Are you doubting your decision to pursue an education in computing or having doubts about pursuing one? Read on for advice from a senior at our School of Computer Science!
Have you heard about the recent layoffs at major tech companies like Google, Twitter, and Meta? As a soon-to-graduate Information Technology (IT) student, this news sends shivers down my spine.
Like many of my classmates, I have dreamt of joining these tech companies after graduation, where I would enjoy their competitive salaries, extensive employee benefits, and well-stocked, free-flowing pantries! Alas, that dream is now dashed.
But fret not, for there’s still a future for us in the field of Computer Science (CS). As a student who has devoted my entire tertiary education to studying IT, I’d like to share some top tips with you to not only survive but thrive with a CS education. And who knows? These tips might even inspire those of you considering a similar education to take the leap!
Developing technical skills like programming, database management, and data analytics may be important in CS (even essential), but what's doubly important is developing soft skills like communication, collaboration, and leadership!
And you know what? College or university is the perfect place to sharpen those soft skills! Group assignments are great opportunities to practise communication and collaboration as you'll have to work alongside different personalities and perhaps even take the wheel if things ever veer off track. But the opportunities don't end in the classroom! Clubs and societies provide platforms for learning too. Not only can you interact with others who share similar interests, but you can also take up leadership roles and responsibilities within the organisation as a member of the committee.
As the saying goes, 'No man is an island.' Communication and collaboration with others are essential in the working world. For instance, as a front-end developer, it's crucial that you and the backend developers are coordinated and directed towards a shared objective when developing software. Thoughts and ideas need to be clearly articulated to facilitate a seamless working relationship. And sometimes, you might even need to work with the finance department to discuss the estimated budget for the software you're developing!
Expanding your knowledge and skills beyond your major can be vastly advantageous. Apart from my major in IT, I'm broadening my horizons by exploring graphic design through my minor in Advertising and Brand Management.
By studying graphic design, you can acquire useful skills that can be employed to create visually appealing user interfaces for websites and mobile applications. Additionally, you can gain a deeper understanding of design development, enabling you to communicate and collaborate effectively with designers, ensuring that the final product meets the user's needs.
Moreover, having knowledge of graphic design can open up new career opportunities in fields such as user experience (UX) or user interface (UI) design, as well as product design. It can also give you a competitive edge in a competitive job market by making you a more well-rounded candidate with a diverse range of skills.
Attending tech events, such as conferences, workshops, and hackathons, can be an excellent way to stay up-to-date with industry trends and expand your professional network. You never know whom you might meet at these events — it could be someone who offers valuable career advice or even a coveted career opportunity! Besides, participating in these events can enhance your resume, showcasing your commitment to continuous learning and dedication to professional development, setting you apart from the competition.
P.S., If you're nervous about attending these events alone, know that you're not alone in that feeling — I can certainly relate. But don't let that hold you back! Taking the first step may be challenging, but attending these events can be immensely rewarding.
As the advancement of technology continues, so will the demand for CS professionals. While tech layoffs may occur now and then, they should be regarded as a learning curve; and our success depends on our ability to stay ahead of it — adapting to new technologies and adopting new knowledge and skills. It's up to us to crack the code to success!
And to those considering an education in CS, I encourage you to take the leap! This field presents many prospects with its specialisations in data science, cybersecurity, game design, and more — all of which are highly valued in various industries such as finance, healthcare, and gaming. Plus, with the help of these top tips, you'll be well-equipped to succeed in the ever-evolving world of technology!
Michelle Ling Xin Hui is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Information Technology (Honours) at Taylor’s University. She is also the leader of Taylor's team of EY Malaysia's Campus Champs!
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