8 Signs You’re Wired to Major in Technology
8 Signs You’re Wired to Major in Technology

8 Signs You’re Wired to Major in Technology

Choosing a major isn’t always easy. There are so many choices found throughout higher education that are tied to entire industries and fields you may only know a tiny bit about. So how are you supposed to make a sound decision about your career path before you get a feel for your options?

One simple approach is to try and narrow things down based on your interests and dig in from there. You’ll want to check out potential job outcomes, the type of work you’d be doing after graduation and the long-term outlook of the area you’re focused on. But before you can dive into that, you’ll need to determine if a broad focus area like technology is a good fit for you.

“As a computer engineer, I can share that the best way to make this decision is to analyze your personality,” says Christian Rennella, CTO and cofounder of oMelhorTrato.

You may be enamored with the idea of working in a technology role, but it’s crucial to think about how your interests and personality fit into the equation.

8 Signs pursuing a technology major could be in your future

Whether you’re considering information technology, software development or even mechanical engineering, a “Technology major” can cover a lot of ground. But there are still several overarching traits and characteristics that tend to lend themselves well to this broad field—and we’ve asked tech pros to help identify them.

1.You get bored when things don’t change

It’s not like you need constant stimulation—but you aren’t a big fan of routines that stay the same year after year. In fact, it’s not about stimulation at all, it’s just that you know things can be done better, more efficiently or more thoroughly when their processes are continually questioned and updated.

That has to apply to life, too, right? Why would you want to do the same thing on the same systems every day when there are so many other options?

Rennella explains that a technology major isn’t a great choice for someone who likes working in places that stay the same. “But if you like to live in a context where the only constant is change, then choosing a Technology major is an excellent idea.”

Recent examples like Blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) represent huge areas of potentially rapid change and growth in the industry, according to Rennella. Technology is literally a product (and agent) of change—so you’ll need to embrace change to be successful.

2. You love to learn new things

This one goes hand-in-hand with the near-constant change that comes with working in technology-based fields. If you enjoy learning and don’t mind getting inundated with new information that you’ll need to master every now and then, then you’ll have a great mentality for this industry.

Technology majors don’t finish their education when they graduate from college. Really, that’s only the beginning. Rennella emphasizes that surviving in a Technology major means being a constant learner. “You never stop studying because there are always new things to learn from scratch.”

3. You’re comfortable with collaboration

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you know collaboration and communication are essential skills. You’ve learned that most things are easier when you can communicate well, and that working with people who have different viewpoints and skills can be super valuable. This understanding is critical in technology.

Some people picture technology as an industry for lone wolves who want to put their heads down and work in isolation. But technology doesn’t demand isolation—in fact it’s exactly the opposite for many roles.

“While many bright students excel in this field, some lack communication skills and empathy for coworkers,” says Mat Wszedybyl, cofounder and operations manager at SINUP. “Rarely do technology majors work in isolation.” Wszedybyl explains that even when job applicants have more knowledge or qualifications, they might still lose the job to a less-qualified applicant who knows how to work with people.

4. Failure doesn’t faze you

What some people call failing, you think of as experimentation. You don’t expect yourself to master everything you do right away. In fact, you’ve realized you pretty much have to fail in the process of learning and trying new things.

You have probably noticed how essential this is with technology. The changing, learning nature of this whole field doesn’t give much room for professionals who would rather do nothing than do something wrong.

“I have worked for the big three, Microsoft, Google and Apple, in my career before starting my own company,” says Tamrat Ogubai, CEO of HeavyLifting Studios. “All three are looking for certain traits—two of which are a growth mindset and the ability to fail fast, fail often and fail forward.”

Ogubai explains that these traits add up to people who want to grow, and approach their work with willingness to try and fail and learn from each failure on the way to improvement. These professionals will be able to take risks and make quick decisions because they aren’t bound up by fear.

5. You like seeing the impact of your work

It’s so satisfying when work yields obvious results. Whether that’s washing dishes or adjusting the code for a quick website fix, you love seeing the impact of your time and energy. Not all jobs have that perk, but technology is a great industry for people who want to see results.

“Are you interested in solving problems that will advance procedures or impact human lives in a positive way through technology?” Ogubai asks. Technology impacts society today like few other industries, and the powerful tools these professionals create have the potential to make all sorts of changes. If you love the thought of being one of these creators, then technology would suit you well.

6. You’d like industry versatility

Maybe you are drawn to careers outside technology. Maybe you’re also fascinated by architecture or inspired by the nonprofit sector. Maybe you are torn between a few different options. The great thing about technology is that it can be utilized in tons of different fields.

