December 10, 2012, 12:00 PM — Dave Bellai of Reed Technology & Information Services Ask a Premier 100 IT Leader Dave Bellai Title: CIO and vice president of commercial solutionsCompany: Reed Technology & Information Services
Ballai is this month's Premier 100 IT Leader, answering questions about what directions a new graduate and a veteran of software development should take their careers. If you have a question you'd like to pose to one of our Premier 100 IT Leaders, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I recently earned a bachelor's degree in computer science. What technology area looks most promising for the future? First, congratulations on investing the time to earn that degree, it is such an important and relevant credential in building your career.
Among the many white-hot areas, the one I find most promising is the tremendous push into analytics-driven decision-making generated by the ever-growing availability of big data. Today, we all work in content-rich environments where information sets of almost endless combinations are being developed to deliver strategic value. This suggests a strong need for data scientists, developers, analysts and related technologists who can help organizations build and work with analytics-driven tools.
Of the many other options, one involves a persistently evolving and mission-critical challenge for government and commercial entities: the delivery of high levels of system and data security. We've all seen bad behavior in system intrusion and the effect of that activity, and the problem is unfortunately only growing. This suggests that information and system security professionals will continue to be in demand for many years to come.
I am focused on becoming a business/technology leader, and I think a master's degree will help with my goal. Would an MBA or an MIS be of more help? Great question. As for the answer, of course it depends. If your passions are technology first and leading people second, then I'd recommend the MIS degree. However, if your longer-term goal is to become a senior leader with a broader responsibility for people and the business, then an MBA is more relevant. In this regard, it is critical that you develop a deep understanding of the mechanics of business and managing and motivating teams in conjunction with pacing your learning in the technology arena.