What Tech Skills Should Students Acquire to Get Summer Jobs
Posted on November 30, 2014
Attention students: If you want to avoid a minimum wage job and make as much money as possible while pursuing your dream, it is time to develop some technology skills. This article is a guide to the opportunities that await students who who have the candle power and motivation to learn and put knowledge to work.
In my day of being a penniless student seeking money, back in 1979 or so, I did my share of computer consulting. My first project was correcting a program written in IBM 360 assembler that had stopped working after an instruction started to behave differently. I wrote queries in TAXIR database management system. This all followed the exquisite experience of learning Algol using punch cards through the Michigan Terminal System running on Amdahl computers.
Times have changed. I now have a son who will be starting college next year. After a discussion of the criminal inadequacy of his current allowance and his likely need for more money in college, we put our heads together to make a plan. Given my background as a computer scientist and CTO our talk quickly turned to the question of what skills should a student acquire make the most money through part time jobs in the summer and during the school year.
My son may or may not end up majoring in computer science or some other STEM field, but that doesn’t mean he and others like him shouldn’t be able to develop skills and make at least $20, and possibly $30, or $40, or $50 an hour putting them to work.
If you have access to a computer, there are few barriers to teaching yourself almost any money-making skill related to software- and app-development. As Git expert and technology evangelist Peter Bell noted in “What Students Really Need to Learn to Get a Startup Job” companies know that credentials mean less than the drive to learn and to demonstrate mastery. As Bell points out, it is what you can do that people care about. The CTOs I talked to rarely hire on credentials alone without proof or work. If you have proof of work, you don’t need the credential to get well paid work.
What Skills Should You Learn?
The first question is simple: Is it worth your time to learn technology skills so you can increase your ability to make money in the summer and in part-time jobs during the school year?