College hasn’t prepared you for the “real world”

February 22, 2017

A broad-based education is incredibly valuable, both for the individual and for society at large. From a big-picture perspective, the path to a better future for all of us relies on the continuation of a strong system of accessible higher education.

However, it’s no secret that there’s a major disconnect between the skills you build in college and and the skills you’ll actually need in the workforce. But how deep is the disconnect, and what can be done to solve it?

According to the ManpowerGroup, a Milwaukee-based multinational human resource consulting firm, over 46% of employers in the United States reported difficulty filling open positions with qualified talent. That’s 30% higher than it was in 2010. The top three reasons employers cited?

  1. 1. Lack of available applicants
  2. 2. Lack of technical competency among applicants.
  3. 3. Lack of experience

These are worrying indicators, and suggest that we’re seeing a bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ problem in the employment marketplace. The lack of technically competent applicants suggests that training options are limited or inaccessible, and the lack of experienced applicants suggests that employers are unwilling to invest in training new hires so that they gain the requisite experience.

In the short term, it’s unlikely that employers will lower their entry requirements or invest in entry-level training programs, and it’s even more unlikely that traditional higher education programs will make significant changes to their curriculum. That means you’re on the hook for figuring out how to add technical ‘hard skills’ to the toolkit of ‘soft skills’ you’ve developed. Don’t forget about the real-world experience. You’ll have to get that too.

Bootcamps to the rescue

In recent years, software development bootcamps like Launch Academy have popped up as a solution to the skills gap. Not only do they provide students with the foundational technical competencies necessary for a career in tech, they also provide a source of much needed real-world experience.

During the 10 weeks students spend with us on campus, they learn in a simulated work environment. Most days start the same way they would on a professional software development team: a team meeting to discuss yesterday’s progress and prepare for the challenges that will be faced that day. The rest of the day is dedicated to building and learning collaboratively. By the time students graduate, they’ve built an extensive portfolio to show off their technical skills and have enough collaborative, real-world experience under their belts to feel right at home on a software team building enterprise-level applications.

Come apply for Launch or come visit our Boston Campus.

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