If all goes according to plan, I should be graduating in May 2010. When I went into my Business Administration program with an Information Systems major back in 2006, I didn’t think I’d be leaving it in the midst of an economic crisis. On top of that, I have been learning more and more about what kinds of work I find truly engaging and interesting, and I’m still figuring a lot out on that subject.
They say that during an economic downturn, the best investment you can make is in yourself: increase your own skill set and marketability to become more competitive. I know that my academic program is definitely helping in that regard, but I know that I will have a lot of learning left to do if I want to end up following my real passions. This means much more in-depth skills than are learned in IS programs – basically, trying to catch up with the Computer Science majors.
At this point, if I go for some kind of tech job, I could see myself freelancing, consulting, or
torturing myselftrying my hand at a startup or other entrepreneurial venture. At the moment, I don’t see myself as a software engineer, systems analyst, or project manager for a large or even medium-sized firm.
And then there’s the question of the Peace Corps: I am seriously considering two years of volunteering in the Peace Corps after graduation. I’d be doing some kind of IT-related work in a third-world country, though the work probably won’t directly match up with my own career aspirations. Would two years away from the bad economy be a good thing? Or would I be losing my experience/knowledge/fresh job history? Would it be a resume booster? All of these questions are rather self-centered ones for something that really is about serving others, but they still are things I will have to consider for such a large commitment.
So basically, the question of how to best grow my skill set and enter the tech industry under unfavorable economic conditions has been very big on my mind as of late. I don’t have any definitive answers, but have stumbled upon a few helpful clues that might turn into more complete strategies later on.