Creating and sharing knowledge for telecommunications

The Development of Skills in the ICT Sector: Analysis of Engineering Students’ Perceptions about Transversal Skills

Direito, I.D. ; Pereira, A.S.P. ; Duarte, A. M. O. D.

International Journal of Engineering Education Vol. 30, Nº 6, pp. 1556 - 1561, July, 2014.

ISSN (print): 0949-149X
ISSN (online):

Scimago Journal Ranking: 0,53 (in 2014)

Digital Object Identifier: 0949-149X/91 $3.00+0.00

When starting a career, many engineering graduates possess the necessary technical knowledge but present serious behavioural mismatches. The lack of transversal skills, such as working well in teams and successful time management, can represent an important handicap in their careers and the resulting limitations can significantly impair their capability to undertake the roles that companies expect from them. In the present study, 297 ICT engineering undergraduate and postgraduation students were surveyed about their perceptions about their proficiency in and the importance of transversal skills. Findings showed that students rated more highly the importance of transversal skills than their own perceived proficiency in those same skills; post-graduation students (Bologna second cycle) perceived themselves as being more proficient in the vast majority of the transversal skills analysed, and revealed less skills’ gaps in comparison with undergraduate students (Bologna first cycle). The results also showed that, in comparison with companies’ representatives,
students tend to value the generality of transversal skills, suggesting that students are aware of the importance of transversal skills for their future professional roles, but lack a differentiated vision about these skills. These results emphasize the need to invest in initiatives to promote the development of transversal skills during the students’ university studies and also alert to the importance of a regular interaction between education systems and companies.