Budding IT professionals are not fetching coffee. Amid reports of "brain drain" and waning interest in U.S. IT careers, top tech students are doing innovative summer work.
It was only a few years ago that parents were cautioning their children not to set off into technology careers; the recession after the boom years shattered the sheen on the field, which no longer seemed a safe place to invest ones future.
Economists, politicians and businesses alike began fretting over an anticipated tech "brain drain" and a future where all of Americas IT would have to be imported or outsourced.
While these fears have been far from assuaged,
tales of Americas IT demise now seem more greatly exaggerated.
IT execs are raking in more than ever,
smaller tech markets are blooming across the country,
and the field boasts growth despite a slowing market.
To read more about growth in the IT market, click here.
Most promising of all is that the students who have returned to top technology programs are, judging by their summer jobs and internships, doing more impressive and innovative work than ever.
These students, taking on summer jobs from Wall Street to Yahoo, startups to the Department of Homeland Security, are applying their computer science knowledge in a host of traditional and non-traditional environments.
Project Manager at a Digital Sharing Startup
Aneto Okonkwo, a Stanford University senior and Mayfield Fellow, is interning this summer at Presto Services,
a service that will allow people to share digital content while offline, intended for the Boomer population.
"My first project involves building and managing a lightweight data warehouse to produce business intelligence charts for our Beta release. On a daily basis, this involves reviewing log files, writing SQL scripts and designing reports that communicate business value.
"My second project involves designing a new e-mail and photo application to complete our existing product line and provide an end-to-end experience for our users. This involves extensive research of existing applications, spec writing, design brainstorming and meetings," Okonkwo told eWEEK.
Okonkwo will pursue a masters degree at Stanford beginning this fall in their Learning, Design & Technology program at the School of Education and said he hopes to later attend business school.
He says hed like to eventually pursue startup opportunities in international development around improving access to technology in developing countries, which he feels his internship is helping him prepare for.
"It will help to observe many of the growing pains of a startup and observe many key strategic decisions of the company. It will also be helpful to observe the development of the company culture as more people join the team. Finally, I will get the experience of working on my own pieces of the product as this new category is created."
Programmer at Microsoft, guest researcher.