Developing professionalism in new IT graduates? Who needs it?

Parr, Sue M.; Streater, Kevin; Hinton, Jacky M.; Bromley, Kay S.; Rae, Simon A. and Palmer, Mark I. (2011). Developing professionalism in new IT graduates? Who needs it? In: Enhancing Employability of Computing Students, 16 Feb 2010, Derby, UK.



A new graduate may require a period of ‘acclimatisation’ through a process of ‘developing their professionalism’ to fit into their work environment. The e-Skills UK Technology Counts Insights 2010 report suggests that 110,500 new entrants a year are required to fill IT & Telecoms professional job roles, with 20,800 coming from education (predominantly graduate level and higher). However, 43% of recruiters were reporting a lack of suitable candidates for IT & Telecoms posts where growing importance will be placed on relationship management, business process analysis and design, project and programme management. IT & Telecoms professionals are increasingly expected to be multi-skilled, with sophisticated business and interpersonal skills as well as technical competence. As the report also says: ‘UK growth will continue to be primarily in high-value roles with an increasing need for customer and business-oriented skills as well as sophisticated technical competencies.’

The diverse needs and requirements of the IT sector, as specified by various employer groups and professional bodies including BCS, IET, eSkills, the CBI and the SFIA Foundation, are discussed. According to the CBI, ‘62% of entrants to the IT sector need to draw on managerial and professional business skills almost immediately.’ For organisations to succeed, their IT graduate recruits must supplement their IT skills with managerial and professional business skills. Well considered CPD will ensure that recent graduates can enhance their ‘academic’ skills with the necessary work-based skills for the benefit of both themselves and their new employer. The focus of the improvement will balance the student-centred needs for development and the engaging employer’s commercial needs.

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