Thursday, 16 May 2013

Are we prepared for the ‘Technology’ in Information Technology?

“According to one recent report, in the next decade American colleges will mint 40,000 graduates with a bachelor's degree in computer science, though the U.S. economy is slated to create 120,000 computing jobs that require such degrees. You don't have to be a math major to do the math: That's three times as many jobs as we have people qualified to fill them.” – Kirk McDonald (Read more)

Okay, this is pretty bleak news. After reading the opinion piece by Mr. McDonald, the president of an ad tech company in Manhattan, I’m questioning how far I can get with my Fine Arts degree. Thank goodness I’ve ventured into the field of Marketing …but according to McDonald, it won’t have saved me completely either:

“Even if your dream job is in marketing or sales or another department seemingly unrelated to programming, I'm not going to hire you unless you can at least understand the basic way my company works. And I'm not alone.”

Although his open letter is quite specific to the situation in America, it’s hard not to be concerned as a recent graduate – and now post graduate student – in our current global economic situation. Mcdonald talks about the necessity to be able to understand simple programming in order to function in a modern day company. Perhaps it’s too much to ask for, and extremely hard to deliver, especially when many universities do not see the need in creating dynamic programmes that create well-rounded graduates.

But Mr. McDonald, I implore you to have more faith in us. Have faith in us like I have faith. While technology is constantly made redundant and updated, our passion will never whither. And it is this passion that will get us through.

To say that you would hire someone with skills in programming over someone with passion could be one of the biggest mistakes you can make. I believe you neglect the fact that it is also the role of the company to support and encourage your employees to grow, learn and develop. I am sure, Mr. McDonald, that being the successful businessman you are, you already understand this. But you must not lose faith in us.

So while I suggest all recent graduates, graduates-to-be, and just anyone looking for a job to read Mr. McDonalds open letter (because I feel it’s important we understand where employers are coming from), I suggest you read it with an open mind, and have faith in yourself.

I may be an optimist, but I’m sure the future is not as bleak as it appears.

Hongi Luo
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

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