If You Love Computer Science, Then Go For It

Susan Hall

The "Ask Annie" feature at Fortune includes some interesting advice. A college student writes about wanting to major in computer science, but having friends lobbying for business or finance instead, saying the IT job market stinks.


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Give writer Anne Fisher credit for encouraging this student to follow his or her passion. My colleague Don Tennant quoted Catherine Jewell, author of the book, "New Resume, New Career," saying:

I think it's a big mistake to discourage children from any career path. I think that we know at a very deep level what we're meant to do. I coach people in their fifties now who are going back to the career dreams that they had as a teenager, and they got waylaid by advice.

Based on the advice of Scot Melland, CEO of Dice Holdings, he also wrote about 10 reasons IT is still a good career choice.


Fisher quotes the prediction of the Bureau of Labor Statistics that demand for IT workers will rise 32 percent by 2018, with employers looking to hire more than 295,000 software engineers. While there is some concern that offshoring depresses hiring of entry-level workers and hurts salaries, there are plenty of employers crying out for talent. And with the right skills-mobile app development is really hot right now-IT pros can still write their own ticket.


At the same time, I'd encourage this young person to take as many business classes as possible. Doing so can only increase the options. We've reported on the increasing importance of IT/business hybrids-IT pros as comfortable with business as with technology.


Meanwhile, Fisher quotes IBM systems engineering guru Bruce Douglass, saying:

It's an incredibly diverse field, from IT systems for finance, to new car technology, to avionics. Software is the invisible thread running through everything, and the demand is only going to increase. ...

He offers two bits of advice:

... try to get as much experience as you can with real, hands-on projects. Focus on getting internships that will expose you to the practical side of engineering.


... decide which industry - automotive, medical, telecom - interests you, and study that field. Learn the trends and the terminology, so that when you go into interviews, you can show employers you have some understanding of the business.
It's an exciting time. The pace of change is accelerating every day. By the time you graduate in 2014, the whole landscape will be new.

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