Your business skills are valuable to technology companies

This is part 3 in a 3-part series.

As promised, this is the third part in my series, “Do technology companies mind if you’re not technical?” The other day I was asked by a colleague if my position in the graduate program was through an IT or computer science degree, and if so did I have any advice on the course structure.

I must admit I felt disappointed that I couldn’t help, and did start thinking about the assumption that a lot of people make, that as a grad for an IT company, I’ve probably studied IT, right? Wrong. However, I’ve been surprised by how many of the skills I picked up in my commerce degree have actually come in very handy during my time with DXC so far.

Now, it doesn’t help that most commerce degrees are quite vague, and there is such a wide range of units available that you pick only a few. So no one really ever has a clue about what sort of skills you’ve got. Therefore, be clear about it: Confidently tell people that you’ve got what they need and can help solve their problems.

Pliable skills

I’ll give you a few examples of skills I learnt in business school, which are definitely applicable to tech companies:

Project Management: This was definitely one of my favourite subjects and has also been by far the most valuable that was covered in my management major. Guess what? Tech companies run projects too! Just because the project might involve designing a new system or developing an optimisation tool, instead of building a house, doesn’t mean it doesn’t involve all of the same elements of a project. You still need someone to manage your stakeholder analysis, communication plans, change management and more.

Human Resources: I still believe that a basic understanding of HR is important for anyone who’s employed. The value of knowing your workplace rights, the significance of discrimination at work, and the history of employment relations around the world is very underestimated. But in the context of technology, my HR and unconscious (as well as conscious) bias knowledge has become very valuable to specific client projects I’ve been working on, which require research and input from that field into the systems design.

Enterprise Systems: This one I’ve found many people don’t even realise is taught under a management degree. But it gave me an invaluable introduction to business processing modelling (BPM) and workshops walking through SAP. It was also a great base understanding for other tech concepts like cloud and system architecture. So if you have the opportunity to pick up an enterprise systems unit while studying business, I would definitely recommend it.

Now, all of that doesn’t mean that I don’t still have a heck of a lot to learn to get myself up to speed with the technical side of my job. But it’s not as scary as it looks! I’m fortunate enough with DXC to have access to our DXC University portal, which has resources on almost every IT-related subject I’ve been curious to know more about, whether it’s a lecture on what blockchain technology actually means (apparently it’s more than just Bitcoin), or a walk-through of advanced Excel and VBA features, or, if I’m feeling a bit adventurous, an intro to Python.

There are also many free online resources out there if you want to work on your technical knowledge, such as Microsoft’s Professional Program, which has a free Data Science, Big Data and Front End Web Development track.

Learning: a team sport

But I think what’s most important is being in an organisation and having a team around you who support your learning and development. So much of what I have learnt over the past four months has come from my managers and colleagues taking the time to sit down with me in a room, with a whiteboard, and show me how the process or concept works.

As I’ve learned through my own experience, the important thing is to get a mix of people with vastly different ideas and opinions, stick them in a room together and see how they solve the problem. Highly technical skills are not necessary skills to disrupt an industry; just the ability to think differently is. And being thrown into these challenges, as a non-technical person in a technology company, means that we have to quickly learn how to think differently in order to survive.

So who is the person that you turn to for a different perspective on a problem? Is it someone who thinks similarly to you? Or someone from a completely different background?

Feel free to leave a comment below and tell me about your experiences.


Courtney Carr is an associate consultant in the DXC Young Professionals program. She is Western Australia born and raised, with a passion for environmental conservation and social justice. She specialises in human resources, management, Japanese language and culture, strategic planning and innovation. She loves to travel and is driven by a love of learning and desire to understand the world around her. Courtney always welcomes a challenge, and IT is up next. She is involved in Authentic Leadership, Women in Leadership, Young Professionals and Corporate Responsibility resource groups in DXC.

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Comments

  1. Jean Bennett says:

    Great blog series by Courtney. Very insightful and refreshing

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Many thanks for the suggestions, I will try to take advantage of it.

    Like

Trackbacks

  1. […] love to hear your views about being a non-tech in a tech company. In my next post, part 3, I’ll talk about a range of non-technical skills that tech companies need, and the importance of […]

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  2. […] Your business skills are valuable to technology companies […]

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