The knowledge economy fallacy exposed again … -graduates

Holy crap. He doesn’t hold back but everything he says is on the ball.

What the fk does envision mean.Why does he not speak the kings english. Maybe its this sort of bullsht that puts people off science, that and slaving for bullsh**ters like Mr O Meara.
Software development is not science, just implementation.

Nevertheless we have a crisis in our education system. They all want to be reality TV stars and celebrities nowadays :frowning:

That kind of PR-speak is hardly limited to those who working in the IT sector. Pay and status (or lack of either in Ireland) are far more likely to be putting people off taking science-related degrees.

In other words: Mr O’Meara has betrayed the “knowledge-based economy”.

Not at all. This is an indigenous Irish company that employs highly qualified people. They are struggling for qualified staff because everybody wants to be a teacher or a builder. Companies thinking of setting up here will note this and instead opt for elsewhere.

Indeed, there are plenty of companies in the IT sector here complaining about the lack of qualified graduates who will be work for peanuts, but I don’t think Havok fall into that category. If anything, they’re one of the (relatively few) indigenous success stories of the so-called knowledge economy.

This problem is not unique to havok. I know of a situation in an Irish University where it was tabled that maths should be “dumbed down” in certain engineering and computer science subjects to lower the failure rate.

You are spot on. I have two engineering degrees (under grad and masters) and worked as an engineer for almost nine years. While I enjoyed technical work very much, the remuneration was crap. The best thing I ever did was to give up on engineering and go back to uni to do a finance masters. When I started working in investment management my employer was apologetic about putting me, as an older guy, on a low ‘entry level’ salary, but the ridiculous thing was that this ‘entry level’ salary was more than I had been earning as a seasoned engineering professional! Once I had a bit of investing experience under my belt and started to perform well my salary grew to multiples of what I could ever have earned as an engineer. Engineering work can be extremely gratifying, and there are days when I miss the satisfaction of making stuff, but I’m happy to trade-off a little job satisfaction for much better money.

It’s sad to say, but if I had children contemplating their career options, I would steer them away from technical occupations. I’d be very happy for them to study engineering only if money was not important to them, or if they recognised the need to follow it up with an MBA or such.

Yup, from my experiences here is how it works:

  1. The Govt. pay the university a fee for each Full Time Equivalent (FTE - Student in plain language) registered in the University.
  2. Student can barely add or subtract and can never handle much more than a simple Hello world program and duly fails.
  3. Exam results are normalised, extern allows lots of non deserving candidates to pass.
  4. Process repeats over 4 years allowing a very poor candidate to graduate with a CS degree.
  5. Govt bleat about how great the knowledge economy is while almost every single IT company in this country trawl Eastern Europe and India in a bid to get talented people in.

So the Universities, poorly funded, have no incentive to fail week candidates as it will impact the bottom line.
Very frustrating when you are at an exam board meeting begging to have a candidate failed :cry:

Ah bless: why aren’t science degree students super leet ninjas when they leave college?

Because they don’t have experience. Havok, if they were so worried about the quailty of Irish graduates, they would take the people who show promise and develop them or get involved with colleges and advise on what skills are required for this day and age.

“I do meet lots of interesting, ambitious young people with no shortage of ideas, they just don’t have the business or scientific acumen to cut it,” O’Meara warns.

How would they if they are fresh out of college with no industry experience?

We don’t have enough graduate programs out there to develop the top 10% that the big companies are looking for.

They roll on in, see some talent, but decide to import someone as it’s easier and cheaper for them than trying to develop someone.
(which is fair enough they are not a charity after all)

There is no incentive for these companies to bother training up graduates.

Of the people who get job in IT or science they can expect very low pay and no respect :slight_smile:

What annoys me is that colleges think that charging students fees will “fix” things. It won’t.

Less people will go to college, their funding will go down in preportion and I doubt the “quality” of the students will greatly improve as dodgy courses and rubbish lecturing will still bear their mark, especially computer science courses: they will have the most to lose under charging students college fees as even less will bother.

Who in their right mind is going to pay fees for their kids for the kind of course than gives you much less oportunity than a business/administration/healthcare degree? Who?

Increase investment in 3rd level education, add a proper computer science stream to 2nd level and have a look at the other leaving cert science subjects, put in place an incentive for companies to run quality graduate programs, overhall college courses and ensure proper lecturing and course material are inplace.

Granted none of this will be easy to do, but it is what will be needed to be done to ensure a proper knowledge economy.

Great post uberpixiel.

I got all my IT training from the company I joined in the UK.

Companies in Ireland (and increasingly in the UK too) want someone else to do the work for them, they are not willing to bring people on. So they recruit already experienced people from other countries and compare them to Irish graduates. Apples and pears.

It’s another symptom of the fact that the small-thinkers rule Ireland.

Talented and creative people who persure Engineering/Science/Computer Science are a big threat to the small thinkers of Ireland.

uber pixel hit the nose on the head.

Irish companies want to have their cake and eat it.


get a decent graduate training programme .