“Technology is a part of pretty much every industry now,” says Jolene Rheault, marketing manager at The Bid Lab. “It’s possible to major in technology and still work in healthcare, agriculture, finance, etc.” A technology degree can lead you into the heart of the tech world, of course, but it can also bring you to sectors all over the place.

“Technology drives innovation in every field,” says Jeff McGehee, a senior data scientist and IoT practice lead at Very. “Decide if you want to consume the technology or create the technology.”

7. You’re a creative problem-solver

When you are facing a problem, you think up more than one option of approach. You get a rush from solving things, and you can be very persistent when a problem is nettling you. It’s no surprise that this quality is a hot commodity in technology.

“Are you passionate about finding creative solutions to hard problems? If the answer is yes, then you will enjoy a career in technology,” McGehee says. “A lot of students will count out a Technology major because they think they’re ‘not good’ at math, or they don’t know computers, but as long as you are passionate about problem solving, the rest will fall into place.”

And when it comes to solving problems in life or even the world at large, McGehee says that understanding technology will provide you with an incredible set of tools for addressing these issues.

8. You’re passionate about technology

Seems simple, right? At the end of the day, after weighing all your skills and aptitudes, liking technology might be the biggest factor in choosing a Technology major. It might seem silly, but our experts agreed that success in this field often comes down to genuine enjoyment and interest in technology.

“I think the most important, deepest questions a student should ask themselves are: ‘Do I love it? Am I intrigued by it?’” Wszedybyl says. “It is more important to have a drive to learn than to have knowledge of technology already.”

This applies even after graduation, Wszedybyl points out that many employers understand that new graduates won’t have as much knowledge as a senior employee. “They are more interested in someone who can learn on the job and be self-sufficient.”

“Many students hear of how much money they can make in a tech field, but I promise if you don’t have passion for the subject, you will end up unhappy,” Wszedybyl says. “If you do have a passion for technology and see how it can change the world, than you will be glad you chose to pick this field as it has application all over the real world!”

How are you wired?

Does a Technology major sound like a good fit for you? If you can relate to some of these traits, then you might be ready to narrow down your choices even further. For more info on some of the specific technology majors out there, check out our article, “8 Technology Majors All Computer-Savvy Tech Hopefuls Should Consider.”

Source link

Kids and Technology: Age-Appropriate Milestones to Aim for
Kids and Technology: Age-Appropriate Milestones to Aim for

Kids and Technology: Age-Appropriate Milestones to Aim for

You can’t get through school drop-off or a playdate at the park without hearing someone mention screen time. Some parents shift their eyes guiltily as they admit that Sesame Street is the only reason they ever get dinner on the table. Others say they would never give their children an iPad—after all, “Don’t you know that screen time is bad for them?

Kids and technology is an issue that’s left the parenting world divided. Parents and educators have heard that screen time for kids should be limited, but it doesn’t seem practical to avoid all technology in today’s digital world. Yet the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations are still fairly strict, limiting screen time for kids ages two to five to just one hour per day. Ideally, parents or educators would engage in this technology use alongside children, a task that feels out of reach for adults whose time is already stretched thin.

The statistics on children’s technology use show that this is no longer an issue parents can afford to ignore. A 2017 survey from Common Sense Media found that 42 percent of children ages 0 to 8 have their own tablet, a staggering increase from 7 percent in 2013.* On the whole, children eight and under spend an average of more than two hours a day using screen media.*

Screen time for kids is a complex issue that requires more thought than simply using the TV as a babysitter or vowing to avoid screen time entirely. We’re digging into expert advice and statistics to help you make the most informed decisions about technology and kids.

Is screen time for kids really so bad?

Despite all the negative press, technology can be a great tool that helps kids learn and advance developmentally. The problem isn’t necessarily with screens themselves—it’s with using them unintentionally, according to Brian Puerling, technology coordinator and curriculum specialist at Catherine Cook School and author of the Teaching in the Digital Age series. “Too often, teachers and parents will use it as a digital pacifier and a way to pass the time so they can get things done,” Puerling says.

Rather than relying on passive screens to provide entertainment, a better approach is to allow kids to engage with technology to enhance learning experiences. Puerling advocates for technology use in a way that encourages creativity and collaboration in kids, and other educators agree. Nearly 75 percent of teachers say that technology in the classroom motivates children to learn and helps educators respond to a variety of learning styles, according to PBS.

“Not all screen time is created equal,” as KidsHealth points out. They recommend choosing interactive, age-appropriate apps and programs that you can use with children to encourage their learning. But how do you know which apps and other tech tools are best for which ages? We’ve broken it down into the following technology milestones for kids.

