Both Forbes and USA Today can agree that computer and business courses are important for any college graduate, regardless of their majors. Chicagoan Ben Steinbuhler, Product Manager at Orbit Media Studios, managed to make a career out of utilizing classes in both industries.
Steinbuhler has a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s degree in computer information systems. But for students who graduated before the Internet and web programming was the big job industry it is now, finding a career may require a bit more fine-tuning.
“I was in the computer science curriculum in undergraduate,” said Steinbuhler. “It was just before the Internet became a big thing. So, when I got out of school I found out that most of the jobs that they were hiring for were Internet-based. I was lagging in skills. I understood the theories, but I didn’t have the technical skills. Half-way through grad school I realized I was better off on the business side of things doing project management as opposed to [web] programming.”
Steinbuhler combined his soft skills, business law and management studies, and his formal technology background to make himself a liaison in the IT industry.
“I [have] the ability to speak to clients in such a way that they’d understand but then be able to turn around and talk to a programmer and tell them what I need them to do,” Steinbuhler said. “Speaking both languages was something that I was good at.”
While he’s not opposed to trial-and-error web programming, Steinbuhler supports traditional education for learning to use more advanced technological tasks, such as database architecture and software design patterns.
“You can teach yourself a lot to develop a website, but that doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily doing it right,” he said. “To get to that level, I think you need some sort of educational foundation.”
For continuing education students and new graduates who still haven’t narrowed down what they want to do in the business or IT field, Steinbuhler recommends keeping up with the trends.
“On the Internet, there’s new things coming out everyday that will change what a website can do and places you can build things. I follow SitePoint just by reading a daily e-mail. Take on personal projects or volunteer your time to develop those skills. Chances are you’re not going to meet the job requirements for every job. Develop on your own.”
Shamontiel L. Vaughn is a professional journalist who has work featured in AXS, Yahoo!, Chicago Defender and Chicago Tribune. She’s been an Examiner since 2009 and currently writes about 10 categories on Examiner.com.