Is there a widening gap between IT graduate's knowledge, and what the real world expects?

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Waylon Kenning, Oct 2, 2004.

  1. I read an interesting article here
    http://it.seek.co.nz/editorial/0-9-4_IT_unemployment.htm about the IT
    industry having a hard time finding staff, yet so many are reluctant
    to accept graduates. Is this because of a widening gap between what
    skills graduates come out with, and what employers want? And if so,
    why aren't universities and polytechnics doing more about this?

    I find it interesting to note that students at certain universities
    sometimes get firm job offers in their *first* year of study, yet
    recently, I offered a local computing company in Lower Hutt unpaid
    work experience, they seem to have turned me down. I can't even get
    unpaid work around here! Every where I look people want 3 years
    experience-this, and 5 years experience-that, alas, why aren't the
    skills I'm learning at polytech better matched to what the industry
    wants?

    The above's all my opinion and could be totally illogical, what's your
    views?
    --
    Regards,
    Waylon Kenning.

    1st Year B.I.T. WelTec
    Waylon Kenning, Oct 2, 2004
    #1
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  2. Waylon Kenning

    Cheetah Guest

    Waylon Kenning wrote:

    > I find it interesting to note that students at certain universities
    > sometimes get firm job offers in their *first* year of study, yet
    > recently, I offered a local computing company in Lower Hutt unpaid
    > work experience, they seem to have turned me down. I can't even get
    > unpaid work around here! Every where I look people want 3 years
    > experience-this, and 5 years experience-that, alas, why aren't the
    > skills I'm learning at polytech better matched to what the industry
    > wants?


    As am employer I am more than willing to employ people out of University. In
    fact I have a part time employee who is at Uni right now.

    The idea that Uni/Tech doesn't provide what the industry needs isn't new.
    But then the technologies change so rapidly that it is difficult for them
    to keep up. However employing people based on narrow skill sets isn't a
    good plan anyway. I employed a PHP developer, and will be teaching them
    Java for example. A good developer is flexible and can easily learn new
    technology.

    I am more than willing to have people work for me for free to get industry
    experience :)
    Cheetah, Oct 2, 2004
    #2
    1. Advertising


  3. >IT industry having a hard time finding staff, yet so many are reluctant


    Is this really true. My previous employer had a stack of CV's 2 feet high for
    the job he advertised for. These where the CV's that he had weeded out &
    printed. Most were easily qualified for the position.
    What employers complaining wont say is that they arent willing to pay more to
    keep/attract staff. When you can earn more with a good lawn mowing round a bit
    of honesty is needed when making statements about staff recruitment issues.
    My former workmate with 8 years as a PCTECH & a qualified aviation engineer
    makes more as a unskilled factory worker in Aus.
    Steve Robertson, Oct 2, 2004
    #3
  4. Waylon Kenning

    Harry Guest

    Waylon Kenning wrote:

    > I read an interesting article here
    > http://it.seek.co.nz/editorial/0-9-4_IT_unemployment.htm about the IT
    > industry having a hard time finding staff, yet so many are reluctant
    > to accept graduates. Is this because of a widening gap between what
    > skills graduates come out with, and what employers want? And if so,
    > why aren't universities and polytechnics doing more about this?
    >
    > I find it interesting to note that students at certain universities
    > sometimes get firm job offers in their *first* year of study, yet
    > recently, I offered a local computing company in Lower Hutt unpaid
    > work experience, they seem to have turned me down. I can't even get
    > unpaid work around here! Every where I look people want 3 years
    > experience-this, and 5 years experience-that, alas, why aren't the
    > skills I'm learning at polytech better matched to what the industry
    > wants?
    >
    > The above's all my opinion and could be totally illogical, what's your
    > views?


    It is most probably the case that the best IT people don't get a job
    teaching at universities or polytechnics.

    That is possibly the reason.
    Harry, Oct 2, 2004
    #4
  5. Re: Is there a widening gap between IT graduate's knowledge, andwhat the real world expects?

