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A technical bent of mind and hefty degrees are not enough for today’s recruiters of computer science and IT graduates. What they are looking for is a candidate who can be a team player, has the right attitude and can demonstrate technical knowledge hands-on. Kanika Tandon reports.

Technology has permeated our lives in an unparalleled way. Computer Science and Information Systems (CS and IS) graduates are more sought-after today than ever before. Not only does the profession guarantee you a great pay check, it also promises a global career. Consequently, the competition is tough, with many contenders for the best jobs. What is it that can make you stand out and shine? What are the qualities which the recruiters are looking for in their ideal candidate?

“Computer Science, Software Engineering and Information Systems are international qualifications, enabling students to work globally, and in a very broad variety of roles. There is steady growth in demand for technically adept and flexible IT graduates. To succeed, you need to be creative and adaptable, able to work in teams that span multiple disciplines and abilities, be willing to regularly refresh your knowledge, and be passionate about providing solutions that will help people,”


says Professor Alistair Moffat, Head of the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, Melbourne School of Engineering.

In fact, it is the attitude of the candidate which is underlined in preferences by the recruiters in the IT industry—sometimes even more than the qualifications. Rowena Driver, Partner Account Manager, MSemploy, assisting to recruit IT staff for the Microsoft Partner Network on a daily basis. She says, “Personality and attitude can outweigh qualifications. Microsoft Partners want to qualify how well an applicant will ‘fit-in’ to the company and its environment, particularly its culture. Candidates should be able to establish themselves as team- players during the job interview.”

Recruiters also look for specialized skills rather than just a plain degree. “Certification of technology is a must,” says Driver, while informing that displaying your ability to work with a technology boosts your chances of being hired. For instance,

Driver tells us, Microsoft looks for candidates who are certified in specific technologies such as SharePoint, Dynamics, .NET, Silverlights to name a few.

More importantly, specialized skills are required to cater to the new emerging fields of application of computer science. Professor Moffat informs that in several fields, the cost of generating and storing data is falling noticeably thereby creating “a need to work with types of data that simply didn't exist five years ago. Skills in such areas, typically also requiring an ability to work in teams including discipline specialists—such as life scientists, or urban planners— are increasingly being sought”.

“There continues to be a demand for Computer Science graduates with specific computational expertise, and there is a growing need for CS graduates who can work closely with experts from other disciplines,” says Prof Moffat.

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