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Only 1 out of 10 computer science graduates employable - IT experts

President Benigno Aquino III addresses participants of 4th International Outsourcing Summit

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MANILA - Silicon Valley-trained Filipino software gurus said only 10 percent of information technology or computer science graduates are hireable - a reflection of the sorry state of the country's IT education.

During the 4th International Outsourcing Summit on Thursday, experts said the Philippines must produce "hireable" graduates so it can get a bigger slice of the entire software development market.

In 2011, the country produced 70,000 graduates of computer science, IT and related courses. The Philippines is only 0.25 percent of the global industry and this can be reversed given the number of potential talents that the country can hone.

Winston Damarillo, chief executive and co-founder of LA-based Morphlabs, said there is a low hiring readiness of IT-computer science graduates because of their "undereducation" - even to the point that they are considered "uneducated" by big software companies.

Joey Gurango, founder and managing director of Gurango Software Corp. agreed, saying around 50 percent of IT and IT-related degrees are substandard.

"There are some culprits na basta makapag-bigay lang ng degree. There's too many of that. Unfortunately, these kids don't know any better, their parents don't know. Kasi baka dahil mura or magandang ang advertising ng school," Gurango said.

"That diploma mill industry is damaging to the workforce. There is a significant number of degrees that don't mean anything," he added.

In Gurango Software, about 50 percent of the resumes sent are from graduates of BS Information Technology but these applicants do not know basic programming or could not even write a single line of code.

"It's like saying you are a graduate of BS Real Estate. What specifically? Are you developing? Are you selling?" Gurango said.

These graduates were trained to repair computers but were led to believe they could be employed in the programming or software development, he said, adding that some of those who could do programming are self-taught.

Another stumbling block is that those universities and colleges that produce skilled IT or computer science graduates do not have enough linkage with the industry.

"They are learning the right things but these are not what the industry needs. So we are trying to address that from our end by having ongoing discussion with schools and looking at their curriculum," Gurango said.

This must be a one-on-one linkage that is initiated by the educational institution because producing employable graduates is advantageous to them. These schools can pick around five to six companies that they can tap for partnerships.

"They might be teaching subjects that are not anymore used in the industry. The top three schools do not have a problem with it but those below that ranking should strive to have that linkage," Gurango said.

Because of this, around 30-40 percent of the fresh graduates of IT-allied courses go abroad because they could not get jobs locally while the rest shift to other unrelated industries.

Alvin Gendrando, Microsoft Philippines director, said that aside from eliminating outdated courses like Visual Basic through industry linkages, companies should train their new employees in additional programs that are in-demand in the market today like Java.

The local software industry must also start accrediting college programs and do school rankings to weed out the diploma mills to help parents and students choose wisely and to save time and money, Gendrado said.

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