Teaming Up With Tech


I’m looking to go into business, and my major and my class schedule reflect that. But when I think about the future of business, I see tech everywhere--so I want to make sure that I graduate with a pretty firm grasp of technology and computers.

I don’t want to work directly on technology, or anything like that--I’m all about about the business side of things. It’s just that I know that I’ll be working with and through technology in my business career, and I want to get a little extra background to make sure that I’m always on top of things. Where would the experts suggest I start in order to get a broad background in business-related technology?

You’re absolutely right: technology is everywhere. It always has been, of course: businesses have been using machines for as long as machines have been around, and fax machines and cash registers are just a couple of the devices that commerce would not have gotten far without. But there’s also no denying that technology feels even more ubiquitous in business than it once did, and that it’s changing very, very fast.

Companies now keep files digitally, often building their own servers, renting server space, or using cloud storage for vital information that was once kept on paper in filing cabinets. Meetings that once required a trip around the world can now be held virtually--and while conference calls have always existed, they’re evolving as companies like Polycom improve voice clarity and keep business conversations free from extraneous noises and distractions. Jobs themselves are changing, too, of course: experts estimate that as many as 65% of children entering primary school today will someday work at a job that doesn’t even exist yet. Even in traditional industries like manufacturing, change is everywhere: the developers at Bliss Clearing Niagara Technical Services create manufacturing presses, and the technology in those machines has changed enough that they now offer “press modernization services.” Elsewhere in manufacturing, technology has revolutionized everything from automation to supply chain logistics.

So what should you study? Should you focus on VOIP (that’s “voice over IP”) so that you can better negotiate with companies like Polycom--or work for them? Should you be interested in cloud technology (or the attendant security issues)?

It’s always risky to predict technology, experts say: what’s hot now may not be hot in a few years. Most of those we spoke to agreed that your best bet was a survey course in the basics of computer science. While these courses won’t always give you freshest facts on the newest technology, they’ll help you understand the fundamental ways in which computers and their internal logic work. Understanding how programmers approach problems can be a huge help in working with them. Communication between the business side and tech side of a company can be particularly important when a problem has come up, so understanding the processes that programmers use and the ways in which code can go wrong are interpretive and communicative skills that will help you throughout your career.

Of course, this isn’t to say that you should ignore the latest tech. On the contrary, you should know about the trends and developments in the tech world--and this is where your independent research comes in. Regularly reading tech periodicals and tech- and business-related sections of major media outlets will give you an up-to-date grasp of what’s going on without bogging you down in technical details that may be outdated by the time you graduate.

Finally, you can never say enough things about good books. Nonfiction books about technology include fantastics histories of key technologies and close looks at big moments in the history of computing, as well as books that focus on the principles, theories, and inner workings that make all of this technology work.

You’re wise to keep technology in mind as you build your career in business--analysts feel that tech awareness is key for entrepreneurs and business leaders. Your sense of awareness and commitment to learning about key subjects will serve you well in your career. Good luck!

Technology is anything that wasn’t around when you were born. -- Alan Kay

UTA Radio on Facebook

Twitter Feed

UTA News