    Waylon Kenning wrote:

    > I read an interesting article here
    > http://it.seek.co.nz/editorial/0-9-4_IT_unemployment.htm about the IT
    > industry having a hard time finding staff, yet so many are reluctant
    > to accept graduates. Is this because of a widening gap between what
    > skills graduates come out with, and what employers want? And if so,
    > why aren't universities and polytechnics doing more about this?
    >
    > I find it interesting to note that students at certain universities
    > sometimes get firm job offers in their *first* year of study, yet
    > recently, I offered a local computing company in Lower Hutt unpaid
    > work experience, they seem to have turned me down. I can't even get
    > unpaid work around here! Every where I look people want 3 years
    > experience-this, and 5 years experience-that, alas, why aren't the
    > skills I'm learning at polytech better matched to what the industry
    > wants?
    >
    > The above's all my opinion and could be totally illogical, what's your
    > views?


    Each place I have worked has valued experience over actual
    qualifications... infact, I have none to speak of.

    I finished school(to 7th form), and have done **** all education since,
    yet I consider that I know a fair bit about a fair bit of IT stuff.(boy
    don't I sound smart :)

    For about a year I worked with a BIT graduate(otago poly) and he was
    surprised to see how little he knew, and how much I learned.

    When he left we were chatting about it and he said that I could have
    easily passed all of the exams in BIT, except for a few of the odd
    things that they make you learn with no relevance to anything.

    I do feel that I should get some piece of paper to say what I know, but
    with the glowing references I have, I don't yet see the point.
    Dave - Dave.net.nz, Oct 2, 2004
    #5
  6. Re: Is there a widening gap between IT graduate's knowledge, andwhat the real world expects?

    Hi Waylon,

    Having been involved in both undergraduate and postgraduate IT studies
    at two different institutions, I can honestly say I'm not impressed with
    the quality coming out of these courses.

    Most of what I know, I know because I personally put the time and effort
    in to learning it. Sometimes it was just reading ahead and doing more
    complicated things than in class (E.g. C programming), but mainly I have
    chosen to research and learn about other things in my own time.

    I graduated with about 10 other students, and none of them had what I
    would consider an adequate _technical_ knowledge. I think many of these
    courses have far too much emphasis placed on business needs, and they
    don't teach 'IT'. That is fine if businesses want people to run
    accounting packages, but in reality IT is still a very technical area.

    In my degree, the core paper on computer operations was a first year
    _business_ computing paper. The lecturer made numerous mistakes (Not as
    many as a certain government-funeded course I went for a job at, but
    that is another story), and the level of detail was far too simplistic
    for an IT degree.

    Another paper I did, and particularly enjoyed, was 'too hard', so it was
    later divided in to two papers. What is wrong with failure? Damn it,
    students _need_ to know this stuff.

    My advice to you would be to get an MCSE or other industry certification
    while you are studying. This is what I had planned to do, but because I
    chose to go in to cross-platform development, I never really had the
    need for it. Right now I'm looking for a new job, but most require some
    form of industry qualification, and to a lesser extent degrees.

    As an employer, I'd be looking for work history and industry
    qualifications, or someone who could demonstrate a good knowledge of the
    work involved, and have the ability to learn. I don't feel the current
    degrees do that.

    The Other Guy

    Waylon Kenning wrote:
    > I read an interesting article here
    > http://it.seek.co.nz/editorial/0-9-4_IT_unemployment.htm about the IT
    > industry having a hard time finding staff, yet so many are reluctant
    > to accept graduates. Is this because of a widening gap between what
    > skills graduates come out with, and what employers want? And if so,
    > why aren't universities and polytechnics doing more about this?
    >
    > I find it interesting to note that students at certain universities
    > sometimes get firm job offers in their *first* year of study, yet
    > recently, I offered a local computing company in Lower Hutt unpaid
    > work experience, they seem to have turned me down. I can't even get
    > unpaid work around here! Every where I look people want 3 years
    > experience-this, and 5 years experience-that, alas, why aren't the
    > skills I'm learning at polytech better matched to what the industry
    > wants?
    >
    > The above's all my opinion and could be totally illogical, what's your
    > views?
    The Other Guy, Oct 2, 2004
    #6
  7. Waylon Kenning

    Ryan Jacobs Guest

    "Steve Robertson" <> wrote in message
    news:415e3bdc$...
    >


    > What employers complaining wont say is that they arent willing to pay more
    > to
    > keep/attract staff.


