April Featured Article

Every month the JobLink Newsletter will analyze a certain skill/experience that can help you achieve success in your career.  Last month we focused on how doing your MA or other post-BA degrees abroad can add a competitive edge to your application.  This month we look at the importance computer programming skills and how they will make you more competitive in the international affairs job market.

As you navigate your way through a competitive job market, developing experiences which set you apart from your peers is critical. If your skillsets are lacking then it will be difficult to obtain the career you are striving for. Worst yet, you could be highly qualified for the position of your dreams but lose out to another candidate because of a particular skill they possessed. My time reading through a mass amount of job listings before posting them to the JobBoard has given me an intimate insight into some frequently overlooked skills that are valuable to employers across the foreign policy world. 

As the foreign policy world becomes increasingly digitalized, the need will increase for individuals who can handle and improve software infrastructure Knowledge of programming languages, specifically HTML and Python, is particularly valued by employers. Knowing HTML would guarantee your ability to manage content on nearly any website. Python would greatly increase your ability to statistically analyze large amounts of data with relative ease. Either language greatly increases your value to employers by giving you the ability to accomplish tasks that would otherwise require the involvements of web programmers. Furthermore, knowledge of either of these languages would benefit you personally in many ways.

Organizations ranging from large think tanks to small PR firms have stated their preference for individuals with programming skills, even in the case of positions which have no explicit computer science function. The ability to work outside of the standard software limits available to a firm allows you to greatly expand your value to an employer by producing a larger range of work, sometimes  even at a quicker rate. Learning Python or HTML can be achieved rather easily and completely free of charge from online educator Code Academy. Code Academy is a website that teaches programming languages through small projects. These projects bulid on one another forming one large project, providing you with a portfolio of your new programming work. While the early going can sometimes be frustrating, once you begin to get in the hang of writing code the lessons becomes fast and fun. The courses are entirely self-driven and therefore can be completed at the student’s leisure, which is perfect for the busy young professional on the go.


Please try out Code Academy or let the JobLink Team know about other free programs and we’ll post your testimonial on our next Newsletter.