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TEKsystems Survey Pinpoints Most Important Factors Related to Best IT Jobs for Crop of Upcoming New Graduates
[September 13, 2017]

TEKsystems Survey Pinpoints Most Important Factors Related to Best IT Jobs for Crop of Upcoming New Graduates

With the start of the new school year for students expecting to graduate in 2017/2018 from universities and colleges nationwide, TEKsystems (News - Alert)®, a leading provider of IT staffing solutions and IT services, today issued the results of a survey revealing the factors related to the top IT jobs for upcoming graduates along with the key elements hiring managers look at when considering entry-level candidates. The survey was conducted in March 2017 and the results represent the views of more than 250 IT hiring managers across the United States. View infographic here.

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Best IT Jobs for Entry Level Job Seekers (Graphic: Business Wire)

Best IT Jobs for Entry Level Job Seekers (Graphic: Business Wire)

Key highlights from the survey include:

Developer Roles Provide the Best Job Opportunities


Q: What skill sets provide the greatest opportunity for recent college graduates searching for entry-level positions and how difficult are they to source? Select all skill sets that apply.

Job   Percentage   Ranked by Difficulty in
        Sourcing as of Q2 2017
Applications developer   60%  


Technical support   54%  


Business/systems analyst   52%  


Web developer   48%  


Network/systems administrator   39%  


Network/systems engineer   37%  


Database administrator   35%  


Quality assurance engineer   27%  


*Includes Programmers and developers (i.e., Java, .NET (News - Alert), web, etc.)

  • TEKsystems' Take: IT hiring managers recommend applications developer roles as the best opportunity for new college graduates. This experience provides a foundation for future growth in a more specialized area of software development. Coincidentally, developer roles are consistently difficult roles to fill-a result of the sky-high demand for qualified tech professionals across the industry. Technical support, business analysts and web developers are also mentioned as good opportunities for new graduates with generalized degrees. Digital transformation will continue to create significant opportunity for new IT professionals as organizations take on more and larger IT projects. These initiatives will require a small number of highly skilled and experienced individuals to design, but a larger number of junior or entry-level workers to implement. Hiring managers should note that those skill sets representing the most opportunity for recent college graduates are not necessarily difficult to source. Network/systems admins, database admins, and quality assurance engineers are, relatively speaking, easier to source than some of the other skill sets identified as representing the most opportunity for recent graduates.

Generalized IT Degrees Preferred Over Specialized Degrees

Q: For most entry-level positions, which type of degree is most applicable for recent graduates? Select only one.
Type of Degree   Percentage
Generalized/traditional degrees (e.g., CIS, computer science, computing, software engineering   83%
Specialized/new age degrees (e.g., data analysis, human-computer interaction, AI, game development   17%
Q: Which of the following programming languages are most difficult to find? [select the top-3 languages that are most difficult to find]
Languages   Ranked Most Difficult to Least Difficult
.Net   1
SQL   2
Python   3
Java   4
JavaScript   5

*Perl, C++, C# and Ruby on Rails all tied for 6th. **Scala and PHP tied for 9th.

  • TEKsystems' Take: The vast majority of hiring managers, more than 8 in 10, say a generalized or more traditional technology degree is more applicable for new college graduates. Hiring managers often prefer several years of experience when filling specialized roles, while certain organizations internally develop individuals for specialized roles requiring unique skill sets. The distribution of programming languages seems to indicate that to advance as a programmer or developer, new IT pros would do well to develop fluency over a range of languages as opposed to specializing in just one.

Work Experience and Internships Dominate as Top Factors for Hiring Over GPA and School Attended

Q: When considering a recent graduate for a position, how important are the following factors? Stack rank from most important to least important.
Rank   Factor   Percentage (ranked 1 or 2)
1   Work-related internship/experience   86%
2   Referrals/references   50%
3   GPA   24%
4   School attended   18%
5   Extracurricular activities   11%
6   ROTC or Military Reserve Program   10%
  • TEKsystems' Take: When considering recent college graduates for entry-level positions, IT hiring managers are loud and clear that work-related internships or experience is the most important factor, ranking it twice as high as the next factor, referrals and references. This is significant as it has implications for both hiring managers seeking candidates, as well as students themselves: experience trumps potential, and work-related internships and experience, along with referrals and references, are better predictors of performance for first-time graduates than either GPA or the particular school attended-especially in the fast-paced, ever-evolving industry of technology. It could also speak to an increased focus on finding the right cultural fit versus technical fit, where the decisive criteria in competing candidates with less proven backgrounds would be practical experience and an ability to assimilate into an existing team. A more "build versus buy" approach.

Salary Still Tops, but Workplace Flexibility More Important Than Healthcare


Q: How much do you expect FULL TIME & CONTINGENT IT hiring to change (as of Q2 2017)?

Change   Full Time   Contingent
Increase   35%  


Stay the Same   49%  


Decrease   16%  


Q: In terms of a hiring package, which factors do you consider most attractive to a recent college graduate when offering them a job?
Rank   Package   Percentage (ranked 1 or 2)
1   Salary   85%
2   Workplace flexibility (i.e., ability to telecommute, flexible work schedule   68%
3   Healthcare   26%
4   Tuition reimbursement (on-going education)   16%
5   Retirement/401k   5%
  • TEKsystems' Take: Not surprisingly, IT hiring managers say salary is the most attractive aspect of a hiring package for recent college graduates. Hiring managers are well aligned with the desires of IT candidates when thinking about the most attractive pieces of the hiring package puzzle, ranking workplace flexibility as the second highest factor-even above healthcare. Although salary is important to job seekers, and no company can compete for IT talent with salary bands below market value, an increasing trend among new job seekers in IT talent is workplace flexibility. It allows them the freedom to structure their own working hours, which in turn, can offer a better work-life balance, time to pursue further training, or accomplish other goals. Hiring managers who wrap flexibility into their employee value proposition should stand out in the competitive IT job market.

"Those graduates entering the IT market in the next several months are in the enviable position of seeing high demand for their skills, depending on their specific qualifications," said TEKsystems Research Manager Jason Hayman. "In fact, our research shows that truly exceptional candidates stand a good chance of being offered a 10 percent premium above what has been budgeted for a specific position. However, it is still true that they are most likely going to be offered the types of junior/entry level roles where they're primarily being asked to maintain, update or fix currently deployed software programs. Organizations are showing a heavy preference for generalized degrees over specialized, where in the future they can develop the skill set of a capable individual to fit their own specialized requirements. Newly graduated job seekers may be surprised that it's not about the name recognition of an expensive school or a cutting edge degree that gets you in the door, it's more about experience, skill sets, programming languages, and making yourself a valuable member of whatever team or project you get the opportunity to work on."

TEKsystems' Jason Hayman is available for additional commentary. For more information about the survey, or to schedule an interview, please contact Nathan Bowen at

About TEKsystems®

People are at the heart of every successful business initiative. At TEKsystems, an Allegis Group company, we understand people. Every year we deploy more than 80,000 IT professionals at 6,000 client sites across North America, Europe and Asia. Our deep insights into IT human capital management enable us to help our clients achieve their business goals-while optimizing their IT workforce strategies. We provide IT staffing solutions, IT talent management expertise and IT services to help our clients plan, build and run their critical business initiatives. Through our range of quality-focused delivery models, we meet our clients where they are, and take them where they want to go, the way they want to get there.

TEKsystems. Our people make IT possible.

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