IT and technology jobs are increasingly in high demand, with industry leaders looking for people who are well-rounded, able to think through complex problems, and can communicate with others in the industry. Article after article in Forbes, Fastcompany, Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere point to the fact that those with liberal arts degrees are perfect for this kind of work. Recent graduates Mary Storey and Rachel Gerring have discovered this to be true in their lives, with both now working at Sole Solutions, Inc., an information technology and services company.
Storey and Gerring, who majored in philosophy and English language and literature respectively, both discovered Sole Solutions (SSI) thanks to the number of fellow alumni who work at the company, which was founded by theology major Greg Bodoh (’94).
“One of the first things I learned at SSI was that efficient communication is essential when trying to resolve an issue,” says Storey. “Fortunately, I have found that my studies in philosophy taught me to ask the right questions and give clear answers in return. This has certainly been to my advantage as a System Analyst. I am also grateful for my time working in Christendom’s marketing office as a student because it opened the door to a job in IT. I was able to gain technical experience as well as polish written and verbal communication skills, making it easier to adjust to my new responsibilities at SSI.”
Storey and Gerring are both System Analysts at SSI, with Storey on the support team and Gerring on the project and delivery management team. SSI helps a number of government and commercial clients, giving Storey and Gerring the experience of working with high-level clients early in their careers as well, as they travel to D.C. and Rockville every week to meet with these clients.
While students who major in technology fields are usually good in technology jobs, liberal arts majors often have an edge in the soft skills, such as communication and leadership, that can help them excel beyond their peers. Silicon Valley has come around to this way of thinking over the past few years, with Microsoft and the former CEO of Twitter both praising the liberal arts as essential in developing tomorrow’s leaders.
Gerring is enjoying her new job so far, and believes it will unlock new possibilities in her career.
“Though many careers interested me, I knew that I wanted a job that would be challenging, and that would allow me to continue cultivating the habits I formed at Christendom,” says Gerring. “Each week, as I attend meetings with clients and assist system users on site, I continue to learn that there is a great deal more needed for this job than simply knowing how the system works. In order to excel in this role, one must also possess a keen sense of perception, attention to detail, and the ability to think outside of the box. As a Christendom graduate, these are skills that I am familiar with. Using them on a daily basis as a system analyst will allow me to thrive in the professional world.”
Storey and Gerring are the latest in their generation to join the IT workforce after graduation, but they have a unique skillset that should set them apart: a liberal arts background, equipped with the leadership, critical thinking, and communication skills to truly innovate in the workplace and provide solutions to tomorrow’s complex problems, today.
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