Home > Programming > How come Computer Science Graduates are valued less than Contractors?

How come Computer Science Graduates are valued less than Contractors?

In my Junior year at college and after applying to so many places for internships, I finally got accepted to one. The company where I got the internship is in retail business of home furnishings, especially imported ones. As I was an intern (or that was what I was expected of), I was not asked any coding or programming questions. Is this the reason so many new guys cannot code? I don’t know about others, but I could definitely write code for Binary Search. What the heck, why not Quick sort or even code for a Red-Black tree. But that’s not my point, they more of asked me questions like do I know .NET (check), html (check), C# (check), crystal reports (never heard of), ColdFusion (nope), and so on. Based on this questions and some situational questions like -what if you cannot solve a problem?- I was selected for the internship position. Hurray!!!

The thing I learned during my internship years was that the contractors were the most valued in the company. Let me rephrase, contractors were the most revered out of all the tech workers. I am not sure why, may because of their $1000/day salaries.

It was like the contractors where there to create new projects and features, leave them undocumented for the full time on-call employees. I felt sorry for the on-call tech people, they had to be working 24 hours plus when a bug was hit or the whole credit-card database application crashed only to find out that there was no documentation ever left by the contractors to help figure out what went wrong.

Every few months a handsome looking guy with a nicely pressed shirt and pants and a clean shave would blab about all these Silverlight applications he created for x number of companies. He would then get hired to lead and write all the code for this new flashy project only to be maintained months later after he has left a huge mess. But even then they are still revered as gods and the full time employees get all the hearing to why they did not learn anything from these intelligent creatures when they were here.

Aside from that, the most astonishing fact I learned from this Contractors was that they never had a programming class in their 4 years or so of college. The reason was that they were English or History or Agriculture majors and then they did not find jobs in their majors and they took this Learn C# and .NET in 24 hour classes and now they were better than the Computer Science majors. These consulting companies or contracting companies or whatever they are called, hire these people and shove down few tricks of C# and whatever the programming hype is down their throats in a few days time and they are (supposedly) better than the average Computer Science graduate.

Here is where the frustration is built up by these average Computer Science graduates, when they are rejected because they don’t have 5 years experience using J2EE or Silverlight or PHP or Ruby on Rails. (When I say average I don’t mean to demoralize anyone but the above average Computer Science grads most often end up in companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, etc or end up doing Computer Science research as Phds or begin their own start-up companies). These is a common trend among these companies who create in-house softwares where experience and knowledge of some technical trendy language or framework is more important than the fact that you can pick up this in a small amount of time given you know some programming.

On the other side, all the big software companies and other few care about the fundamental Computer Science skills and not the knowledge of some recently applauded new programming language. Except few of those who additionally want you to have an in-depth knowledge of C++, Java and PHP.

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