I worked in a company that took a huge amount of grads in, and trained them brilliantly.

At 21 or 22 coming out of college you can’t expect them to have a clue.

I disagree. The problem isn’t simply that companies won’t develop new graduates. I know a guy who worked in UL as a tutor and he told me that the standard of student coming through in the years after the dot-bomb dropped off substantially. And its no wonder - the absolute numbers dropped off a cliff overnight. If we apply the 80/20 rule we’ll find that means that even with no dumbing-down of the course the number of high-quality graduates is going to drop off a cliff also.

If we then compound that problem with the fact that all companies everywhere prefer not to give the same levels of pay and respect to “techies” as they do to business-graduates there’s sod-all motivation to do a science to technical degree. I agree 110% with High Noon - if I had it all again I’d consider accountancy. Its a difficult job but at least you get paid for your effort. And I’d certainly advise any child that unless they really have the love of the game they’d be well-advised to consider a different career.

Well let’s just break down the word and look at its root - vision. Maybe what he is saying is that people have no creative skills and cannot think outside the box. Most people that I have seen going through the 3rd level system have spend their education rote learning and not understanding anything, and have no original thoughts in their head.

Things change and companies need to make new products to survive, and part of this is having the vision to see and design a new product. If this is not available in Ireland, then they will have to look elsewhere and that is what they are doing.

I don’t disagree with you that the overall level of graduates has dropped (I don’t have any information otherwise!). What I am saying is that the idea that a one size fits all IT graduate is not a solution that companies should be looking for. They are looking to offload their training responsibilities on to the education system in a disingenuous manner. Why disingenuous? Because IT in the real world is not accountancy. There are no generally agreed IT principles and rules like there are in harder sciences. Sure, there are languages, there are mathematical models, there are (multiple) development methodologies, but most of what is done is company specific, industry specific, application specific. Most of it relies on experience. Most of it is grunt-work. Much of it involves documentation.

If Havoc are complaining that there are few decent IT managers, then I agree with them, but this is a situation extant in the rest of the world too. There are too many people promoted out of harms way or too many ambitious gob-shites who are neither technically adept nor managerially professional. Having known nothing as a technician, they know nothing as a project manager. As an aside, I was looking to finally get some certification for some of the jobs I do (I have no qualificiations!) and I looked at the Prince2 methodology and was hugely disappointed at how amateurish it is. This is really the benchmark that is set for project managers?

The problem here isn’t third level education - it’s second level education, nay, primary even!

Hello world - for crying out loud, a 10-year could, and should, be taught how to do that! Implement a proper technology curriculum at second level and all of a sudden that maths you’re studying can actually be applied to something tangible, instead of the current attitude of “sure when will I ever use this in real life anyway?!?!”.

There’s a complete lack of context to second level schooling - I work with databases and I’m tempted to go back to my old secondary school’s guidance counsellor for a chance to explain to those kids how I use algebra, sets, statistics, etc. every day in work without even being conscious of it!!! I couldn’t teach it, can’t remember half the terminology, but I just get it, y’know - it’s not something learnt by rote, I just instinctively understand it now… and that’s the problem with schooling in this country, it’s by rote to pass one exam on a particular day.

Jeez, and don’t even get me started on the driving test… same problem, it’s about as real-world as Mary bleedin’ Poppins!!! :unamused:

Yeh, interesting point. I think both the branding and packing of Ordinary Level Maths and Higher Level Maths is all wrong. I think they should be rebranded as Business Maths and Engineering & Scientific Maths and students should be allowed to sit both of them, hence awarding those who do the much more difficult Higher Maths with what in effect would be double marks as they could sit both subjects without any real work required for current ordinary level.

The reality is that the points system for the Leaving Certificate no longer works. Many of the more difficult subjects have been dumbed down. The points have been going up and up yet the students seem to know less and less. Subjects should be grouped and differing scales of points awarded for more difficult groups. Grouping such as Science & Maths, Languages, Creative Studies, … and so on could be used. Students should be forced to take at least 1 subject from each group or something like that. Getting that kind of vision from the DOE and getting the teachers to agree to it would likely be a significant obstacle though.

I’m in agreement on companies in Ireland not being too bothered with hiring graduates and yes it is very short sighted. However, all companies are at it now and most Irish tech companies are small so the likely hood is that they’d train someone good, then loose them quickly to another company. The scheme the IDA ran for years where the big multinationals like Gateway, Dell, HP, Intel were given massive grants to cover the training of employees needs to be tweaked and extended to small indigenous Irish companies. At present most of that money has been diverted into FAS tech training courses. However it’s not working as those people come out with no experience and can’t get hired anyway. €2000 per month for 6 months for each hire of a recent graduate would go along way. Companies generally have at least a 6 month probation period built into employee contracts so they wouldn’t loose anything by letting under performers go at this stage.

Anyway my 2c worth.

Ireland doesn’t have a knowledge economy. I would say it relies more on agriculture. (Now that the building industry has collapsed)

It’s shocking how many SMEs do not have even one PC, or how many professionals in general that are computer illiterate.