    Aint that the truth. Given the nature of the IT industry (technology
    changing almost on a daily basis), you'd think they spend a little money in
    upskilling & training their current staff. And, the cost of recriuting new
    staff far outways the cost of providing benefits to existing staff.

    > When you can earn more with a good lawn mowing round a bit
    > of honesty is needed when making statements about staff recruitment
    > issues.
    > My former workmate with 8 years as a PCTECH & a qualified aviation
    > engineer
    > makes more as a unskilled factory worker in Aus.
    >


    Since I became self-employed - I work much less hours and earn 3 times the
    money. And, (the best part) I don't have a stupid boss whinging about the
    things bosses whinge about.
    Ryan Jacobs, Oct 2, 2004
    #7
  8. Waylon Kenning

    Enkidu Guest

    On Sat, 02 Oct 2004 15:26:25 +1200, Waylon Kenning
    <> wrote:

    >I read an interesting article here
    >http://it.seek.co.nz/editorial/0-9-4_IT_unemployment.htm about the IT
    >industry having a hard time finding staff, yet so many are reluctant
    >to accept graduates. Is this because of a widening gap between what
    >skills graduates come out with, and what employers want? And if so,
    >why aren't universities and polytechnics doing more about this?
    >
    >I find it interesting to note that students at certain universities
    >sometimes get firm job offers in their *first* year of study, yet
    >recently, I offered a local computing company in Lower Hutt unpaid
    >work experience, they seem to have turned me down. I can't even get
    >unpaid work around here! Every where I look people want 3 years
    >experience-this, and 5 years experience-that, alas, why aren't the
    >skills I'm learning at polytech better matched to what the industry
    >wants?
    >
    >The above's all my opinion and could be totally illogical, what's your
    >views?
    >

    Sometimes a graduate is his/her worst enemy. You know the old saying
    "Hire a graduate while they still know it all". Graduates wanting top
    dollar with *no* real world experience? Come on!

    That said, I know of one place that is looking for graduates who are
    willing to learn the real world way!

    Cheers,

    Cliff
    Enkidu, Oct 2, 2004
    #8
  9. In article <> in nz.comp on
    Sat, 02 Oct 2004 15:26:25 +1200, Waylon Kenning
    <> says...
    > I read an interesting article here
    > http://it.seek.co.nz/editorial/0-9-4_IT_unemployment.htm about the IT
    > industry having a hard time finding staff, yet so many are reluctant
    > to accept graduates. Is this because of a widening gap between what
    > skills graduates come out with, and what employers want? And if so,
    > why aren't universities and polytechnics doing more about this?


    Uni courses are all theory

    Poly courses suck on quality.

    No one qualification can meet all market needs.
    Patrick Dunford, Oct 2, 2004
    #9
  10. It seems like Sat, 02 Oct 2004 17:28:48 +1200 was when The Other Guy
    <> said Blah blah blah...

    >Most of what I know, I know because I personally put the time and effort
    >in to learning it. Sometimes it was just reading ahead and doing more
    >complicated things than in class (E.g. C programming), but mainly I have
    >chosen to research and learn about other things in my own time.

    Yeah, I'm finding I'm having to do that too. The only downside I
    believe to my degree is the first year wasted doing papers that are
    compulsory, but not relevant from my point of view to the end goal. So
    I'm finding myself sitting in the library reading "System Analysis and
    Design" (an excellent Prometric-Thompson book IMHO), and doing study
    on that, instead of doing actual degree work on Computer Architecture.
    Probably the worst thing about learning things in your own time is,
    who assesses you?

    >My advice to you would be to get an MCSE or other industry certification
    >while you are studying. This is what I had planned to do, but because I
    >chose to go in to cross-platform development, I never really had the
    >need for it. Right now I'm looking for a new job, but most require some
    >form of industry qualification, and to a lesser extent degrees.

    Yah, that's one of the advantages to me of WelTec degrees, their
    degree content directly matches up to industry certification. So get a
    degree and industry certification for the same work, it's a bloody
    good idea.

    Oh, if anyone's in Wellington, and wants a 1st year BIT student for
    work experience, I'm quite willing to help. Whatever it is, I'll do it
    for free, as long as I don't have to say "Would you like fries with
    that".
    --
    Regards,
    Waylon Kenning.

