Joshua B. Gross recently wrote an excellent and thought-provoking article for the Chronicle of Higher Education. In it he refers to information technology job placements as the “accidental career for Ph.Ds.” He makes a compelling argument, grounded in personal experience, and we recommend that everyone read it, especially if you are worried about a perceived disconnect between your educational background and a possible future IT jobs in California or anywhere in the US.
The story is interesting, inspirational, and it might just motivate you to pursue information technology certifications or online business analyst training, regardless of whether you have any prior knowledge of computer science or related fields.
What Gross attempts to convince readers is that a seemingly unrelated educational focus does not need to be a detriment to one’s attempt to find information technology job placements. What’s more, it may even be an asset, especially if you have an advanced degree, such as a Ph.D. in English literature, philosophy, or any other field that seems more likely to lead a person to a career in academia.
The impressive thing about Gross’s argument is that it potentially solves two problems at once: the relative scarcity of tenure-track professorial positions for Ph.Ds. and the escalating demand for competent employees to fill IT job placements, especially in information technology hubs like the Bay Area.
According to Gross, who fell into information technology placements after receiving a Bachelor’s in English literature and now teaches computer science at a private liberal arts college, “We need to… encourage Ph.Ds. – especially those in the humanities and social sciences – to pursue technology-related careers. This is as much because tech fields need the sorts of intelligent people who finish Ph.D. programs as it is because those people are more capable than they realize of finding information technology placements that suit their skills.
Gross goes on to give three relevant examples, providing a business analyst job description as well as referencing the non-IT-related skills that could make humanities Ph.Ds. great candidates for technical communication and user-experience design jobs. Each of these three categories requires organizational and language skills, plus creativity. And all of these tend to be demonstrated by any advanced degree, but especially one in the humanities and social sciences.
And as Gross rightly points out, such skills are eminently adaptable to information technology placements in this day and age, largely because of the availability of online information technology training and software training courses. Furthermore, specific types of courses, such as certified scrum master training and business analyst training can help to enhance the collaborative skills and other common features of Ph.D. holders that Gross says makes them suitable for certain information technology placements.
If you’ve read Gross’s argument and you think it applies to you or that it might someday, we hope it will encourage you to look into an online IT training consultancy and to begin investing in the supplementary skills that could dramatically expand your career possibilities and allow you to place one foot firmly in the risky world of academia, and one in the ever-expanding field of USA information technology placements.