Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Key Jobs Driver: Passion for Tech

Soon after I started teaching here, near the height of the dot-com bubble, Mike Rose, the CIO of eBay at the time, spoke at an MIS club meeting and was asked "What does it takes to get hired there?" His answer was pretty eye-opening and I've heard it again and again since then from other execs and hiring managers all around Silicon Valley: 

"You have to have a passion for the technology.

He said he can tell in the first sixty seconds of an interview whether you have that or not and if he's not seeing it...well, interview's over. Thanks for coming.

Now if you're an MIS student, you must have had some of that coming in, but you can't stop there. That passion is something you need to cultivate and develop. It needs to surface and emanate out of you when you talk to people about the industry, especially interviewers. And, of course, you have to keep it fresh with the latest developments in tech and the tech business, especially those happening around here.

How do you do that? Hang with people that have it. Read about tech. Talk about tech. Text about tech. This MISA (club) is a good start. 

Another super-effective way to develop that passion? Read the blogs of others who have it. The good ones do all the hard part for you - they talk to their contacts, read up on all the news and they break it down into the best, most important stuff to know, and put it into perspective. Find those best ones and follow them with all the eagerness and enthusiasm you have for checking your Facebook. More. Yes. More. Way.

Here's a little assignment for you. No extra credit. This is for you:

First - go to this web page about John Gallaugher, an MIS professor at Boston College (see previous post). Check out his resource links and subscribe to his blog (right up at the top left, under the header). Read it fervently every time it comes out. Look forward to every next one. John is an expert in Silicon Valley (despite his Boston location) and he digests the goings-on around here concisely, effectively and with just the right MIS, business/tech perspective. Follow the links. Explore the ideas. Get into it.

And here's a fun way to get your feet wet right now - get familiar with HTML5 capabilities & surrounding issues/controversies. Try out this amazing HTML5 video showcase called The Wilderness Downtown that makes an interactive music video around your old neighborhood. (Works best in Chrome and if the house you grew up in is viewable in Google's Street View.) Then try out "The Body Browser (Google Earth for the human body)", another HTML5 application. (You'll need a browser that supports WebGL - download links are at the site). Both are fun & mind-boggling. But then see this blog posting about the unresolved video problems/issues holding back HTML5 adoption.

After that? Talk about it...to your professors, your friends, your mom...anybody. Write your own blog about it. Develop your passion for the new world being created and your role in helping create it. And that will show though when you walk into interviews, naturally, because it will be part of you and your way of thinking. Do this now.

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