How Engineering Career Development Supports MSIT Students

Director Helen Oloroso shares IT industry trends and tips for standing out in the job search.

Every student within Northwestern Engineering has their own professional goal and their own unique path they want to pursue. The Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) program is committed to helping students achieve these goals.

This commitment extends beyond the classroom, in part by leveraging strong partnerships across Northwestern. One example of this is the Engineering Career Development (ECD) office, which strives to help each student find that path and develop a roadmap to make the end goal achievable. ECD offers students a broad range of ways to access career opportunities, from company campus visits to career fairs, as well as highly personalized advice to help students navigate these opportunities.

Every fall, ECD staff meet with MSIT students to introduce their office and the services they provide. In preparation for that talk, Assistant Dean and ECD Director Helen Oloroso discussed IT industry trends and how MSIT students can benefit from her office.

What is the goal of the Career Development Office?  

Our goal is to help students determine the starting point for the next phase of their career path and to develop a strategy to drive it forward.

What types of support do you offer to graduate students?  

While we do offer workshops, seminars and boot camps aimed at graduate students, the most important element of our support is the advising that is highly individualized and geared toward helping students identify, develop and leverage their networks.

What ways do your team directly support MSIT students?

Each year in the Fall Quarter, an advisor from Engineering Career Development partners with one of our counterparts in Northwestern Career Advancement to do a presentation on the services of our two offices and to answer fielded questions regarding the development of targeted networking strategies. One of the ECD Assistant Directors is assigned specifically to work with the MSIT students based on the program’s home department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. This advisor is familiar with the various roles that MSIT students are prepared to assume in industry.

What would you say are some current industry trends that MSIT students should be aware of?  

In addition to the continuing role of the project manager, students with an MSIT degree are also now well suited for the roles of product manager and program manager. The industry is becoming more aware of the fit between MSIT students and these additional roles in their organizations.

In what ways do you think the MSIT program and experience helps students differentiate themselves as they are pursuing job opportunities?  

Successful people in the workplace today have a background that is both broad and deep, capable of creating the technical foundation and infrastructure of the enterprise and driving the enterprise forward with the right kind of organization. No organization can thrive without the right combination of technology, human capital, resources, and ideas. It takes vision to bring these forces together, and the MSIT program unites these capabilities in a way that either a technology program or a business program cannot do by themselves.

The infusion of “whole brain engineering” and “design thinking” give Northwestern’s MSIT students a unique perspective on information technology and is a profound differentiator that sets them apart from students from other programs.

What is one piece of advice you would give to an MSIT student who is getting ready to enter the job market?  

Look for organizations that value the whole brain, design thinking approach to problem-solving, and network your way through all of the contacts you can reach. The positions that attract MSIT students are niche, not from a mold.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?  

Use the professional advising available to MSIT students in Engineering Career Development!

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