Technology milestones for different ages

With a little effort, it is possible to use technology in thoughtful ways that support children’s development. Take a look at these technology milestones to get ideas for positive media use at every age.

Technology milestones for toddlers

Though screen time isn’t recommended for children under 18 months old, the AAP does make one exception: video calls. Video chatting with friends and relatives is recognized as “quality time interacting with others,” according to KidsHealth. Toddlers aren’t ready to use apps on their own, but with help from adults, they can be introduced to the idea of sharing, taking turns and using technology to encourage movement and gross-motor skills.

With these points in mind, here are some tech milestones to aim for with toddlers:

  • Use video conferencing apps to connect toddlers with far-away family and friends.
  • Arrange a “video playdate” between your children and their friends.
  • Introduce the idea of taking turns by showing toddlers that only one finger at a time can control a tablet or smartphone.
  • Join children in a dance party with the help of kid-friendly music apps.
  • Help toddlers use a dance choreography app, like Toca Dance©
    , to coordinate their own dance routine, then follow along in real life.

Technology milestones for preschoolers

Imaginative play and emerging creativity are a key part of preschoolers’ development. Contrary to popular belief, screen time doesn’t have to stifle creativity. In fact, Puerling has found that certain apps can actually enhance this age group’s imaginative play.

“It’s really important to have conversations with kids about what we can use technology for: to create videos, to take photographs, and then put our own creative spin on them,” Puerling says.

These are some ways you can use technology to encourage creativity and collaboration:

  • Use stop-motion video technology (such as the I Can Animate app©) to encourage children to bring a story to life using clay figures or other toys.
  • Bring children together as digital pen pals and hone their teamwork skills by having them write and animate a collaborative story using an app like ChromaKids©.
  • Encourage kids to write and star in their own theatrical productions by filming their onstage adventures, then adding special effects and even a soundtrack to create the final movie.

Technology milestones for grade-schoolers

“There’s a lot of talk about what skills are going to be necessary in the workforce,” Puerling says. Though no one can predict exactly how technology will continue to expand, Puerling believes that creativity, collaboration, problem-solving skills and coding abilities will serve kids well as they grow older—all skills that are being developed in grade-schoolers. This is also a time to encourage children’s emerging literacy.

Elementary school is the perfect time to use technology to enhance these skills using techniques like these:

  • Present kids with programmable robot games like Robot Turtles© and Cubetto©—no screens needed, since kids will learn directional programming through movement.
  • Use drag-and-drop apps, like Daisy the Dinosaur©, to introduce the basics of coding and build literacy skills by introducing high-frequency words.
  • Offer interactive e-books or videos with captions to capture kids’ curiosity and promote early literacy.

Technology milestones for preteens

Preteens are digital natives who may be even more comfortable with technology than the adults and teachers educating them! They might have their own smartphones and be on the cusp of using social media, but that doesn’t mean you can stop using technology in an educational way. “It is not just for games. It’s not just for taking up time,” Puerling says.

These tips will help you engage preteens with technology while keeping sight of expanding their learning:

  • Ignite children’s love of learning by encouraging them to research their natural interests and hobbies using resources like videos, websites and e-books.
  • Continue supporting children’s creativity with programs that allow them to make their own music or draw their own comic books.
  • Increase children’s geographical awareness and spatial reasoning skills with help from online interactive maps.

Kids and technology: an educational combination

There aren’t many clear right or wrong answers when it comes to kids and technology usage. But by following these tips and being intentional with screen time for kids, you’ll be preparing them to become lifelong learners who use technology as a tool to expand their learning and sharpen their skills.

Speaking of sharpened skills—there’s plenty of opportunity for kids to get a head start on their peers by mastering coding fundamentals at a young age. Learn more about the benefits of leveraging screen time to learn coding skills in our article, “Coding for Kids: The Benefits of Starting a Computer Science Education Young.”

*Common Sense Media, The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Kids Age Zero to Eight, [information accessed August 21, 2018] https://www.commonsensemedia.org/sites/default/files/uploads/research/csm_zerotoeight_fullreport_release_2.pdf
Toca Boca©, Copyright 2018 Toca Boca
I Can Animate©, Copyright 2011-2015 Kudlian Software Ltd.
ChromaKids©, Copyright 2015 Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College.
RobotTurtles©, Copyright 20013-2014 Robot Turtles LLC 
Cubetto©, Copyright 2018 Primo Toys
Daisy the Dinosaur©, Copyright 2016 Hopscotch Inc.

