Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Capella University.
In the previous post, we broached the topic of soft skills and pre-employment assessment, both of which are invaluable for a rewarding career in information technology. The IT landscape is under constant metamorphosis, thanks to the near-perpetual emergence of new technologies and innovations. Although an exhilarating experience like none other, working in this ever-evolving atmosphere often warrants certain skills and requirements that not only assist you in your daily responsibilities, but actually help carve out a successful career that can endure the multitudinous changes continually disrupting the IT industry.
And what better way to elucidate the perks and challenges of working in information technology than have two individuals with tons of experience do it? So, we got hold of two dynamic IT professionals Narendranth Vijayakumar and Soham Chakraborty from different parts of India, and asked them a bunch a questions about what it’s like to be part of such a flourishing industry:
Please tell us a bit about your background:
Naren: I’m Naren, 24 years old, born and brought up in a small town called Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu, India. I’m currently working in the city of Hyderabad as a Software Engineer for Microsoft.
Soham: I’m from the steel city of Durgapur in West Bengal. I have been in the IT industry for approximately 6.5 years and, am currently working for Ericsson’s India division.
Tell us something about your educational background:
Naren: I realized my passion for technology and computer science in specific during the last couple of years in school. So, I majored in Computer Science during my Bachelor’s at Amrita University, Coimbatore. In college, I had courses like Object Oriented Design, Data Structures, Algorithms, Database Management Systems, Software Engineering, Business Intelligence, Software Project Management etc. that helped me land my current job and also make my day to day work life a lot easier.
Soham: I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology several years ago.
Talk about your professional background:
Naren: I was hired by Microsoft fresh out of college. I have been with Microsoft for 2 years now. I’m a Software Engineer working for the company’s IT division. I design/build/deploy applications that are critical for the functioning of the company’s operations. I also completed a 4-month internship at Siemens when I was in college.
Soham: I initially joined Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and worked there for 2 years. Mostly, I worked as a database developer in these two years. For the last 4 and half years, I have been working for Ericsson. In the initial period I focused on database and Unix. Thereafter I got shifted to the advanced analytics and business intelligence domain. I have done multiple offshore and onsite projects for my current employer.
What are some of the day-to-day responsibilities of your job:
Naren: The marketing team is our primary customer. My team designs, builds and delivers software that helps specific activities in marketing. My day-to-day responsibilities include all aspects of software engineering like analyzing requirements, designing a solution, programming, testing, deployment etc.
Soham: I am currently doing a business intelligence and analytics project for predicting the demands of human resources in my company. Day to day responsibilities include development using BI tools like Pentaho and report generation using advanced analytics tools like R and visualization tools like Tableau.
What do you like about working in the IT industry:
Naren: As someone passionate about technology, I like that my job requires me to learn a lot of cool new technologies. Another good thing about IT are the opportunities; different types of roles are available to make it easy for a person to switch to a new company or try out a new role. So, there will always be something new and exciting to look forward to.
Soham: My job allows me to indulge my passion for computers, but that’s not all. I get to witness the development of different game-changing technologies that will forever alter our lives for the better. I am lucky to be part of this magnificent era of innovation and ingenuity, especially when it comes to the digital sphere.
What do you think are essential skills for a job in the IT industry:
Naren: The most important skill is the ability to learn, unlearn and relearn. Technology reinvents itself at a much faster pace than before. A person in the IT industry should be open to learn new things, unlearn them and relearn new stuff when the old becomes obsolete. Soft skills. No matter what a role is, a job in the IT industry will involve working in teams and interacting with a lot of people. Programming skills are very important, especially for developer/tester role.
Soham: Technical knowledge, analytical aptitude, adapting to new skills and technologies and a bit of coding are essential requirements.
How important are soft skills in the IT profession:
Naren: Soft skills are of utmost importance for a successful career. While it is possible to get a job with just technical skills, soft skills are necessary to do the job well and progress in your career. Work ethic, attitude, communication skills, emotional intelligence etc. are some of the many soft skills that are required to maintain a positive and happy work environment.
Soham: Flexibility and ability to grasp new things quickly are very important, as is the capacity to engage in fruitful teamwork.
What is the single biggest challenge facing your field right now? What do you think the future of the IT industry looks like:
Naren: IT spending is something that is scrutinized a lot in every company. The challenge that every company is facing now is how to effectively leverage cloud computing, process automation and available human resources to effectively optimize budget and maintain a positive and healthy work atmosphere. As the industry moves towards cloud technologies, it will also be a challenge for IT engineers to learn about cloud and design highly scalable and robust cloud solutions.
Soham: There are multiple disruptive technologies that will penetrate the market in the coming years. As a result, there will multiple areas where automation will replace humans. Consequently, job profiles and type of work will change in the near future.
- Graphic source: “12 Skills You Didn’t Know You Needed in IT,” Capella University, 2016.
As Naren and Soham clearly explicate, the key to a rewarding career in information technology lies not in the core skills such as mathematical knowledge and technical expertise, both of which are fairly common among aspirants. Given the ever-changing nature of the industry, therefore, individuals should possess soft skills that, although more difficult to inculcate, are in reality more sought-after by employers. To keep abreast of the latest developments of the industry, however, it is equally important to arm oneself with the best education available. Below, we have listed some additional ways you can navigate the ever-evolving realm of IT successfully:
The Advantages of ‘Tailored’ Education
The astounding growth of the IT world in recent decades has made it necessary for professionals to constantly educate themselves as a way of staying up-to-date. Given the intensely competitive nature of current job markets, it is far too easy to fall behind in your career. One way of picking yourself up from the trenches is acquiring a degree in the relevant field. Educational institutions, like Capella University, offer on-line programs that not only help students acquire in-depth knowledge about a particular subject, but also integrate ongoing trends, current software and changes in the professional environment.
Competency-Based Education for Professionals
Capella in particular offers programs that are designed around “competency-based education”. According to the university, competency-based courses are developed specifically for professionals, who have already made strides in their vocation and are looking to further advance their expertise and career. The curriculum of such a program incorporates targeted learning that can help meet the rigors of the professional world as well as carefully-developed real-world assignments. An integral part of competency-based education are valid certifications that gauge the test taker’s abilities and proficiency in his/her field. Capella University offers something called the Prior-Learning Assessment (PLA) program, which evaluates the person’s existing knowledge regarding the subject, including what he/she may have learnt during college or previous training and translates that into college credit.
See graduation rates, median student debt and other information at http://capellaresults.org/outcomes.asp This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Capella University.