    1st Year B.I.T. WelTec
    Waylon Kenning, Oct 2, 2004
    #10
  11. It seems like Sat, 02 Oct 2004 16:54:37 +1200 was when "Dave -
    Dave.net.nz" <Dave@_no_spam_here_please_dave.net.nz> said Blah blah
    blah...

    >When he left we were chatting about it and he said that I could have
    >easily passed all of the exams in BIT, except for a few of the odd
    >things that they make you learn with no relevance to anything.


    Speaking of that, I'm about 6 months away from making my own engine
    management computer for a car using either a MC68000 or a 80C552 micro
    controller. The relevance this has to do with passing my MCSE, I can't
    quite see yet, but I'm still a student. I'm sure someone has an
    answer. Right? Guys? Anyone?

    But really, there does seem to be a bit of "you need to know this,
    just trust us on this one" going on in degrees. Whether it's all
    valid, I'll tell you in 20 years:)
    --
    Regards,
    Waylon Kenning.

    1st Year B.I.T. WelTec
    Waylon Kenning, Oct 2, 2004
    #11
  12. Re: Is there a widening gap between IT graduate's knowledge, andwhat the real world expects?

    Waylon Kenning wrote:
    > Oh, if anyone's in Wellington, and wants a 1st year BIT student for
    > work experience, I'm quite willing to help. Whatever it is, I'll do it
    > for free, as long as I don't have to say "Would you like fries with
    > that".


    so you dont do software development then?
    Dave - Dave.net.nz, Oct 2, 2004
    #12
  13. Re: Is there a widening gap between IT graduate's knowledge, andwhat the real world expects?

    Waylon Kenning wrote:

    > It seems like Sat, 02 Oct 2004 16:54:37 +1200 was when "Dave -
    > Dave.net.nz" <Dave@_no_spam_here_please_dave.net.nz> said Blah blah
    > blah...
    >
    >
    >>When he left we were chatting about it and he said that I could have
    >>easily passed all of the exams in BIT, except for a few of the odd
    >>things that they make you learn with no relevance to anything.

    >
    >
    > Speaking of that, I'm about 6 months away from making my own engine
    > management computer for a car using either a MC68000 or a 80C552 micro
    > controller. The relevance this has to do with passing my MCSE, I can't
    > quite see yet, but I'm still a student. I'm sure someone has an
    > answer. Right? Guys? Anyone?
    >
    > But really, there does seem to be a bit of "you need to know this,
    > just trust us on this one" going on in degrees. Whether it's all
    > valid, I'll tell you in 20 years:)


    although it sounds like fun, I don't see that it is relevant... although
    it would be programming, flashing etc... but umm, yeah, odd.
    Dave - Dave.net.nz, Oct 2, 2004
    #13
  14. It seems like Sun, 03 Oct 2004 10:05:17 +1300 was when "Dave -
    Dave.net.nz" <Dave@_no_spam_here_please_dave.net.nz> said Blah blah
    blah...

    >> Oh, if anyone's in Wellington, and wants a 1st year BIT student for
    >> work experience, I'm quite willing to help. Whatever it is, I'll do it
    >> for free, as long as I don't have to say "Would you like fries with
    >> that".

    >
    >so you dont do software development then?


    I was thinking about this, is there still a demand for System Analysts
    in contrast to Analyst/Programmers? I mean, I'm really enjoying
    reading about System Analysis and Design, I just *dislike* coding. I
    don't even mind doing pseudocode, I just don't want to be a programmer
    and be caught up in the semantics of the language that's all. So
    perhaps yeah, I'll do software development right up until you want me
    to program it, then I'm taking a holiday!:)

    Actually, with the disappointing looking field for graduates (I
    searched http://it.seek.co.nz for "graduate" and came up with about 5
    valid hits), I'm looking at going into teaching. Funnily enough, at
    least you know you have a guaranteed job at the end of it, and it's as
    easy as tacking on a post grad. diploma in teaching. Anything that
    helps me retire to Niue or New Caledonia, I'm happy with:)
    --
    Regards,
    Waylon Kenning.

