PPIG 1999 - 11th Annual Workshop
The Need for Computer Scientists to Receive Training on People Skills
Tom Jackson, Ray Dawson
Abstract: Universities currently take some steps towards preparing their students for the real world, but fall short when it comes to people issues. Through the use of case studies, the paper shows that students may encounter problems with the people they meet. A general lack of competence on technical matters and an inability to seek help, accept advice or admit they are wrong may be found in the graduate’s new employers. This may be compounded by a work atmosphere of misunderstanding, lack of communication and mistrust.
While a sandwich year experience is undoubtedly worth while, it cannot be an excuse for the universities to omit any teaching of people skills. The paper identifies that there is clearly a need for universities to put a greater emphasis on people handling skills in computer science and other courses. Students need to learn firstly, how to recognise the types of people problem they encounter, secondly, how to assess the risks of their actions in dealing with these people problems, and thirdly, have strategies for handling the problems and risks they encounter.