2011 Become a Business Leader with the Edge

Students and faculty came together at St. Cajetan’s on the Auraria Campus on Tuesday, October 11, for the 6th Annual “Become a Business Leader with an Edge” CIO panel discussion. Attendees were welcomed by Dean Ambron, who set the tone for the evening, highlighting that students with IT skills and education “are in great demand.”

The general message from all of the speakers and panel members was simple – that the future of Information Technology is bright. Today, there are more IT jobs available than there are qualified candidates. It is important for students to have the right skills, and also be able to implement those skills within teams. With the massive environment of offshoring, it is now more important than ever for students with technology skills to stay competitive through these “soft” skills. It is also more important than ever for our country to invest in students and engage them in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), beginning in elementary school.  It is critical to create a fire in students to change imbedded perceptions that these are not nerdy but rather can be sexy.

The panel included executives from a variety of industries.

Panelists:

  • Susan Bailey – Graduate Career Connections, Moderator
  • David Bessen – Media Consultant
  • Ron Huston – Retired State Government
  • Kristi Martin – Grant Thornton
  • Randy Weldon – Johns Manville
  • Randy Guthrie – Microsoft
  • Charles Corfield  - President and CEO of nvoq

Prior to the panel discussion, Guthrie provided an overview of the current state of Information Technology, and highlighted some specific areas of growth within Microsoft. He focused on discussing the importance of careers that are flexible and provide opportunities for self-growth. He also highlighted the long-term value of education, stating that “programs like CU Denver’s provide education and prepare the type of people that (Microsoft) hires.” He also added that in spite of job market, there are incredible opportunities in IT. He reinforced that this is a fun place to be – things are always changing, and technology improves people’s lives. Students going into IT will be making a difference, regardless of what industry they pursue.

The panel discussion provided attendees with the opportunity to ask questions about the future of IT, and learn more about prospects for graduates who are interested in finding opportunities in a diverse range of industries.