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Old 04-17-2004, 02:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
I'm a family man - I run a family business.
 
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Location: Wilson, NC
College Preparation for the Workplace

the club I am in on campus (Association of Information Technology Professionals) recently attended an awesome tour of the Lowes Hardware IT headquarters about an hour from my campus. it was truly awesome. the server room was probably the best thing I have ever experienced in my entire life. including girls. anyway, I started to notice something rather disturbing. these people are incredible. they know so much stuff that I have no idea what they are talking about. acronyms out the wazoo. but they have a job that can be obtained with the degree I am working for (IT, CIS, IS, whatever you want to call it). My question is:

How in high holy hell are we supposed to learn that stuff? I know for a FACT that when I graduate, I will NOT know what the hell those guys were talking about. I knew a little bit of what they were saying (terabytes of storage, etc.) but that's it. Is there something I'm missing? I thought college was supposed to prepare you for work! I know for a damn fact that I will not be prepared for a job like that. The exact job that I am trying to obtain with my degree.

So what's the deal? Do businesses <b>expect</b> you to know all about that shit, or will they train you up to par? How long will they train you? Will they make you proficcient in the skills of technicality? All I know is that that was some serious shit, and I am not prepared. I guess this is one of those nervous "real world in two years" things, but help me out here guys.
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Old 04-17-2004, 02:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Remember what the acronyms were? Just curious.
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Old 04-17-2004, 02:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: Atlanta, GA
I've had several professors tell us that college will teach you basic stuff in your field and also shows future employers that you are able to commit to something for four years. Most companies will train you to do the job you are hired for.

God, I hope they are right...
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Old 04-17-2004, 06:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: Ohio
Yes they expect you to know it. No, they will not train you. I had the same question.

It took me 1 year and 4 months after graduation to get an IT job. I moved up in my company and actually got an IT job that doesn't expect me to know everything. The guys that do, earn buckets more than me. I've soaked up a LOT in the past month, and I'm sure I'll be spitting some mad letter combos in the future.

My experiance was I was expected to have a degree, and all the certifications each particular employer wanted, to prove that I REALLY know it.

Like it or not, the tech field is like car mechanics. For every 1 good one, there's 10 that have no fucking clue what they're talking about, but have a degree.
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Old 04-17-2004, 07:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
I'm a family man - I run a family business.
 
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Location: Wilson, NC
well, I know what I'm talking about, especially when it comes to PCs. in fact, next to my brother, I know more about PCs than anyone I've ever met. call me a braggart, but it's the truth but this shit was stuff that no university would teach (for a CIS degree anyway). so the company MUST have trained the employees or something....it was crazy.

not to mention the main guy for the server farm was about 60 years old........I know when he graduated they were doing punch cards. so what's the deal?
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Old 04-17-2004, 07:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
I'm a family man - I run a family business.
 
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Location: Wilson, NC
this place had 175 terabytes of storage by the way. pretty cool
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Old 04-17-2004, 07:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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In terms of occupational practice -- be it in busines administration, technology, nursing, whatever -- academic courses are usually 1-3 years behind what's happening out in the world. Don't worry about it too much -- half the stuff the data center guys are talking about will be superceded by other stuff by the time you get out. In the meantime, score some summer internships to get up to speed on the latest.
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Old 04-18-2004, 09:15 AM   #8 (permalink)
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yea i agree, speaking from a point of view whos in the IT field, go for some internships or co-op programs usually sponsered from your carrer center so you can get some hands on experience and get more of a idea of the sort of work they do and help you focus more on what your interested in

also start studying for Certifications while your in college as it will make you more technical oriented and prepared in two years time. Start off with your A+ Net+ and then depending what you want to do go for your MCSE, CCNA etc. Also participate in as many tech forums as you can to stay up on the learning curve.

Good Luck and study hard~
 
Old 04-18-2004, 11:27 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Location: Ontario, Canada
Academic fields often don't try to keep up with the lingo and small technical issues.

In theory, you should be being taught nice general knowledge that will be useful for a long time, and more importantly you are being taught how to learn.

The company could train them, or they could hire people who know how to learn. I know reems of information about colour theory, dispite having never taken a graphics course at a university: because I've used it and worked with people who have used it.

Want to be employable? Read a good technical book every month, and make sure you can apply it. With toy problems at the least, and ideally directly on your job. After 10 years of doing this, you'll know a huge amount more than you ever learned in university.

Then again, this is coming from someone who reads "Internet Core Protocols" for fun.
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Old 04-18-2004, 11:36 AM   #10 (permalink)
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How do you learn it? I guarantee most of the stuff those guys knew was from learning it on the job. Probably not that one, but I suspect they moved up and learned it as they went. School only teaches you so much.
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Old 04-19-2004, 12:39 PM   #11 (permalink)
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If you use your summers to find work or internship in the field, or even try to volunteer in a local company after classes each day, you will learn what people do on the job. If you learn all you can in class and try to learn over and above, you will be ready to enter the field. The problem with visiting industry while in school is that most of the people you see there graduated years ago and have learned new things on the job. Relax. Your job now is to learn as much as you can to be ready to learn on the job.
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Old 04-19-2004, 12:54 PM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Location: Waterloo, Ontario
It's called experience.

I don't doubt that you won't learn all that "awesome" stuff from college. Companies don't generally train employees to do a job they were hired for. It's usually easier to simply hire someone who's already qualified for the job. How can someone be qualified for a job they weren't taught how to do in school? Well, how did the people teaching you, in school, learn to do all that? It sort of begs the question.

Have you ever heard of an "entry level position?" Well, be prepared for one when you graduate 'cause that's what you're likely to get. You learn on the job by doing your job. Market realities will force you to learn how to do new things and you will. When a new problem comes up and your employers want you to solve the problem, what are you going to tell them? That you can't solve their problem because they didn't teach you that in school? No, you're going to think about the problem, beyond what they taught you in school, and (hopefully) figure it out! This is experience. It works in D&D and it works in real life (bad analogy but I couldn't resist...).
You don't have to learn just from your job, you can also learn on your own, from books or whatnot. Obviously, Yakk is big on independent learning through books but that's just one way. Again, how did the authors of said books learn their material? This is also experience (learning from books or whatnot)--just, not on the job experience.




Slightly off topic but I kind of get confused when I read threads like this 'cause (it seems that) Americans don't make a distinction between college and university...
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