a comment about it. He said:
Mr. XXX, my office needs a programmer with this qualification:
- Have knowledge in VB, Java, and PHP -> programmer
- Have any experiences as a programmer/developer for at least 1 year in IT division or in IT company or software house -> general
- Have an ability to give product presentation to potential clients -> marketing
- Have knowledge in CorelDRAW and Photoshop -> designer
- Have knowledge in Linux -> general
- Have knowledge in building computer networks -> network engineer
- Have knowledge in hardware -> physics graduate maybe?
I was confuse – why the job vacancies nowadays looking for a people with a lot of skills. How much do you think the company will pay for this person? This person must have at least five skills.
After reading his email, I then read the vacancy again. My other friends started to respond to his email. They were reacting like, “Wow, they are looking for a Superman or maybe a Monkey King?“. I started to wonder, now after we’re worrying about our job opportunities were taken by vocational student, the company also wants us to be a Superman? Or maybe we should be a Superman in order to save our job?
I tried to think from another perspective. Is it possible to have all of that different skills mentioned above? To be honest, I’m afraid that was possible. It was possible if you’re not just sitting and listening in the class. You must do a lot of things because they didn’t teach you the skills, you must develop the skills by yourself.
There is a lot of discussions, both in my mailing list and in blogs about how can’t a programmer program. Like Jeff Atwood said in his blog:
I wrote that article in 2007, and I am stunned, but not entirely surprised, to hear that three years later “the vast majority” of so-called programmers who apply for a programming job interview are unable to write the smallest of programs. To be clear, hard is a relative term — we’re not talking about complicated, Google-style graduate computer science interview problems. This is extremely simple stuff we’re asking candidates to do. And they can’t. It’s the equivalent of attempting to hire a truck driver and finding out that 90 percent of the job applicants can’t find the gas pedal or the gear shift.
Seriously, if you are looking for a job as a programmer, you should at least can do programming. Remember the fifth advice of Joel’s Seven Pieces of Free Advice for Computer Science College Students?
The moral of the story is that computer science is not the same as software development. If you’re really really lucky, your school might have a decent software development curriculum, although, they might not, because elite schools think that teaching practical skills is better left to the technical-vocational institutes and the prison rehabilitation programs. You can learn mere programming anywhere. We are Yale University, and we Mold Future World Leaders. You think your $160,000 tuition entititles you to learn about while loops? What do you think this is, some fly-by-night Java seminar at the Airport Marriott? Pshaw.
The class maybe taught you how to program, but not to intense. In order to have a grab in programming world, you must learn how to program by yourself. I know, having knowledge in three different programming languages qualification above is too much. Maybe they are looking for a geek. But hey, it’s possible right?
Marketing and Designer
I collect these two qualifications into one subject because they are almost the same, in a way how you can learn them. They definitely didn’t teach you how to do these two skills in computer science class. But they have student’s organizations! These kind of organizations usually held an event or two. This is the place where you can learn these skills.
To held an event, the organization most likely need sponsors from companies outside the college. So in order to get the sponsors, you must come to them and make a presentation about your event. Sometimes you are success, sometimes you can fail, but it’s a good practice. If you have this experience, you are one step closer to the marketing qualification. Although I must say that I didn’t have this kind of experience.
Now about the designer thing. In the event, you must create some publications and logo. Yeah, you can learn how to use CorelDRAW or Photoshop in this situation. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of student who can design using these softwares, not necessarily a computer science student. You can learn from them, maybe for free or you can just give them a free lunch.
Networking and Hardware
Maybe, just maybe, become a game maniac is good for one thing. If you love to play LAN games, then at least you can set up your own networks. Yeah, they also taught you how to create a simple networks in the class too. I don’t know if these are sufficient, but at least you can do the basic.
Once again, maybe become a game maniac is good. The computer’s minimum requirement for playing games is increasing. With the development of a new hardware, the computer will be outdated hastily. If you build or upgrade the computer by your hand, then at least you know computer hardware. Once again, I don’t know if this is sufficient for the qualification.
The real problem
Maybe some of you said, “Hey man, that was not the problem“. Yeah, let just say that you have all of the qualifications. The real problem is how much the company will pay you, will it be underpaid? The other problem is the amount of works that you should do. With these qualifications, the company will need you badly. So badly that they must relies on you to do all the job. You are worried if the amount of works didn’t fit with the salary, right?
So, that was my two cents. Comments, anyone?