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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 city’s 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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Times Talk

ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Apr. 23


Problems facing the elderly are in the spotlight at Senior Generation 2014, an international forum at LenExpo beginning today that focuses on drawing attention to and providing information about some of society’s most vulnerable members. An exhibition combined with a trade fair will help those interested be better equipped to help this demographic.



Thursday, Apr. 24


Learn more about Denmark during the Danish Business Delegation’s visit to SPIBA this evening starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Danish Culture Institute. Danish Consul general Klaus Sorensen will be in attendance and the buffet following a presentation on Danish companies in Russia will be the perfect opportunity to network with the assembled businessmen.


AmCham’s Human Resources Committee Meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. this morning in their St. Petersburg office. Check their website for more details.



Friday, Apr. 25


Light Music presents the main events for their Cultural Kitchen project at Loft-Project Etagi today. A B2B event that focuses on Finnish food, arts, travel, music and design, the evening will conclude with a dinner by chef Jyrki Tsutsunen and dancing to music by Aino Venna. The event, which began yesterday with presentations by tourism and cultural institutions, concludes today with a preview of Finland’s Flow festival and other musical events. Invitations are available from www.culturalkitchen.fi.



Saturday, Apr. 26


At 6 p.m. this evening, stylist Liliana Modigliani offers 50 simple ways to up your style quotient with beauty tips at the Galeria shopping center on Ligovsky Prospekt. The event is part of the final day of the shopping mall’s Fashion Saturday sales event, this week focusing on top brands located on the ground floor as well as presentation from fashion experts on sprucing up your spring look.



Sunday, Apr. 27


Families shouldn’t miss Childhood Planet 2014, the trade fair that started yesterday and concludes today at LenExpo. Not only will goods and services be provided for children and families but the event hopes to promote Russian brands and eco-friendly products using the latest technology available in the childcare industry.



Monday, Apr. 28


The Hotel Indigo will be the site of SPIBA’s Acting Skills for HR and Other Managers master class this morning starting at 9 a.m. The event will begin with coffee before moving on to the class itself and conclude with a tour of the recently opened hotel. Confirm attendance by Apr. 24.



Tuesday, Apr. 29


Improve your English at the British Book Center’s Interactive English Lesson tonight at 6 p.m. Students at pre-intermediate and intermediate levels are welcome discuss topics that are selected to help learners master the more difficult aspects of English grammar and vocabulary.