    1st Year B.I.T. WelTec
    Waylon Kenning, Oct 2, 2004
    #14
  15. Waylon Kenning

    Kippla Guest

    "Waylon Kenning" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >I read an interesting article here
    > http://it.seek.co.nz/editorial/0-9-4_IT_unemployment.htm about the IT
    > industry having a hard time finding staff, yet so many are reluctant
    > to accept graduates. Is this because of a widening gap between what
    > skills graduates come out with, and what employers want? And if so,
    > why aren't universities and polytechnics doing more about this?
    >
    > I find it interesting to note that students at certain universities
    > sometimes get firm job offers in their *first* year of study, yet
    > recently, I offered a local computing company in Lower Hutt unpaid
    > work experience, they seem to have turned me down. I can't even get
    > unpaid work around here! Every where I look people want 3 years
    > experience-this, and 5 years experience-that, alas, why aren't the
    > skills I'm learning at polytech better matched to what the industry
    > wants?
    >
    > The above's all my opinion and could be totally illogical, what's your
    > views?
    > --
    > Regards,
    > Waylon Kenning.
    >
    > 1st Year B.I.T. WelTec


    First off I wouldn't offer anything for free. Put yourself in their shoes
    and I sure wouldn't want to let some new guy loose on my code, networks etc
    who wasn't fully confident in what they were doing. And offering to do it
    for free would tell me you weren't. You could sell it better of course, and
    sound like you really know what you're doing. But willing to do it for free
    doesn't look good IMHO. But that's just me.

    That being said, some people will love free work. Mostly businesses who
    aren't I.T. orientated. I had a friend who offered to do free website
    development for local Dunedin businesses, and they got so many call backs
    they had to turn a lot down. Plus they did really good work and usually got
    paid for it anyway. People who have no knowledge of such things will love
    free work since they don't really have anything to loose.
    Kippla, Oct 2, 2004
    #15
  16. Waylon Kenning

    Collector-NZ Guest

    Re: Is there a widening gap between IT graduate's knowledge, andwhat the real world expects?

    Kippla said the following on 3/10/2004 11:16:
    > "Waylon Kenning" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >
    >>I read an interesting article here
    >>http://it.seek.co.nz/editorial/0-9-4_IT_unemployment.htm about the IT
    >>industry having a hard time finding staff, yet so many are reluctant
    >>to accept graduates. Is this because of a widening gap between what
    >>skills graduates come out with, and what employers want? And if so,
    >>why aren't universities and polytechnics doing more about this?
    >>
    >>I find it interesting to note that students at certain universities
    >>sometimes get firm job offers in their *first* year of study, yet
    >>recently, I offered a local computing company in Lower Hutt unpaid
    >>work experience, they seem to have turned me down. I can't even get
    >>unpaid work around here! Every where I look people want 3 years
    >>experience-this, and 5 years experience-that, alas, why aren't the
    >>skills I'm learning at polytech better matched to what the industry
    >>wants?
    >>
    >>The above's all my opinion and could be totally illogical, what's your
    >>views?
    >>--
    >>Regards,
    >>Waylon Kenning.
    >>
    >>1st Year B.I.T. WelTec

    >
    >
    > First off I wouldn't offer anything for free. Put yourself in their shoes
    > and I sure wouldn't want to let some new guy loose on my code, networks etc
    > who wasn't fully confident in what they were doing. And offering to do it
    > for free would tell me you weren't. You could sell it better of course, and
    > sound like you really know what you're doing. But willing to do it for free
    > doesn't look good IMHO. But that's just me.
    >
    > That being said, some people will love free work. Mostly businesses who
    > aren't I.T. orientated. I had a friend who offered to do free website
    > development for local Dunedin businesses, and they got so many call backs
    > they had to turn a lot down. Plus they did really good work and usually got
    > paid for it anyway. People who have no knowledge of such things will love
    > free work since they don't really have anything to loose.
    >
    >

    Over the years I have had a number of people offer to work for free for
    experiance, I have never accepted one of them as free, free means no
    responsibilty or answerability for there own actions. That said I have
    been impressed by some of the people and given them a temporary position
    at a basic rate, that way they and I are covered as far as responsibilty
    and answerabilty goes. Those who I have helped in this way have gone on
    to bigger and better things.
    Collector-NZ, Oct 2, 2004
    #16
  17. Waylon Kenning

    steven Guest

    On Sat, 02 Oct 2004 15:26:25 +1200, Waylon Kenning wrote:

    > The above's all my opinion and could be totally illogical, what's your
    > views?


    i think it may have more to do with the standard of graduates.

