What Is Industry Looking For In Graduates

The days of the hero coder passed in the 1980s. Today’s IT environment is heavily team based, multi-disciplinary and project oriented. Projects of any substance cannot be completed by one person and require a range of specialist talents.

While it is true that if you ask 100 different employers what they want, you will receive 100 different answers, however this is not useful to you in your search for employment. What follows is an overview of the trend within IT employers. Expect differences when you talk to individuals.

The IT industry is fundamentally looking for three things from interns and graduates:

  1. Are you engaged and enthusiastic?
  2. Have you got technical talent we can build on?
  3. Can you work in teams and solve challenging problems, in a manner that ensures everyone around you enjoys and looks forward to coming to work every day.

The last point is very important. There is no value to a business in recruiting staff that cannot add value to the team.

Those merely passing time in study, tend to describe their passion and interest in tech in the abstract. Many people in NZ are passionate about rugby, this does not mean they could or should be part of a high performing rugby team.

In contrast identifying those with a genuine interest is very easy. They talk instead about applying what they are learning through their personal projects.

It is also not enough to be technically talented. No matter how good you are compared to your student peers, employers are looking for interns and graduates that can learn fast from the existing experienced talent they already employ. If they want a new employee for their expertise, they will employ someone with five or more years of specialist experience in their field.

Interestingly, it is enough to just have soft skills. A lot of people work in IT without a passion for tech, but with a passion for people and solving problems. You will also meet many people that learned their technical skills after joining the industry.

The goal of this program is to enable you to present as the complete package. Passion as reflected in concrete examples, tech skills that can be built on in industry, the soft skills that add value to teams, the humility to learn and the mental frameworks to learn new tech skills fast.