Wednesday, 16 October 2013

I asked my 1st year students what their carrot was to get them through four years of University and here's the wordle. A "good job" seems to be a worthy carrot.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Are you a night owl? That's ok.

A recent survey comparing employers’ views with students’ perceptions of employers is giving a picture of students feeling that employers are hanging on to traditional attributes such as punctuality and expecting employees to do be able to take strict direction. Whereas employers seem to be moving towards more of an ethos attributed to start-ups where each employee is expected to take initiative and have a larger role in shaping the company. Indeed, perhaps employers are realising that some of the best coding is done through the night!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Open Source Projects

With the intense competition for jobs, students need to show that they go the extra mile. Yes, employers are looking for computer scientists who stay up into the night tinkering on their pet coding projects. Working on Open Source projects not only gives students a great opportunity to use, understand and contribute to the latest and greatest code, but it also puts their work out in the open where it can be seen and appreciated by users, developers and potential employers. It also opens them up to scrutiny with the Open Source community showing employers that students can hold their own and produce code of a high standard.

Google has a many open source projects including a summer of code.

At Heriot-Watt, in conjunction with Google, we run events such as The 2012 Ethical Hackathon which gets students used to developing code in teams that can be made open source.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

British Computer Society

BCS student membership is a great way to get a foot hold on your professional ladder. 
We just have to persuade students to part with £50!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Top most wanted skills

We asked 22 employers in Computer Science related industries what their top skills would be. Here they are:

  • Dependability*
  • Commitment*
  • Enthusiasm/Willingness to learn*
  • Work Ethic*
  • Cooperation
  • Timekeeping/Punctuality
  • Adaptability
  • Planning/Organisation
  • Problem solving*
  • Team working
  • Understanding of concepts*

But what do the students thing are important? We asked some first year students in the Computer Science department. Reassuringly, there were some overlap skills (indicated by *).




So what about the skills that didn't seem so important to students but are to employers? We could promote the need for timekeeping (don't be late to lectures!). Challenging courses can keep them on their toes and improve adaptability. What about that old favourite "planning and organisation"..usually a challenge for most working people! This week my 9 year old son had a lesson in planning and organisation-- getting up at the crack of dawn for emergency homework sessions are no fun. What about students? We can help them by not cramming all assessments right at the last week of term but this is a skill that they need to learn from a very young my son found out this week.

Employability Skills

Employability and readiness for work of graduates has come into focus in recent years due to an increasingly competitive job market. 

This blog discusses employability skills of students of Computer Science, primarily focusing on UK but with relevance around the world.

So what are employability skills and why are they important?

This CBI report states they are “a set of attributes, skills and knowledge that all labour market participants should posses to ensure they have the capability of being effective in the workplace- to the benefit of themselves, their employer and the wider economy”.

I'm going to use this blog as a forum to discuss what skills employers think are important and compare them to what skills students think that employers are looking for. 

The ultimate goal is to narrow the gap of employer and student expectations by increasing exposure of students to industry during their time at University.