    im in my third year of BIT at otago polytechnic, right now iam starting my
    thrid year project (where we get together with a client a build a system).
    one thing i have noticed looking around the project room (the hot smelly
    room that it is) is that there are a lot of "good ideas" but just badly
    implemented, whether due to stupid design or just plain stupid programming.

    im talking about third years that cant program their way out of a inatimate
    paper bag, teams that do ****-all analysis & design and end up re-coding
    their system dozens of times because of that fact - end up getting more
    marks than the teams who design it the right way in the first place.

    in talking to people who have been through this paper i know of cases where
    the "lead developer" in a team has to do tripple the work to get a system
    out the door. think up a concept, get it down on paper, analyse that design
    untill it works, build up a "working example", get that working example to
    a stage where a monkey with a hammer can fill in the gaps umongst all the
    documentation & comments - and they still get asked stupid questions.

    one thing i expect of my classmates is at least knowledge to a similar
    level when it comes to development principals (after all we went through
    the same classes) - i dunno mabye iam expecting too much.


    --------
    steven h
    steven, Oct 3, 2004
    #17
  18. Waylon Kenning

    Cheetah Guest

    Waylon Kenning wrote:

    > I was thinking about this, is there still a demand for System Analysts
    > in contrast to Analyst/Programmers? I mean, I'm really enjoying
    > reading about System Analysis and Design, I just *dislike* coding. I
    > don't even mind doing pseudocode, I just don't want to be a programmer
    > and be caught up in the semantics of the language that's all. So
    > perhaps yeah, I'll do software development right up until you want me
    > to program it, then I'm taking a holiday!:)


    There never was a demand for "System Analyst" with no coding experience. You
    simply cannot divorce the development of specifications from the coding
    tools used. The environment has a huge impact on how applications are
    implemented.

    The decisions made in developing specifications can make all the difference
    between implementing something in one month or one year. Without being a
    coder there is little to no idea about how difficult something is to
    actually implement.

    I am personally doing very little coding nowdays - but I am still able to do
    so, and I have come up with some very innovative solutions to problems that
    someone with no coding experience never could have.
    Cheetah, Oct 3, 2004
    #18
  19. Waylon Kenning

    Harry Guest

    steven wrote:

    > im talking about third years that cant program their way out of a
    > inatimate paper bag, teams that do ****-all analysis & design and end up
    > re-coding their system dozens of times because of that fact - end up
    > getting more marks than the teams who design it the right way in the first
    > place.


    Getting a design 100% right at the outset and then simply having
    monkeys write the code has been the aspiration of millions
    of IT specialists.

    Unlike architecture or engineering IT design encompasses an enormous
    range of human requirements many of which are simply not known,
    not understood, or not elaborated at design time.

    Also, many monkeys show a distinct unwillingness to be monkeys.

    So the reality is that a real design will incorporate the best possible
    initial analysis and design, and a couple of implemetation iterations.
    Harry, Oct 3, 2004
    #19
  20. Waylon Kenning

    Harry Guest

    Cheetah wrote:

    > Waylon Kenning wrote:
    >
    >> I was thinking about this, is there still a demand for System Analysts
    >> in contrast to Analyst/Programmers? I mean, I'm really enjoying
    >> reading about System Analysis and Design, I just *dislike* coding. I
    >> don't even mind doing pseudocode, I just don't want to be a programmer
    >> and be caught up in the semantics of the language that's all. So
    >> perhaps yeah, I'll do software development right up until you want me
    >> to program it, then I'm taking a holiday!:)

    >
    > There never was a demand for "System Analyst" with no coding experience.
    > You simply cannot divorce the development of specifications from the
    > coding tools used. The environment has a huge impact on how applications
    > are implemented.
    >
    > The decisions made in developing specifications can make all the
    > difference between implementing something in one month or one year.
    > Without being a coder there is little to no idea about how difficult
    > something is to actually implement.
    >
    > I am personally doing very little coding nowdays - but I am still able to
    > do so, and I have come up with some very innovative solutions to problems
    > that someone with no coding experience never could have.


    You are obviously a valuable asset to the company that employs you.
    If only everyone who posted to this ng showed the commonsense and
    intelligence that you obviously have.
    Harry, Oct 3, 2004
    #20
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