Source link

How to Become a Software Developer: Experts Expose Their Best Advice
How to Become a Software Developer: Experts Expose Their Best Advice

How to Become a Software Developer: Experts Expose Their Best Advice

You’ve had your eyes peeled for a new career path that makes good use of your skills, presents a fun challenge and offers opportunities to take your career to new heights. After all that research, one job title stands out from the rest: software developer.

This in-demand tech career is well worth considering. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 31 percent employment growth for software developers from 2016 to 2026—that’s more than three times the national average!1 This is one career path where you can put your natural tech talents to work for employers who are seeking the best software developers to keep up with industry growth.

Now that you’ve got your eyes set on an exciting career option, you just need to know how to become a software developer, so you can start turning your dream career into a reality.

How to become a software developer

Choosing to become a software developer is the first step toward your new career, but you need to know what to do next. We’ve spoken to industry experts and rounded up the latest data so you’ll know exactly how to start your journey toward landing a job in software development.

Have a passion for coding

“Aspiring developers need to love learning and have a passion for coding,” says Mark Runyon, senior consultant for Innovative Architects. Software developing requires you to spend much of your day working with code or thinking about creative ways to solve problems with code. You’ll enjoy your work more and stand out from others in the field if you have a passion for coding that drives you to excel.

“Technology is constantly evolving,” Runyon adds. “You have to want to explore the new technologies and discover new ways of doing things to be successful as a software engineer.” In the fast-paced tech industry, a true love of coding will give you motivation to keep your skills up to date.

Brush up on your tech skills

Speaking of skills, software developers need to enter the workforce with a solid set of tools at their disposal if they want to stand out to employers. “Pick a stack (a set of technologies and tools used to create and run software) and get really good at it,” advises Scott McGillivray, chief technology officer for Pop-Art.

The exact coding skills and languages you’ll need will vary depending on the workplace, but it helps to know what languages are most commonly sought after from employers. We used real-time job analysis software to identify the top five technical skills employers are looking for in their software developers:2

  • Java™
  • SQL
  • JavaScript™
  • C#
  • Python

Be a star communicator

Technical skills are essential to a career as a software developer, but soft skills that allow you to work on a team and creatively solve problems can be just as important. “I’m far more interested in the ‘unteachable’ qualities, like initiative, curiosity, collaboration, communication style and cultural match,” McGillivray says.

Austin Norby, software developer with Blue Star Software, says communication is a key trait for software developers.

“Developers need to be able to communicate their understanding of their ideas, translate them into code and engage in a continuous feedback loop until the product is completed,” Norby says.

Curious about what other soft skills you’ll need? Our analysis shows these as the most in-demand soft skills for software developers:2

  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Problem solving
  • Troubleshooting
  • Research

Gain experience

Taking initiative to create relevant work samples and gain experience can be the difference between landing your dream job and heading back to the drawing board.

“As a guy who’s seen a lot of resumes, I can say that the ones that get my attention have links to actual, running samples of the developer’s work,” McGillivray says.

Just because you haven’t been hired yet doesn’t mean you can’t build up a portfolio of your best coding work. Runyon suggests turning coding into an after-hours hobby that’s both fun and expands your skills. “I usually have a few side projects that I work on for fun. It can be a new technology that I want to try out or putting together a cool piece of software to solve a personal need.” In addition to improving your coding prowess, this practice can also show employers you have the committed, passionate mindset they’re looking for. Developers looking to gain additional experience should look into getting involved with open-source projects—they’re an excellent way to contribute to something tangible and learn along the way.

Earn a Bachelor’s degree

Some software developers are able to land a job without a four-year degree, but our research has shown us that’s no longer the norm. A Burning-Glass.com analysis of software development job postings found that 91 percent of employers prefer their software development candidates to have a Bachelor’s degree.2 The BLS agrees, saying that most software developers typically have a four-year degree in Computer Science or a related field.1

While a degree isn’t everything in a field where you can show what you know relatively easily, employers still use it as a litmus test to weed out underqualified candidates. Your best bet at becoming a software developer is to combine real-world technical skills with a Bachelor’s degree to show employers you have the passion, commitment and technical know-how to get the job done.

Go land your dream job

There’s no doubt about it: software development is the place where your passions and talents combine to make a career you can get excited about. Now that you know how to become a software developer, it’s up to you to take the first step toward this in-demand career.

The data doesn’t lie. If you want to be eligible for 90 percent of software developer job openings, you’re going to need a Bachelor’s degree. Learn more about how a degree in Computer Science can qualify you for these coveted positions.

1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [career information accessed August 17, 2018] www.bls.gov/ooh/. Information represent national, averaged data for the occupations listed and include workers at all levels of education and experience – employment conditions in your area may vary.
2Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 402,213 software developer job postings by education, July 01, 2017 – June 30, 2018).

Source link