5 ways to encourage others to join the IT profession

As IT professionals, we should be ambassadors for our profession and encourage others to consider IT as their chosen profession

I recently had a wonderful conversation with Jen Mozen, a Delivery Principal with Table XI, a Chicago-based web and mobile software development and design firm. As a technical professional, Jen has done it all. She has worked in companies large and small, has a deep understanding of how software can be used to help companies meet their business goals, has managed software development efforts, and while not a professional software developer herself, she has learned to program as a way of better understanding the technology development and implementation she oversees.

Our discussion centered on the concept that as IT professionals, we should be ambassadors for our profession and encourage others to consider IT as their chosen profession. To this end, Jen has volunteered her time to an organization named Girl Develop It (www.GirlDevelopIt.com). The mission of this great organization, as quoted from their website is:

    “Our vision is to create a network of empowered women who feel confident in their abilities to code and build beautiful web and mobile applications. By teaching women around the world from diverse backgrounds to learn software development, we can help women improve their careers and confidence in their everyday lives.”

In addition to her work with Girl Develop It, Jen has spoken with adults and children alike, explaining that writing software can be creative, fun, and can be used to build computer games, websites, and apps for your smartphone. “Too many people get hung up on the ‘science’ part of computer science and convince themselves they’re not qualified because they didn’t ace calculus and physics. Coding is about making – it requires creativity and general problem solving skills.” Do you like to tinker or enjoy brain teasers? Jen thinks you should try coding.

When I asked Jen if she had any suggestions to help people understand programming and the IT profession in general, she suggested the following:

1. When working with non-technical people, be willing to explain not only what you have done, but also how you did it. This will help to demystify what programming is and how it’s done. At Table XI, Jen is constantly asking the developers she works with about the software they’re building and helping clients better understand the process as well. 2. Suggest to non-techies that they should ask you questions. If they would like to know how things work, answer their questions at a technical level they will understand. 3. Get involved in local youth programs related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). These programs encourage America’s youth to pursue technical careers. 4. Invite non-techies who are interested in IT to join you at a technical association meeting or local meet-up group related to the technology that interests them. 5. Direct interested friends and colleagues to appropriate free (or low cost) training resources on the web. YouTube and other sites offer instructional videos and resources to help them get started.

Jen Mozen and Table XI can be found at www.TableXI.com.

If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at eric@ManagerMechanics.com or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom.

Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to grow.

Read more of Eric Bloom's Your IT Career blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Eric on Twitter at @EricPBloom. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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