What does it take?: Part 1
© Douglas E. Welch 1997
Every profession offers its own unique challenges and rewards.
It is important for anyone considering a computer career to be
well aware of the skills required to be a success. This includes
not only technical skills but also the people skills that allow
us to use our technical skills effectively.
More than programmers...
When most non-technical people think of computer professionals,
they think of programmers huddled over their computers, cranking
out miles and miles of code for the next great word processor
or game. In reality though, there are more people working in other
computer areas than ever work as programmers. These other computer
workers are the people who keep companies running by providing
support, network and microcomputer management, training and a
host of other computer-related services that have nothing to do
Unfortunately, the continued focus on programming by colleges
has led many people to discard any idea of a computer career,
mainly because they do not like programming. I, myself, dropped
my computer science minor because I am one of these people. It
wasn't until I found my niche in computer support, network management
and Internet consulting that I developed my, very lucrative and
satisfying, computer career.
Where should you work?
One of the major benefits of a computer career is that you can
pursue it at nearly any company, not just computer companies.
Every business has some need for computers and most are highly
dependent on them. If you are not planning on working for a company
dedicated to the computer industry it is important to find a company
that produces a product that you interests you.
If you have an interest in finance or the stock market, it might
be worthwhile to look for positions with stock brokers or mutual
fund companies. If you are interested in flying, an aerospace
or aviation company might suit you. It is very important to acknowledge
the other interests in your life and find some way to integrate
them into your career.
This month's focus
This month I am going to be discussing the various computer careers
that are available and what skills are required to become a success
in each. This discussion will include the technical skills required.
It will also touch on the "softer" issues of teamwork, creative
problem-solving and deciding which career might be best for you.
Not everyone is cut out for every career, so if you are contemplating
a computer career, stay tuned. My next three columns might help
you make the right decision.
Douglas E. Welch is a freelance writer and computer consultant
in Van Nuys, California. While he cannot answer every letter directly,
he welcomes questions and suggestions. Douglas can reached via
email at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://home.earthlink.net/~dewelch/