Students on traditional university tracks miss out on learning that comes by way of doing. Advancements in AI and automation have increased global demand for skilled, specialized workers, but recent graduates often lack the training and experience to fill those jobs.
For example, I have an Electrical Engineering PhD but can’t wire a house to save my life. This is largely my fault, I was a lousy engineering student (though decent at math), but my professors were nonetheless happy to move me along with good grades and scores.
This may sound anecdotal, but a serious problem has emerged across all professions, not just electrical engineering. According to one New York Times article, more than half the law professors at top-tier schools have never practiced law. In medicine, a professor of surgery recently voiced his concern that while his students excel academically, they don’t seem to know how to stitch or sew. For certain professions, teaching broad-strokes theory to students isn’t a solution for bridging an increasingly vast skills gap in the workforce.
Technology is one of the industries most affected by the disconnect between what workers learn in school and what they need to know to be effective in their jobs. A general lack of preparedness in graduating students is why so many IT, computer science, and engineering jobs still sit empty, and why employers are scrambling to find new ways to re-skill, up-skill, and hire-on employees to round out their businesses.