“Do I need to be a programmer to get a job?”

Have you ever wondered if you need to study computer science to get a job?
When I was a freshman, I know I did. As Berkeley students, we border Silicon Valley, home to Facebook, Google, Apple, and other technology companies that seem to be on their way to taking over the world, and hiring all our friends along the way. With high starting salaries and much less supply than there is demand, it can be easy to think that all jobs involve computer
science and to really ask yourself “do I need to be a programmer to get a job?”

The short answer is no – there are plenty of jobs that are not CS focused, within technology companies or outside of them. However, I encourage you to flip that question inside out. What if you instead asked yourself “how can I make sure I add the most value to the field I aspire to be
in?” Once you can convey value to a future employer, hiring simply becomes a formality. Switch your view of the job hunt from you trying to gain an uneven deal that benefits you to a fair exchange of value provided for compensation.

Now that we’ve shifted our perspective, let’s focus on the real answer.
To preface, technology has disrupted nearly every industry it has touched. With the evolution of the internet, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation, many of the typical jobs that could previously be done by humans, such as data entry, are being taken over by machines. If you want to continually add value, consider how you imagine the field you aspire to
work in evolving in 5, 10, and even 15 years. Remember that the iPhone, iPad, and wearables mostly did not exist 10 years ago. For some people, computer science does hold the answer. It can make data analysis faster, more accurate, and streamlined, whereas for others it couldn’t matter less.

This simplifies the question to your field in particular. Do you picture computer science relating to your job function in a few years? Ignore any notion that you’ve never coded before or that you might not be able to do it. I’m studying mechanical engineering and business, and definitely plan
on fitting in a computer science class or two before I graduate.

-Andrew Ansell

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