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Employers Say IT Grads Need Business Skills Too


A recent employer survey shows that one out of four companies are concerned about the technical aptitude of job candidates, but there is even greater concern about their lack of business skills.

According to Closing The IT Skills Gap, a study that examines specific IT skills in enterprise programming languages and mainframe administration, along with business skills such as problem-solving and communications abilities, about 40% of employers reported that their IT hires are not sufficiently prepared to perform jobs within their companies and there are notable gaps in skills.

The study, released by SHARE, was produced by Unisphere Research and sponsored by IBM.

Only 8% of the nearly 400 employers surveyed would rate their IT hires as “well-trained, ready to go.”

Most employers said they would like to see at least one year of work experience, including intern experience, especially among smaller companies.

A majority require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and, in most cases, the preferred degree is a computer science degree.

Along with appropriate technical skills, eight out of 10 companies seek problem-solving and communications skills.

“About one-third of companies are seeking professionals and managers that can bridge the divides between IT departments and business leaders. Project management, analytics/business intelligence, and enterprise architecture skills are in demand by more than half of the companies surveyed,” reports the study’s executive summary.

Most in-demand skills:

  • Programming and developing: application server environments, database languages, Java and COBOL
  • IT risk: backup and recovery, storage administration, security and disaster recovery
  • ERP skills: custom built ERP applications, PeopleSoft and SAP
  • Ability to bridge the divides between IT departments and business leaders: project management, analytics/business intelligence, and enterprise architecture skills

Hiring trends:

  • 59% of companies indicate that they are either currently hiring or planning to soon hire programmers and developers with a range of skills
  • 43% are hiring systems programmers and systems analysts
  • 50% are hiring database professionals
  • 36% are hiring analysts and architects
  • 27% seek application management talent

IT students and grads: Do you think your education is setting you up for success in the IT world? Are you learning business as well as technical skills?

Photo credit: networking by lee on Flickr
About the author

Cassandra Jowett is TalentEgg's Content Manager. She joined the team as a student intern in the summer of 2008, and since then her heart has never really left the Egg Carton. Cassandra is a recent graduate of the Ryerson University School of Journalism, where she earned a Bachelor of Journalism with a focus in writing and editing for newspapers. She has also written and edited for The Globe and Mail, The National Post, t.o.night newspaper and other publications.