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Firms and Universities Join Forces to Satisfy IT Boom

Published: March 14, 2006 (Issue # 1152)


With demand for IT specialists growing at 25 percent to 30 percent a year, software companies and universities are joining forces to offset a state system of education that is failing to keep pace with the booming industry.

Valentin Makarov, president of the association of software developers RUSSOFT, said that there are two types of worthwhile education programs held at university departments in close cooperation with software developers, and courses organized in further education and retraining centers.

In both cases qualified programmers are trained by teachers who have experience in commercial programming and scientific research, Makarov said.

Andrei Terekhov, head of system programming in the department of mathematics and mechanics at St. Petersburg State University, indicated that the absence of unified educational standards for program engineering was the main problem.

Education programs even in specialized institutions are too academic. Students are not taught to plan, assess risks, manage projects and tackle other practical issues, Terekhov said.

Companies have to spend about six months training the young specialists they hire, he said.

Only 10 percent of IT specialists become high-level programmers just after graduating. About 40 percent of graduates attend additional training courses. Half the students find jobs in other areas.

To tackle these problems the citys leading universities have started experimental programs in cooperation with private companies. As CEO of Lanit-Tercom, Terekhov organized additional education for his students. About four years ago company specialists started running courses on new technologies and management. Students also run experimental projects.

Nobody expects a commercially profitable product. The goal is the study of new technologies and science, Terekhov said.

The projects get more complicated as studies advance. Students are also taught to plan budgets and present projects. The most talented ones are already employed by Lanit-Tercom and other companies by the time they graduate.

At the moment we are trying to create a techno-park near the faculty in Petergof to house 2,500 people from between 30 and 40 companies. We expect them to participate in educating students, Terekhov said.

SoftJoys Computer Academy has a program of further education, which comprises over 500 hours of lectures divided into six terms.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Oct. 2


The celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of Mikhail Lermontov continues with todays free exhibition in the citys Lermontov Library at 19 Liteiny Prospekt. Titled Under the Rustling Wings, the temporary exhibition will feature the costumes and scenery used in the 1917 production of Lermontovs play The Masquerade, which he wrote in 1835 when he was only 21 years old.



Friday, Oct. 3


Learn more about how to manage and evaluate employee performance during SPIBAs Human Resources Committee meeting this morning on Employee Assessment: Global and Local Trends. Starting at 9:30 a.m., the discussion will touch on such topics as the partnership between HR and business, reliable assessment strategies and more, with Tatiana Andrianova, the head of the SHL Russia and CIS branch in St. Petersburg, as the featured guest. Confirm your participation by Oct. 2 by emailing office@spiba.ru or calling 325 9091.


AmChams Procurement Committee Meeting is at 9 a.m. this morning in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.



Saturday, Oct. 4


Wine and cheese lovers will get their chance to revel during Scandinavia Country Club and Spas Wine Market Weekend. Going on today and tomorrow, wining diners can listen to live music, take part in culinary classes and, of course, sample a variety of fine wines from around the world. The cost of admission is 400 rubles ($10.30) for adults and 200 rubles ($5.15) for children.



Sunday, Oct. 5


Look for the latest fall fashions at the Autumn Market today in Freedom Anticafe at 7 Kazanskaya Ulitsa. The minimarket plans to offer clothes more flattering than the puffy jackets that are a staple of the citys cold-weather fashion, while offering the same amount of protection from the biting winds blowing off of the Baltic.



Monday, Oct. 6


SKA St. Petersburg, the citys KHL affiliate, welcomes Slovakian club HC Slovan in a match-up tonight at the Ice Palace near the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. and tickets can be purchased on the clubs website or in person at either the arenas box office or the clubs merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Oct. 7


Learn more about Russias energy industry at the St. Petersburg Energy Forum that begins today and runs through Oct. 10. Attracting industry experts and political and business representatives, the forum plans to welcome more than 350 plus companies and their representatives to discuss the future of Russias largest economic sector.



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