The heads of two petroleum engineering programs disputed the notion that their graduates aren’t prepared to handle modern data analytics challenges.

University of Oklahoma Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy Dean Mike Stice said his undergraduates learn on computer software donated by large oil companies.

University of Tulsa McDougall School of Petroleum Engineering professor and department Chairman Mustafa Onur said computer applications courses are required, and students can learn languages such as Python, C++ and MATLAB. Anderson addressed about 200 attendees Thursday at the Oklahoma State University Spears School of Business’ 12th annual Energy Conference, held at the Cox Convention Center.

One of Stice’s former petroleum engineering students wrote him an email on Thursday and said she was looking for two interns who are studying petroleum engineering and can do data analysis.

TU offers advanced programming classes for its petroleum engineering students, including computer applications for complex petroleum engineering problems.

During the downturn, many of his students found data analytics jobs, not engineering jobs, at ExxonMobil and Pioneer Resources because they had programming experience.

If the state is serious about changing the culture and creating science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM jobs, computer coding should be taught from the time children enter school.