Before 2020, the demand for IT and technology jobs was already high, as companies looked to get ahead in a progressively digital age. But since? That demand has only increased, with every company needing to become a tech company over the last three years. The result is more IT and technology jobs than ever — and a need for well-rounded people who can think through complex problems and communicate with others in the industry. Recent graduates Joshua Forbes ’23 and Zachary Hsu ’23 are two of the latest college graduates to enter the IT and technology field, using their liberal arts education at Christendom to secure positions in one of the world’s most popular industries.
Forbes and Hsu, who majored in theology and philosophy respectively, are both now working at Sole Solutions, Inc. (SSI), an information technology and services company. They discovered the company thanks to several fellow alumni who work at the company, which was founded by theology major Greg Bodoh (’94).
Bodoh was one of many employers who visited Christendom over the past academic year, eager to meet with and hire new graduates for his company. During his visit to campus, Hsu had the opportunity to meet with him, immediately discerning an interest in the company. A few weeks later, Hsu interviewed with Bodoh and was offered a position on the spot, giving him his first full-time role immediately following graduation.
“Computer software is something I’ve always been interested in, but have never really pursued until now, so having this opportunity is exciting,” says Hsu. “However, I am even more excited about working for SSI in particular. The company holds its employees to a very high standard, a challenge I am very excited to meet. Christendom has allowed me to develop excellent critical thinking, problem solving, and interpersonal skills. These strengths were formed largely through the education, but also through the experience I have had through the Christendom community itself. I believe these skills will allow me to quickly adapt to this new position in a field in which I have no experience. I will be challenged to learn much about the software at SSI and I am confident that my Christendom education has formed my mind such that I will thrive in this task.”
Hsu will be working as a Systems Analyst at SSI, serving on the support team and working with customers who are experiencing issues with software. At the same time, he will be learning about the different aspects and functions of the software until he has gained enough knowledge to move on to different roles in the company.
Forbes, on the other hand, will be working in the product testing division, where he will be making sure that different strands of code are correctly doing what they were programmed to do and figuring out why they failed if they did. Like Hsu, Forbes does not have a background in IT but always had an interest, thanks to his dad being a part of the field. Also, like Hsu, he believes that his Christendom education provided him with the critical thinking skills necessary to find success in the field, despite not having a formal background in it.
“Christendom has given me a top-notch education, one that has taught me how to think outside the box and research in order to find the best solution to a problem,” says Forbes. “Even though I have no formal training in IT or tech, there is not a doubt in my mind that Christendom has prepared me for success in this field, because often times the best solution to a problem is one that requires creative thinking.”
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. For Forbes, he sees this first career move as the ideal way to begin making an impact in the world.
“I knew coming into Christendom that I wanted to make an impact in the world, but I had no idea how that would play out,” says Forbes. “Studying Theology in order to better understand God and his creation has strengthened my faith as a Catholic, and I am excited to go into my community and begin to make an impact there. St. Thérèse of Lisieux practiced the little way and became a doctor of the Church by doing small things with great love — every Catholic ought to strive for sainthood, but you don’t need to convert a nation or die a martyr to do so, you can also live in your community and follow the little way. I am very excited to be going into this field and am more than happy to use my talents for God and act as an instrument of his will.”
Forbes and Hsu are joining an ever-growing field that has become essential to every company on the planet. What sets them apart from their peers, however, are the soft skills they are bringing with them thanks to their liberal arts education. Their leadership, critical thinking, and communication skills will enable them to truly innovate in the workplace, giving them the ability to impact customers — and their industry — for the better.