What competence do software companies want from university graduates?
An important concern for study program design is the employability of candidates. This paper seeks to establish what competence is sought by employers of IT candidates, based on interviews with representatives from 120 Norwegian companies working with IT. The results have been analysed to identify what the IT industry expect from university candidates. For the whole sample, the most frequently mentioned characteristics were programming knowledge, adaptability, the willingness to learn new things and problem-solving skills. If we only consider the companies that develop software, the most frequently mentioned characteristics were programming knowledge, the willingness to learn new things and communication skills. The interviewees were also asked which characteristics that they were missing from university candidates. The most mentioned shortcomings were practical experience with coding and maintenance, adaptability and communication skills when relating to clients. Towards the end of the article, it is discussed how the university can improve in these respects.
The industry’s focus on adaptability and the willingness to learn new things indicates that the time when it was considered important that graduates knew how to use specific tools is over. The IT-industry has come to realize that they cannot escape a future of frequent changes to tools and methods.
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