Career Advice for Young People

Submitted by Ted Takacs on Sun, 02/20/2005 - 11:44.

I wrote an email to a young person interested in a Business-IS career path. I wanted to make them aware of project management resources, since I believe that project management "best practices" are essenial knowledge for any business or technical leader. Rather than benefiting only this one young person, I thought I would publish my advice in a blog.

Ted's Advice to Young People

(warning: my perspective is that of a liberal with socialist leanings with an extensive engineering and project management background in many, many technical fields and industries. Always remember to try to psyche out the bias of any provider of "informaiton".)

I have
listed some links, below, to provide you with background on Harold Kerzner, a professor at BW and a
world-renowned expert on project management. As we discussed, I believe you
could derive a great deal of benefit from his coursework. I suggest talking to
him about your career goals and taking his suggestions on coursework. I have a
great deal of project management background, so I derived more benefit from his
telling the class about the “fits and starts� in the development of project
management best practices.

The links,
below, will provide you with an overview of the Project Management Institute
(PMI), and international professional organization for project managers. They
have a fair bit of free material that should give you a good idea of the areas
encompassed by the field of project management.

And for
general links providing insights into project management practices in the areas
of IT and IS:

One final
note; while you will see many job ads for IT Project Managers, the field is
overcrowded. I get the impression that you are far more interested in a career
track involving the efficient categorization and retrieval of business
knowledge, along with the development of tools to automate business processes
and enhance business intelligence.

In other
words, you can not spend too much time interviewing people and researching
near- and long-term career opportunities. The job market is pretty brutal right
now, and I have no reason to believe that it will improve substantially in the foreseeable
future. The U.S. has accrued a record deficit, which
cripples the money supply for business development. India has developed a system of outstanding
technical universities and they will continue to dominate the IT industry, as
well as further developing their ability to deliver sophisticated software
solutions for the medical, pharmaceutical, banking, and other industries. China is experiencing problems slowing
down their business growth and they do regard the U.S. as an enemy, as well they should.
Finally, the European Union is becoming more of a powerhouse every day and the U.S. foreign policy isn’t winning any
friends in Europe. Finally, it is very clear that U.S. power brokers are intent on
continuing the trend of further concentrating wealth in the U.S., which will continue to erode the middle
class. Thus, it is more important than ever that young people be very diligent
and pragmatic in their educational coursework and career selections.

Of course,
in spite of my “gloom and doom� outlook, I still advise you to try as hard as
possible to work toward a career doing something you believe in and have a
passion for. Yesterday, I spent the afternoon at the Great Lakes Science Center, where Engineering Expo was taking
place. A number of Professional Societies and organizations were represented
there to provide K-12 students with information on opportunities available in
technical fields, as well as showing the students that science and technology
are great fun. I talked with at least 6 or 7 of the professionals working there
and heard them enthusiastically express their joy at doing work they loved, in
spite of the fact that they were earning very low wages.

End of
lecture. As I told you yesterday, I feel obligated to provide young people with
advice, because I received tremendous advice from countless kind people over my

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