Sound Advice for College Students from an IT Professional

April 23, 2006
Many times in the past, I have come across news articles which dwell on the lack of interest shown by students in the west for a career in Information Technology. Among the many reasons sited, one thing that stands out is the inherent fear on the number of IT jobs going to third world countries like India and China. And there is a good amount of FUD spread in news forums like where one come across people who post comments ridiculing and lambasting Indians for grabbing others jobs. True IT has provided employment to a good number of Indians and there are a lot of software companies coming up in major metropolitan cities in India. But this picture being painted of lack of IT jobs in the west attributed to Indians is far from the truth.

Joel Spolsky has written an informative article where he explains why a career in Information Technology is something to look out for by budding students who are passionate about programming. He goes on to list a few things which might go a long way in snagging a good career in IT after graduation. Them being :
  • Learn how to write before graduating.
  • Learn C before graduating.
  • Learn microeconomics before graduating.
  • Don't blow off non-CS classes just because they're boring.
  • Take programming-intensive courses.
  • Stop worrying about all the jobs going to India.
  • No matter what you do, get a good summer internship.
Sound advice from an established software professional I would say!


  • PenguinPirate7

    You've really hit the nail on the head for me.

    I'm coming up on senior year at my university next year, and I am majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering. The only reason I didn't major in CS is what I hear from IT people out here (in CA); Indians have "stolen" alot of their jobs. So, I'll suffer through my EE classes in a major I really couldn't care less about, just so I can go on to something besides IT or programming (my true passion). It's too late to change majors now, but maybe I'll try to pursue an IT job anyway.

  • Another good thing to do is to make sure you have a diverse skillset. I have strengths in networking, light programming, system administration, and desktop support. I also write fairly well and can shelve my own personal biases and preferences when considering solutions for the organizations I work for. Having this broad skillset has (so far) ensured that I am not lacking for employment, and have had to choose among several compelling offers at the same time.

    I can't remember who said it originally, but there is a lengthy quote naming a number of things a person should be able to do. It ends with "Specialization is for insects." I think avoiding specialization is a good way to increase your value to an organization and thereby ensure that your job won't be sent overseas. The downside is that this makes it difficult to really pursue the one area you love and to really shine there, but it's better than job hunting.