When you start studying for your degree some students have a fairly fuzzy picture of where all leads. Each unit is assumed to be part of the big picture but what does that finished 'picture' look like?
In the ideal scenario, by the end of your degree, you have morphed into a well-spoken, articulate individual who relates to people in an appealing way and hold sacred the simple values of concern for your clients and loyalty to your team mates. Add to this a thorough background in your technology and a niche within that technology where you shine.
If your private scenario is that of a lone programmer tapping out code in the back office who cannot see why they have to endure all those oral presentations and units that are not 'a programming language' then your view of what doors an IT degree can open is unnecessarily narrow.
Some of the most interesting, exciting careers are within the IT umbrella and they are among the best paid positions on offer to trainees. Perhaps it is not stressed enough that Information Technology is a people oriented business. If you do not develop your analytical skills, if you cannot listen and collate what people are telling you, if you cannot get cooperation from others without being a bully and if you cannot keep to a schedule then you have to keep honing those skills until you say 'this sounds like me'!
There are so many paths you can follow all the way from being a systems analyst to a trainer of staff. Your personal flair may actually be in writing the handbooks that the trainers use or putting together high powered presentations for prospective clients explaining how the proposed computerised system will work. Perhaps you have set your sights on teaching or in sales, or you want to work from home in a consulting capacity - really any combination is possible particularly when you factor in how technology is changing the way we work.
Broadly speaking women start out with an advantage as being naturally analytical and articulate and less aggressively competitive they find they can happily work as part of a team.
So survival is an act of faith in those early semesters - faith that what you are working away at is another part of that big picture. It will all come together in your final year with your 'big project' that will call on every skill you have acquired in the previous two years. That final team project where you will be considered a valuable asset by your team members, a person with particular strengths and an attitude of 'can do', an attitude that will flow into your career and personal relationships. It is called becoming a professional.
Updated: 11 December 2012