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Sorry, College Grads, I Probably Won't Hire You (unless you can program)

BeliavskyBeliavsky Posts: 14Registered Users
edited May 2013 in Parents Forum
Kirk McDonald: Sorry, College Grads, I Probably Won't Hire You
By KIRK MCDONALD
Wall Street Journal
May 9, 2013

Even if your dream job is in marketing or sales or another department seemingly unrelated to programming, I'm not going to hire you unless you can at least understand the basic way my company works.

...

If you want a job in media, technology or a related field, make learning basic computer language your goal this summer.

The author is president of PubMatic, an advertising technology company, and he used to be president of digital for Time, Inc. He mentions Python as one language to learn and says candidates should be familiar with at least two programming languages. There are sites such as Codeacademy with online tutorials.
Post edited by Beliavsky on
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Replies to: Sorry, College Grads, I Probably Won't Hire You (unless you can program)

  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 125Registered Users
    edited May 2013
    Really? And this is universal to all jobs in these fields? Not likely.

    Another day.,.another article.
  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes Posts: 77Registered Users
    edited May 2013
    Wait you mean to tell me that someone who runs a tech company wants you to know something about tech? Say it isn't so!
  • minimini Posts: 105Registered Users
    edited May 2013
    "Sorry, college grads, I'm not likely to hire you as a nurse unless you know how to take someone's blood pressure.... Please don't place knowledge of Python on your resume."
  • PizzagirlPizzagirl Posts: 153Registered Users
    edited May 2013
    What a useless article. What kind of dumb, nerdy failure thinks that the skills that he wants in his company are universally desired by all employers? It's almost like this guy is really unsophisticated and doesn't understand that "media" is a broad field.
  • texaspgtexaspg Super Moderator Posts: 213Super Moderators
    edited May 2013
    " According to one recent report, in the next decade American colleges will mint 40,000 graduates with a bachelor's degree in computer science, though the U.S. economy is slated to create 120,000 computing jobs that require such degrees."

    This piece of information is interesting. I saw a thread recently stating that there is no shortage whatsoever for programmers.
  • ChedvaChedva Super Moderator Posts: 57Super Moderators
    edited May 2013
    I'm not going to hire you unless you can at least understand the basic way my company works.
    Well, duh . . . That's just called "doing your homework", and it's what every employer wants.

    But what makes him think that the way his company works is the same way all companies work?
  • minimini Posts: 105Registered Users
    edited May 2013
    There's no shortage of computer programmers. There's a shortage of 20 year old computer programmers that the tech companies want to hire because they don't have to pay them as much as experienced programmers, and they want them cheap and expendable.
  • BeliavskyBeliavsky Posts: 14Registered Users
    edited May 2013
    mini wrote:
    There's no shortage of computer programmers. There's a shortage of 20 year old computer programmers that the tech companies want to hire because they don't have to pay them as much as experienced programmers, and they want them cheap and expendable.

    Programming is an important skill for many people who are not classified as "programmers", just as many white collar workers need to write but are not "writers". People working in analytics will program in languages such as Stata, SAS, or R, engineers may use Matlab or Excel with VBA (or C or C++ or Java if programming is a bigger part of their job). People in corporate finance and investment banking use Excel a lot, sometimes with VBA. If you have an idea for a web business, it's good to be able to create the initial versions of your site on your own.

    College can be very expensive. I'd rather have my children learn the basics of programming (variables, loops, conditional statements etc.) on their own than pay $5000 for CS 100.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Posts: 296Registered Users
    edited May 2013
    texaspg wrote:
    This piece of information is interesting. I saw a thread recently stating that there is no shortage whatsoever for programmers.

    It has been noted that productivity in computer programming can vary by more than an order of magnitude between good programmers and typical programmers. And it is likely that there is a shortage of good programmers but no shortage of typical programmers. In theory, you'd pay the good programmers an order of magnitude more than typical programmers, but that does not seem to be the case in the actual labor market, perhaps because it is not always obvious before hiring who has high and who has low productivity.
  • VladenschlutteVladenschlutte Posts: 35Registered Users
    edited May 2013
    It has been noted that productivity in computer programming can vary by more than an order of magnitude between good programmers and typical programmers. And it is likely that there is a shortage of good programmers but no shortage of typical programmers. In theory, you'd pay the good programmers an order of magnitude more than typical programmers, but that does not seem to be the case in the actual labor market.

    I don't doubt this but do you have a source? (For the productivity, not the pay)
  • texaspgtexaspg Super Moderator Posts: 213Super Moderators
    edited May 2013
    Typically, companies don't differentiate good programmers vs typical programmers since there is no way to estimate who is a better programmer unless they are a small group and intend to stay that way.

    We have one of the biggest IT departments in the nation if not the world. We estimate the amount of work needed to be done for each project (we have hundreds if not thousands happening at once). Each project is estimated for specific amount of resources based on manhours and we use contract staff to augment the shortage. A group with 20 projects might define a need for 20 programmers with specific skills for a 6 month duration and hire 10 from outside on a contract basis because we have 10 already. However, the 10 we hire may not have the same level of productivity or speed but they average out.

    As far as I know, most big companies follow similar practices since many of the contractors we hire have been finding projects on a regular basis.
  • Cardinal FangCardinal Fang Posts: 14Registered Users
    edited May 2013
    The guy is saying that if you want a job in a company in the tech or media area, even if your job is not mostly programming you should know a bit about programming. You should at least be good with Excel, and learning Python will never hurt.

    And he is perfectly right.
  • PizzagirlPizzagirl Posts: 153Registered Users
    edited May 2013
    In tech, perhaps. In media? You can't be serious. There are tons of jobs in advertising / media where programming would be completely superfluous.
  • noimaginationnoimagination Posts: 3Registered Users
    edited May 2013
    According to one recent report, in the next decade American colleges will mint 40,000 graduates with a bachelor's degree in computer science, though the U.S. economy is slated to create 120,000 computing jobs that require such degrees. You don't have to be a math major to do the math: That's three times as many jobs as we have people qualified to fill them.
    I would bet that this Microsoft report is the source. EPI has published a lengthy response to this report.
  • polarscribepolarscribe Posts: 14Registered Users
    edited May 2013
    Then I will happily find a job in a field where I don't need to learn how to program. Because not everyone is good at programming. Just like not everyone is good at writing.
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