Students are under a lot of pressure these days. Whether you’re going off to college for the first time or considering grad school, your experience at a university can influence the direction of your career, and your life, for years to come.

It’s tough to make decisions that carry so much weight. And with COVID-19 spurring the worst global recession since WWII, today’s students are facing increasing uncertainty and shrinking job opportunities — making those decisions only that much harder.

The current economic downturn does have a caveat, however. The tech industry is still alive and well, and new job opportunities for data scientists, IT professionals, and other tech-driven roles continue to grow across nearly all sectors and industries of the economy.

“Understanding cloud computing, analytics, and security — that’s where we see the most growth,” said Mariel Rosario, iSchool alumna and Technical Account Manager at Microsoft. “A lot of companies, especially with work from home, are now looking at IT as a priority.”

That’s why, amidst the uncertainty of the world around us, our students continue to receive lucrative job offers at a higher rate than any other school on campus. 

As the tech field continues to grow, we are also expanding our support to ensure when you join the iSchool, you’ll graduate with the skills, connections, and resume you need to land the career of your dreams. 

With the iSchool’s new Center for Career Services and Experiential Learning, not only do we match what you’re learning in the classroom to opportunities to apply it in the real world, but we proactively help you land your dream job by leveraging deep industry connections and industry expertise.

The Center is staffed with people whose primary role it is to help you discover which career paths might be a good fit for you, prepare you for interviews, sharpen your resume and cover letters, negotiate your starting salary, and more.

At the core of the new Center is a holistic approach to helping you launch full force into your career, armed with high-level connections and a portfolio of relevant experience. The new Center combines into one unit the expert iSchool staff who build relationships with corporate and organizational partners, provide career exploration and guidance workshops, offer real-world project-based client experience, guide students through professional certifications, sponsor visits with the leaders of the field, and direct formal internships in all the professional domains.  

From bringing employers directly to campus to organizing trips to Facebook, Microsoft, EY, and others, the Center proactively provides opportunities to network and connect with today’s leading organizations in the information field.  The point of bringing these services together is to be able to customize career preparation as much as possible for every iSchool student from the moment you become an iSchool student to the point where you arrive at your first professional destination after your program is completed.

Art Thomas, Associate Dean for Career Services and Experiential Learning, believes this end-to-end approach gives students unparalleled skills and connections to help them stand out among their peers.

He says iSchool students are uniquely prepared to tackle problems and deliver innovative solutions because they’ve done it before. That real-world experience, combined with the ability to communicate and connect with people effectively, makes our graduates uniquely desirable to employers. 

As Mariel from Microsoft remarks, the ability to relate to customers is paramount to both company culture and individual success.

“How well can you understand their issues?” she asks. “They might come with a symptom, but you’re looking for the disease. That’s something you learn at the iSchool.”

Michelle from EY confirms, “Students who join Ernst & Young LLP (EY US) as interns or full-time hires are challenged on a daily basis in this career, often needing to learn new skills very quickly and interact with very senior clients on a regular basis.” 

This combination of job readiness and the ability to learn and adapt in a fast-paced environment is what allows our graduates to land high-paying jobs after graduation. 

“Employers aren’t just getting someone who can get started on a project in their first week on the job,” Art concludes. “They’re also getting someone who can and will grow” (emphasis his).

“It makes our students irresistible.”