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Job Skills Monitor

Job advertisements disclose what technical and professional skills employers are looking for.

It's not possible to teach students everything in a Bachelor of Information Technology, but what programming languages, what frameworks and databases, which software tools, will be most useful for students as they transition into work upon graduation? How do lecturers choose, and when should they change what they teach? Choices can be influenced by lecturers' personal preferences and opinions about what is best.

Professor David Rozado wondered whether there might be a way to find out what skills the job market is looking for in applicants for IT roles. Employers advertise for the particular skills they need their employees to have, so in theory it should be possible to scrape information from job advertisements on websites like TradeMe and Seek. This sort of data would help ensure that what students learn will help them to gain employment. Students Francisco Fernando Rosas Chavez and Yoseob Shim undertook this for their final year capstone project.

This pilot project focussed on job advertisements for roles in the IT and health sectors in New Zealand. Scraping the data from the website advertisements was only the first step. Under David's supervision and as a research assistant, Francisco went on to develop tools to analyse the data, to discover what technical and professional skills are required for the advertised jobs. The software looks for language models to parse the information and recognise the names of databases, deployment tools, professional skills etc. Machine learning improves analysis over time. A dashboard displays the search results, for example the top 10 companies advertising, the salary distribution, whether the roles are full time, part time or contracted, top locations for jobs, the names of software tools applicants should be familiar with, and of course what technical and professional skills are sought. This data should be useful for students as well as lecturers. The prototype app they built provides proof of concept for David's idea.